The inverter is another crucial part of your solar energy system. It’s the part that converts the energy collected from your solar panels into usable power for your home or stores it in your battery for use at night. There are three main categories of inverters - solar panel only, hybrid, and microinverter/optimiser systems.

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How do solar inverters work?

A solar panel only inverter converts the DC (Direct Current) power from your panels into AC (alternating current) which is used in your home and on the grid. This can then either be used in your home during the day, stored in a battery for use at night or sent back to the grid. If you want to add a battery to a solar panel only inverter, you would need to add a battery inverter + a battery for it to work. The battery inverter would convert the AC power back to DC to be stored in the battery, and then when the battery power is needed, would convert it back to AC power for the home.

A hybrid inverter combines a solar panel inverter and a battery inverter into one device. It converts a portion of DC solar panel power into AC power (what your home requires in real-time), with the rest staying in DC and going to your battery for storage. When the battery power is needed, it converts to AC and sends it into your house. As each DC to AC conversion loses a bit of power, the hybrid system is more efficient because it only converts the power to AC once.

Some inverters allow each solar panel attached to operate separately (the microinverter/optimiser inverters). While these are the most expensive, they are very effective in situations where the home has some intermittent shading because any shaded panels won’t affect the other, non-shaded panels.

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Considerations for choosing the right solar inverters

The main consideration when it comes to choosing the right solar inverter is whether your home is shaded (uses microinverters/optimisers) and if you want to include a battery. If you do, battery compatibility is critical as some inverter brands simply won’t work with certain batteries.

You’ll also want to check your solar inverters warranty. Most inverters have a warranty between 5 and 10 years.

Hybrid vs standard

If you are buying panels and a battery, a hybrid inverter is more cost effective and more efficient than the alternative (panels + standard inverter + battery inverter + battery).

Microinverters/optimisers

If you have a shaded roof, consider for a microinverter or panel optimiser inverter because they allow each panel to act independently of the others when producing power. It’s easy to see why this is a plus - if one panel is shaded, the others aren’t affected.

Online monitoring

All inverters show how much power they make on the unit itself, but there are better monitoring options that allow you to observe performance on your phone or computer. Shop for inverters that show your home’s energy use, solar power production, and if you have a battery, the state of the battery for a holistic approach to solar monitoring.

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At ShineHub, we’re passionate about solar as an investment in your family's future

When it comes to solar, it’s easy to get lost among the available options and industry terminology. Book a consultation with one of our friendly ShineHub team members today to cut through the noise.