Best Solar Inverter Reviews
Some inverters are designed for off-grid applications, while others work best when connected to an existing power grid. In what follows, we review grid-tied inverters ideal for home use. These can help you reduce your monthly electricity bills when connected to your power grid or, in the right circumstances, switch entirely to solar energy.
Why Is Your Solar Inverter Important?
Most people associate solar energy with solar panels, but an inverter is just as essential in the proper functioning of an entire solar power system. The inverter converts the variable direct current (DC) it receives from solar panels or from a rechargeable battery into the alternating current (AC) used by home appliances. In addition, it ensures that 12V, 24V, or 48V electricity from the solar power system can be turned up to 240V current, which is necessary to power up modern devices.
The best solar inverters are primarily assessed through the criterion of inverter rating, which represents how much power one or several appliances can draw from the solar power system at one time. Generally, appliances require more power to start up than they do to stay on, and this is why it’s important to acquire a decent size inverter with the potential to achieve high, short-term surge power capacities.
The Ideal Watt Rating (or Size) for a Solar Inverter
The ideal size for your inverter depends entirely on the particular system you choose. In other words, you want to choose an inverter whose watt rating equals the watt rating of your entire system. If your system produces 6000W (more or less your total PV input), then you should consider only inverters capable of handling 6000W or more. Generally speaking, you won’t need more than 11000W to power up the average household.
The second factor to consider is the surge capacity of a solar inverter and for what duration of time the unit can maintain such high watt ratings. The higher these numbers, the more likely it is that your solar system will be able to power up large appliances, power tools, and other machines. For instance, a fridge requires about 1200W to start, while a table saw will need over 2000W. For an optimal purchase, consider what appliances you want to connect to your system and how much power they require to turn on.
How to Choose the Best Solar Inverter for You
As most solar inverter reviews will tell you, there is no one best model to fit all needs. This is precisely why most manufacturers sell inverters in a variety of sizes and for multiple applications. To make the right choice for your specific solar power system, consider the following questions.
What kind of weather will the inverter be exposed to?
Inverters connected to a home’s electricity grid are generally installed outdoors, often without any cover from elements such as rain, snow, and extreme heat. Ideally, the inverter you purchase should come with its own frame and casing for protection, as well as with an in-built cooling system for high temperatures. Of course, some regions are more exposed to certain types of weather than others. If, furthermore, you intend to install your solar inverter in a protected outdoor space, whether the unit is weather-proof might come lower on your list of priorities.
Is your solar power system off-grid, connected, or both?
In other words, do you intend to permanently install your inverter for home use or would you prefer to be able to transport it as part of a portable solar power system? Our reviews have focused on grid-tied inverters, which are often more powerful than other options, but also larger and heavier. If, on the other hand, you’re looking to put together a portable solar generator, you could prioritize lighter inverters with smaller watt ratings. If you are not aware about your exact need, you can go for temporary setup by renting the entire solar power setup. You can make the final decision based on your experience.
What is the maximum output of your solar power system?
This question is essential because if your inverter cannot handle as much power as your solar system produces, the entire system will render disappointing results. Calculate the total PV input of your solar panels and consider only those inverters that can handle such watt ratings. Generally, the actual PV input of panels is approximately 15%-20% lower than what is advertised, but to establish a reasonable margin of error, you shouldn’t shy away from acquiring a unit with a slightly higher inverter rating than you need.
Are you likely to expand your solar power system in the future?
The best solar inverters feature the possibility to connect to additional components (batteries, solar panels, even other inverters) in order to expand the capacity of the entire solar power system. If you believe that, in the future, you might purchase additional solar panels or require more electricity, then you’ll want to make sure the inverter you buy offers options for additional connections.
Solar inverter reviews can seem intimidating at first, mainly because they’re riddled with tech terms you might never have encountered before. Don’t let this discourage you! The characteristics we’ve described above, alongside the reviews we’ve put together, can help you make an optimal purchase even if you’re not an expert electrician.