Solar Inverters

Reliable inverters to keep your Solar PV system running smoothly

A vital part of any solar setup without which your system simply won’t be able to generate usable electricity

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0%

0% VAT Installation

Take advantage of 17 year free maintenance to give you peace of mind on your installation

£

Price Match

We will  always price match with any of the competition so you know you are getting the best deal

7

7 Year Finance

All our solar batteries come with a 17-year warranty guaranteeing performance for years to come

17

17 Year FREE Maintenance

All our solar installations come with our industry leading 17-year FREE maintenance plan worth £3600 giving you peace of mind

26

26 Year Panel Warranty

We’ve got your covered – all our DMEGC solar panels come with a huge 26 year warranty

12

12 Year Battery Warranty

Our Greenlinx Solar Batteries come with 12 year warranty so you can stay worry free

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Why choose ESE Solar for your Solar Inverter

Solar power systems have been around for decades, although it’s only really in more recent years that they’ve seen a boom in popularity.

That’s because more people are relying on renewable energy to power up their homes. This is because a solar panel system can help reduce your energy bill and minimise your environmental impact.

However, to be able to utilise your solar panels, you’ll need to use a solar panel inverter. A solar inverter will allow you to convert direct current (DC) into alternating current (AC), with AC current then able to help power your home.

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Solar Inverters Overview

The main function of a solar inverter is to convert DC current into AC power. To help you understand this, let’s take a look at the operation of solar panels.

When sun rays hit the devices, photovoltaic cells in the panels absorb the light. These PV cells can turn solar power into electricity.

This creates charges that flow through the internal electric field of the panels. Plus, these charges only move in one direction, which is why we refer to them as DC.

We can use this energy to power up some devices, but not all. When it comes to the domestic voltage of average UK homes, they rely on AC. That’s because large power generators can produce AC more efficiently than DC.

In order to use solar panels to power your entire house, you’ll need a solar inverter. This device will take the energy that solar panels produce and change it into usable power.

Solar Inverter Functions

Other than converting current, inverters have a few extra functions. For starters, they can maximise the power output of your solar panel system.

This means you’ll get a boost in the energy the panels produce.

Besides that, the devices can give you feedback information about power production. Plus, a solar inverter will act as the primary link between the panels and the electrical system in your home.

Finally, the device ensures that your solar PV system is operating safely.

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Solar Panels Inverter Types

Central Inverters

Central inverters are large devices that can accept DC input from one or more panels at the same time.

Typically, with a solar system, we arrange the panels in a chain or string, hence the name string inverter. Then, we place them in rows and connect them in series.

This gives us a single linking point that we attach to the solar inverter. In order for the device to work, all the panels in the line-up need to have the same pitch and orientation.

Other than that, you can connect more than one solar system to the same inverter. If you link up more than one solar panel inverter together, we can refer to them as string inverters.

Pros

Right off the bat, one of the major benefits of these inverters is their efficiency. They can handle high voltages and currents, and waste little power during conversions.

That means they’re able to handle the power generated and turn more energy from solar panels into usable electricity. This makes them one of the most cost-effective types of inverters in the solar industry.

Aside from that, central inverters are usually easy to maintain and repair. Since the main device is in one location, accessing the gadget should be a breeze.

Lastly, these inverters give you more control over the entire solar system. They allow you to monitor and adjust the output levels of each panel individually.

That should ensure that the system runs at maximum efficiency. For these reasons, central inverters are designed to handle more solar panels than most, and are ideal for large-scale solar systems.

Cons

While central inverters are excellent devices, they do come with a few disadvantages. At first glance, you’ll notice that these power inverters are bulky.

They tend to have large sizes and weights, which makes them difficult to transport and set up. This may increase the cost of installation since you’ll need special tools to move the devices.

Other than that, central inverters are vulnerable to failure. They deal with panels as if they’re one large device. So, when one panel fails, the entire system will shut down and you will suffer a utility outage. Additionally, you won’t be able to produce any energy until you perform repairs.

Finally, there isn’t much flexibility when it comes to the design of central inverters. Because of that, it may be tricky to incorporate them into every solar system. Which highlights the importance of purchasing the right solar inverter.

Micro Inverters

Compared to a central inverter, the micro inverter design is relatively new technology and has only been on the market for a few years. Yet, in this short period, they’ve managed to make quite an impact.

In a central solar system, we link all the components to the same device. However, with this technology, each panel gets its own micro inverter.

This helps isolate any failures in the system. For example, if an individual solar panel malfunctions, only one micro inverter will stop outputting power.

The rest of the setup can function normally without interruptions. That makes them ideal for roof level layouts.

Besides that, micro inverters convert power more efficiently than the central variety.

Pros

There are many benefits to installing micro inverters in your solar setup. First up, they offer you exceptional flexibility when it comes to system design.

With micro inverters, all panels operate independently. That means if specific panels aren’t producing power because of shade or other issues, it won’t affect your system and you still have available energy.

The other components can keep generating power, which should maximise your energy output.

Moving on, these devices are usually safer to operate than the central variety. That’s because they run on low voltages. This should reduce the chances of shocks and fire hazards.

Aside from that, micro inverters can improve your monitoring capabilities. You’ll be able to keep an eye on the output of each individual panel.

For that reason, finding issues with your system should be a cakewalk.

Cons

Like any other gadget, micro inverters have their fair share of issues. For example, these devices can cost an arm and a leg.

In specific instances, micro inverters can be considered the market leader when it comes to solar inverters. As a result, they’re a lot more expensive than the central variety. This can make setting up an entire system a little challenging if you’re on a budget, which is why purchasing the right solar inverter for you is so important.

Other than that, these power inverters are more complex. You’ll need to connect each device individually.

This may make the maintenance process time-consuming and tedious.

On top of that, micro inverters aren’t great at handling high voltages. That means they’re not suitable for large systems. Additionally, they will have a smaller peak power compared to the central variant.

Moving on, shade can affect output levels significantly. If an individual solar panel isn’t functioning at top capacity, it’ll reduce the energy you produce considerably.

Hybrid Inverters

A hybrid inverter is a combination of an inverter and a battery. This can give your solar system a major boost.

A solar panel will produce energy as long as there’s sunlight. Whether you use the power or not, it’ll flow through your system. Sadly, this means that there’s some wasted electricity, which could make you more reliant on the national grid. To avoid this issue, you’ll need a battery.

Once solar panels produce energy, they’ll send it through the hybrid solar inverter. This will keep happening as long as you’re using the power you generate. Yet, if your system creates more electricity than you need, the hybrid inverter will send this extra power to the battery storage. So when you need more energy, the battery storage will release this power to help fulfil the electricity requirements of your home.

Pros

The main advantage of using hybrid inverters is the energy storage feature. You can collect surplus power and use the battery storage to keep it for a later date.

Because of that, you can utilise the renewable energy, converted by your hybrid inverter, even when the sun’s not shining. This should reduce your reliance on the National Grid and help you save money on energy bills.

To top it all off, the switch between grid power and battery energy is seamless. You won’t even be able to notice the change.

For that reason, these devices are excellent for areas that experience frequent blackouts.

Other than that, they allow you the same monitoring capacity as micro inverters. You’ll be able to keep an eye on each solar panel’s output.

Cons

One of the major drawbacks of the hybrid inverter is the price tag. They tend to be more expensive than central devices. This is because the battery component comes at an extra cost.

Moving on, a hybrid inverter is also more difficult to install and maintain. You’ll need to call in an expert to help you with the setup and any repairs. Sadly, that will increase the running costs of using hybrid inverters.

In addition, hybrid devices are less efficient than the central variety. They can struggle to convert all the energy that the panels generate.

When that happens, the inverter will pull power from the grid. This means you won’t be able to save as much money on your energy bills.

Power Optimisers

Power optimisers are a combination of micro and central inverters. To help you understand this, let’s take a look at the setup.

With these inverters, we connect each solar panel to its own energy optimiser. So, as you generate power, the devices will maximise the output.

This will give you a major boost in energy production.

Then, all this electricity will flow to a central inverter. That’s when we convert the AC power into DC.

Pros

As you can guess by the name, the primary benefit of these devices is optimisation. They can maximise the amount of energy that each solar panel produces.

Because of that, they’re able to supply more power than the other inverters on our list.

Besides that, these devices allow you to monitor your solar system in real time. You’ll be able to see the output levels of each panel throughout the day.

This will make identifying issues and addressing them a walk in the park.

Plus, you’ll need fewer components and wiring than central inverters. That means they’re more cost-effective.

Finally, due to their modular design, power optimisers can last for a long time. You should be able to remove any faulty parts and replace them with ease.

Cons

For the most part, power optimisers share the same drawbacks as micro inverters. Both devices are complex and require careful installation. This can be time-consuming and expensive.

Other than that, the setup leaves plenty of room for failure. If any of the optimisers malfunction, the entire system will take quite a hit.

Finally, the cost of these devices can be a major deterrent. They’re on the pricier side, which means they’re not suitable for all solar systems.

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Considerations to make when buying Solar Inverters

When deciding on an inverter for your solar system, there are a few considerations to make. Let’s dive into the factors you’ll need to take into account before you make a purchase.

Solar Inverter Cost

One of the most crucial aspects to consider when it comes to inverters is the cost.

Typically, central devices are the most affordable variety. Since the setup is simple, you won’t need to invest in many components or wires.

Moving on, power optimisers are a close second in terms of cost. They’re more expensive than the central variety, but they’re still economical.

As for hybrid and micro inverters, they tend to be expensive. You’ll need to invest a sizable amount to buy the individual components.

Solar Inverter Installation

Before you buy an inverter, it’s a good idea to consider the installation process.

Central inverters are large and heavy. This means moving them around can be quite challenging.

This isn’t the case with the other varieties. The other three inverter types are smaller, which means they’re easier to install.

However, you also have to take the complexity of the setup into account. Central devices don’t need any special wiring. That means the cost of installation should be minimal.

As for the other types, depending on your solar panel layout, the setup can be pricey.

Solar Inverter Lifespan

As we mentioned, solar inverters can cost a pretty penny. For that reason, you want the device to last as long as possible before you need to replace it.

To make deciding on a gadget simpler, check out its lifespan.

Here’s a list of the average usability duration of each type of inverter:

  • Central inverters: 10-15 years
  • Hybrid inverters: 10-12 years
  • Micro inverters: 25 years
  • Power optimisers: 20-25 years

This will change based on how often you perform maintenance and repairs.

Solar Inverter Ratings

It can be tough when trying to pick out the best solar inverter for you. To make the decision a bit easier, inspect the ratings of the device.

The first aspect you should check is the maximum power point tracking (MPPT). This determines how efficiently the inverter will convert DC power into AC.

As a general rule, the higher the MPPT, the more energy an inverter can extract from solar panels.

Besides that, it’s best to check the efficiency rating. This calculates the energy losses that occur during the conversion process. A higher number will mean that the device produces less waste.

Lastly, be sure to inspect the voltage rating on the inverter. This number must be compatible with the electric setup of your solar system.

Solar Inverter Sizing

Picking out the correct inverter size can make or break your solar system. There are three main factors that’ll affect the specifications of the device.

First off, the size of your solar array will come into play. You have to consider the output of the panels and the voltage and current ratings.

As the output levels increase, you’ll need a larger inverter.

Most of the time, the wattage of the array should match the inverter. For example, if your solar array produces 10kW, then your inverter needs to have a minimum rating of 10kW.

Other than that, you should take weather conditions into account. Solar panels produce different outputs based on the amount of sunlight they absorb.

That means your array’s power yield will fluctuate. So, you need an inverter that can handle the maximum energy output.

Lastly, how you set up your solar array will affect the size of the inverter. The tilt and arrangement of the panels will change the overall power output.

It’s crucial that you install the proper sized inverter. Otherwise, the solar system won’t perform optimally. This, in turn, increases the chances of failure.

Plus, doing so may void the warranty.

Solar Inverter Certification

To install a solar inverter in the UK, the device has to come with some form of certification. Each gadget will need to pass a few tests before you purchase it.

First off, any inverter with a rating below 16A per phase should be G98 certified. This ensures the stability of your solar system and reduces the chances of failure.

Moving on, when the rating exceeds 16A per phase, then the device needs to be G99 certified.

Finally, if your solar system sends power back to the grid, then it should be G100 certified. That means the device comes with an export limiter to control the amount of energy you send.

You must check the certification of the inverter before you buy it. Using the wrong device for your setup may lead to power shortages or shocks.

Solar Inverter Conclusions

Figuring out the best solar inverters for your home can be a bit tricky. These devices convert direct current from solar panels into alternating current. This allows you to make use of that energy in your home.

There are four main types of inverters. That includes central, micro, hybrid, and power optimiser inverters.

To find out which one is best for you, there are a few factors to consider. For instance, you’ll need to keep an eye on the costs, installation, and lifespan of the devices. Other than that, check the ratings, sizing, and certifications of the inverters. Better still leave it to the ESE Solar to advise you and supply you with the best solar inverter for your needs.

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Solar Inverter FAQ's

Some of the most common questions about solar inverters are answered for you here…

The answer to this question will depend on the power rating of your solar panels. If each device produces 415W, then you’ll need about 24 panels.

The overall energy output will be around 9,960W, which the inverter should be able to handle.

To power a three-bedroom home, you need around 10 or 11 solar panels. If each one produces 415W, the total will be around 4.5kW.

In that case, you’ll need an inverter that can handle 5kW. It’s always best to purchase a device with a slightly higher rating than you think you’ll need.

This way, if it’s particularly sunny outside, you won’t risk damaging your solar system.

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