THE BEST SOLAR INVERTERS : ¿What are they and which one is right for you?

THE BEST SOLAR INVERTERS : ¿What are they and which one is right for you?

5 abril, 2019 Off By admin

Photovoltaic inverters are necessary so that the energy produced by solar panels can be used in the home, but you must know which are the best solar inverters .

THE BEST SOLAR INVERTERS

then try to analyze and in this way to determine which are the best solar inverters and which fits your solar system.

What is and how a solar inverter works?

Photovoltaic solar inverters are equipment that is responsible for transforming the energy produced in a photovoltaic installation , which is transformed  from direct current, into alternating current so that electrical appliances and other electrical products can operate at their normal levels.

How many types of investors are there?

Sinusoidal Wave Inverters :

For the correct operation of the electrical installation in a home, you must always choose a pure sine wave inverter, which is the one that will always adapt to domestic electronic devices that use alternating current.

Modified sine wave :

For most equipment, and especially devices that have electric motors (water pumps or industrial equipment such as lathes, drills, …), modified synodal wave inverters will adapt better to their specifications.

Network connection and battery inverters

Within the family of investors we can differentiate between grid connection inverters, which manages to synchronize the levels of energy produced by the photovoltaic field with the public grid, or the battery inverters, which together with the injection of energy to the batteries they also regulate the passage of said stored energy to the electrical system of homes / businesses / photovoltaic systems.

Single-phase and three-phase inverters

Within connection inverters, we have two connection possibilities in the installations. Thus we find single-phase installations, in which the current flows through a single conductor and is usually used in domestic installations, for lighting loads and small power supplies.

On the other hand, the three-phase installations have three connections, thinner and cheaper, that emit constant power, and not pulses, which increases the performance of the equipment.

Why is it necessary for the photovoltaic inverter to take advantage of solar energy?

THE BEST SOLAR INVERTERS

To take advantage of sunlight to generate clean energy that supplies the home, photovoltaic panels alone will not be enough. And it is that, any  solar kit will  need, at least, another key piece: the investor.

Storage batteries on the margin, which will also be necessary when you want to have 24-hour supply, a domestic installation without inverter simply can not use the energy captured.

That is the key but, so that there are no doubts, from Ecoinventos we review what an investor is and why it is essential to take advantage of solar energy.

What is the function of an inverter in a photovoltaic installation?

Are you looking for your computer, your television or your refrigerator to work with electricity obtained from the  sun’s energy ? Then, you need an investor in your domestic installation.

Why? Because, as it was advanced, for any electronic device to work it is essential that the energy generated by the solar panels passes  from direct current to alternating current , which is what appliances, electronic devices, etc. work with.

In order for this conversion to be possible, any solar installation, however large or small it may be, will need an inverter that, however, can be of different types depending on several variables. Among them, a fundamental one is if the solar installation is  with connection to the electrical network or outside the network .

What are the available investor types?

Without being too technical, entering the type of available investors is necessary so that, who is considering moving to solar energy, at least have basic notions that can be adjusted more to their needs.

Therefore, regardless of the alternatives of greater size, and the different classifications that can be made of the investors depending on their power, operation or system configuration, among others, for domestic use should be started with a distinction starting: on the one hand, the inverters for installations without connection to the network and those for connected kits.

Thus, for installations outside the network , we would be

Autonomous investors

with connection to photovoltaic panels and batteries for domestic storage. Thus, the investor would take the energy from the bank of batteries to, from there, convert it for consumption at home.

In the case of solar installations that are connected to the electricity network, the investors would become interactive, to operate as brains of energy management that, depending on the needs, would provide energy for the consumption of the panels, the network or, if included in the installation, of the batteries.

Within this second typology, the most common for domestic use are the

 chain investors or string investors  .

 They stand out for being centralized equipment that convert the energy captured for its use. Among its cons, that if a panel is not sufficiently exposed to the sun or works poorly, that will be the power of the investor.

Next to the previous alternative are the  microinverters , which are connected to a single panel and which, therefore, would offer a decentralized solution that would mitigate the problems of the string inverter  . However, they are usually more expensive than the previous ones.

O ptimizer of energy .

In this case, what is involved is a hybrid type investor who takes the best of one and the best of another. That is, it operates with the panels individually, although, unlike the previous case, energy is still managed centrally.

THE BEST SOLAR INVERTERS

 

Location of the inverter and power.

Regarding the first question, there is not a single answer. However, the ideal would be for the investor to be located in a place that is easily accessible in order to maintain the device but which, in turn, is not available to those who may face risks with their handling, such as minors.

Apart from the above, it must be taken into account when placing its proximity to the electrical panel, as well as with solar panels.

In addition, this device is usually heated, so any option that happens to box it in some area where heat, instead of dissipating, accumulates, will not be recommended. Precisely for the same reason, if it was planned to be placed next to a source of heat, it would be better to discard this idea.

In addition to the above, other aspects must be taken into account, such as the noise that this equipment can generate in its operation. Therefore, a room, a bedroom or an area attached to the previous ones will not be as comfortable for the inhabitants of the house.

To finish, a final aspect that always worries. In addition, it is not rare that it does, since it is crucial for the operation and optimal use of a domestic installation.

What size investor do I need?

Well, the one whose power fits your photovoltaic solar system. This is not an easy matter. However, it is essential, since those who estimate low will not have enough energy to satisfy their consumption needs.

At least one inverter is required for each solar panel installation. The function of the inverter is very simple, that is, convert the energy produced from solar panels into energy that is compatible with appliances, alternating current. Solar panels produce direct current.

THE BEST SOLAR INVERTERS

 

The inverter looks like a cabinet that is usually installed against the wall and near the solar panels.

The useful life of an inverter is significantly shorter than that of solar panels. Solar panels will certainly continue to work for 25 years with relatively little loss of efficiency. 

This is not the case of an investor. Most investors have a useful life of 8 to 12 years. They must be replaced. This is because an investor has many electronic components and is used intensively. The microinverters have a lifespan of 25 years.

Installation

The installation of the inverter is done during the installation of the entire installation of the solar panel. The inverter is usually mounted against a perpendicular wall with the connections at the bottom. Depending on the distance between the solar panels and the meter cabinet in the other, the inverter produces a 5% loss in efficiency.

 Very little can be done about it, since the distance between the solar panels on the ceiling and the meter cabinet on the ground floor is quite large. Good cables can prevent further loss of efficiency.

An investor weighs at least 10 kilograms and, therefore, is better installed by experienced installers.

The useful life of an inverter is significantly shorter than that of solar panels. Solar panels will  certainly continue to work for 25 years with relatively little loss of efficiency. This is not the case of an investor. Most investors have a useful life of 8 to 12 years. 

They must be replaced. This is because an inverter has many electronic components, is used intensively and can get quite hot, causing wear.

With an installation of more than 5kVA, you need a three-phase inverter with a three-phase network connection in Flanders. For inverters less than 5 kVA, a single-phase inverter with a single-phase network connection is sufficient.

The connections

An investor has the following connections:

  • DC connections for incoming solar panel cables
  • AC connections for the output cables to the meter cabinet.

Once the installation is complete and everything is working, you can read the performance of the installation of your solar panel on the inverter screen.

THE BEST SOLAR INVERTERS

 

Which investor to choose?

If your solar system is not connected to the electricity grid, your choice will depend on the devices you want to feed. If the device contains an electric motor, then a pure sinusoidal waveform is practically mandatory.

 In addition, it applies to many audio and video equipment that can cause impure wave noise. For a laptop, for example, it does not matter and the cheapest modified sinusoidal waveform is a great solution.

 It should be said that inverters that emit a block-shaped signal often buzz due to continuous conversion. A pure sine wave inverter is better in all cases, but the added value is low in many cases.

In the case of photovoltaic systems connected to the network, you must use the so-called   special synchronous inverter . This ensures that the power supplied by you is  in phase  (read: the wave is in line) with the mains supply. 

If this is not the case, your inverter will break immediately. A non-synchronous inverter does  not work  ! Synchronous inverters guarantee a pure and ordered sine wave that exactly matches the power of the electrical network.

 In combination with a decreasing flow meter, in this way you can return the energy you have supplied and sell it to the network. The synchronous inverter that you must take depends entirely on the power (in watts) of your photovoltaic system.

Do you need advice without commitment? Ask a  local electrician  .

THE BEST SOLAR INVERTERS

 

The brands

The majority of investors in Belgium are manufactured in Germany with SMA. Recently there has also been an increase in Asian investors. Although the quality of these investors is still not entirely clear, it is best to stay with the best-known European brands.

The most common investors in Belgium are:

  • SMA (Germany)
  • SolarEdge (Israel)
  • Enphase (United States)
  • Fronius (Austria)
  • Omnik (China)
  • Goodwe (China)

Of which SMA is the absolute leader due to its reliability, efficiency and good quality / price ratio (although it is a little more expensive compared to the competition). However, in recent years, SolarEdge has been increasing with its power optimizers.

Prices

The price you pay for an investor depends to a large extent on the power. Therefore, the installation of the solar panel determines to a large extent the price. For an investor in a 3.5 kWp installation, he will pay between 1,000 and 1,400 euros.

The price of the cheapest investors starts at 500 euros and the most expensive models reach 5 000 euros. The latter are suitable inverters for the professional installation of solar panels in companies or, for example, farms with a capacity of more than 25 kWp.

Warranty

Most investors come with a 5 year warranty as a standard. With some investors it is possible to extend the guarantee to 10 years.