Inverter for Solar Panels – An Important Link in the Production of Solar Energy

solar panel inverter

What is an inverter for solar panels? The solar inverter is one of the main components of any solar panel system. It converts the direct electrical current generated by the panels into alternating current. And we all know very well that alternating current powers various household appliances in our homes.

The solar inverter market size was estimated at $12.15 billion in 2021. According to analysts, the solar inverter market industry will grow from $12.84 billion in 2022 to $18.93 billion by 2030:

Solar market growth graph

From the graph, we can conclude that from year to year, U.S. residents are increasingly switching to using solar energy at home, which means there is a growing need for various inverters for solar installations.

In this article, we will discuss different types of inverters for solar panels in Chicago. You will also learn how the inverter for solar panels works and the factors in choosing the optimal inverter for your solar panel installation.

Interaction of Solar Inverters With Other System Components

In order for a solar installation to work properly and produce energy that is useful to us, all components must be in place and functioning smoothly.

To more easily describe the operating principle of the system, we can focus on the interaction of its three main components:

  • Solar panels
  • Power inverter for solar panels
  • Solar batteries

The panels generate a direct electric current from sunlight. An inverter for solar panels converts direct current into alternating current. Solar panels accumulate and store electricity for later use.

The diagram of a residential solar energy system is as follows:

Solar system structure

To design an optimal solar power plant, the user must have a detailed understanding of the battery capacities and types, the power output of the panels, and the type of inverter.

Why Do You Need an Inverter for Solar Panels?

Without an inverter for solar panels, the energy generated by the panels would be absolutely useless for human household needs because they generate only direct electric current from sunlight, which is unsuitable for use in the household.

To solve this problem and convert direct current into alternating current, engineers created inverters for solar panels. When they came up with connecting solar panels to inverter, only then did sunlight become useful for common users.

Types of Solar Inverters: Fundamental Differences in Their Operation

In addition to its primary function, which is to convert current, solar panel inverters are categorized by operating principle.

There are four types of solar inverters:

  1. String solar panel inverter
  2. Micro inverter for solar panels
  3. Hybrid inverter
  4. Power optimizer

We present a comparative description of the two most popular types of inverters that are used in home solar installations in the USA:

String inverter for solar panels Micro inverter for solar panels
Connects to your entire solar panel array, making the total DC power generated available to your home as AC.

Advantages:

  • Efficiency
  • Stability

Disadvantages:

  • Require connecting all panels in one chain.
Works on an individual level, converting DC to AC for each individual panel.

Advantages:

  • Independence
  • Efficiency in shaded conditions and different panel orientations

Disadvantages:

  • High price

The hybrid inverter is capable of not only converting DC to AC but also sending excess DC current for storage in a solar battery, transforming them as needed.

Power optimizer is a cheaper alternative to micro inverter for solar panels, but its operating principle is slightly different. Instead of directly converting DC to AC, the optimizer transfers DC power through a string inverter.

Additional Features of Solar Inverters

In addition to simple current conversion, inverters for solar panels have many advantages and additional functions.

Let’s look at the possibilities that are available thanks to some inverter functions:

  • Maximizing output energy

Inverters for solar panels work so that the insufficient performance of one panel does not affect the entire array. Due to this, you get more energy output.

  • Solar Panel Monitoring

The monitoring function allows you to monitor the operation of solar panels in real-time.

  • Bidirectional power flow

Thanks to inverters, excess energy stored in the batteries is returned to the grid for economical and efficient operation.

  • Fault Detection

Inverters can detect system faults and automatically shut down the solar panel to prevent further damage.

From the above, we can conclude that solar inverters are not just a component of a solar energy system, but also perform a number of important functions, without which the system would not be optimized.

Costs for Solar Panel Inverter and Possible Savings

How much does an inverter cost for solar panels? If you install a solar panel system, inverters are likely already included in the price. The type of inverter for solar panels in Chicago will directly depend on the size of your future installation and will affect the overall cost of the system.

If you have had solar panels for a long time, then you will probably face the problem of choosing new inverters because the service life of panels can be up to 40 years, and inverters live for 10–15 years.

How solar panel system is connected to your house

The cost of an inverter for solar panels in the US depends on the type, size, brand, and quality of the inverter. On average, it ranges from $0.10 to $0.50 per watt. The price for a string inverter can be from $1000 to $1500 for a medium-sized installation, and the cost of a micro-inverter for solar panels for such an installation will be several times more.

To save money from running an inverter, you need to choose the optimal balance between system size, its performance, your energy consumption, and the type of inverter. And compare costs, expected benefits, and potential energy savings.

Choosing the Optimal Inverter for Solar Panels in Chicago. What Do You Need to Know?

Selecting the right inverter to suit your system requirements will help ensure optimal performance and efficiency throughout your solar installation.

What do you need to know to make the right choice of solar inverter for your solar installation:

  1. The size of your solar panel system. It is necessary to calculate the total output of all solar panels to determine the size of the inverter kit you need.
  2. The type of inverter that will suit you. Here it is important to compare possible problems (for example, level of shading), budget, and technical capabilities.
  3. Additional inverter features are important to you. For example, a function monitoring or surge protection.
  4. The compatibility of the selected inverter with your solar panels. In this case, you should take into account the materials from which it is made and compliance with the quality standards.
  5. The optimal price-quality ratio will suit you. You need to compare all prices and warranties to make the best choice for your budget.

It is advisable to consult with a professional solar installer or supplier before purchasing. To know how to wire solar panels to inverters, make sure your decision is correct.

Looking for an inverter for solar panels in Chicago? Don’t waste another second and get your free solar quote by filling out this form!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the main factor that determines the size of a solar inverter?

Solar size panels are the main factor that determines the solar inverter size. For example, a solar panel system with a rated DC power of 5kW involves using the inverter with day off thought power 5000 IN.

Can I install a solar inverter myself?

You can install the inverter yourself, but it is quite difficult and risky. Therefore, it is recommended that you use the services of qualified installers.

Does a solar inverter need maintenance?

Yes, sure. Once your inverter is installed, you need to properly maintain it to ensure it performs optimally. Maintenance involves regular checking of wiring connections and monitoring the operation of the inverter.

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