A video just released by Australian solar power company Energy Matters graphically demonstrates the differing levels of quality in solar inverters – a crucial component in a solar power system.
While solar panels command a lot of attention, the quality of the inverter is often overlooked when people buy a solar power package.
The solar inverter is a box situated away from the panel array that converts solar panel output from Direct Current (DC) to Alternating Current (AC) electricity, suitable for use by home appliances and feeding into the mains grid.
The solar inverter can be subject to high and varying voltage levels, extreme temperature ranges, moisture and dust. Of all the components required, the inverter is the key to the safety, efficiency, reliability, and usability of solar PV systems.
As is the case with solar panels, not all inverters are equal as Energy Matters’ video clearly shows – even when the manufacturer makes claims of producing a quality unit.
Lesser quality solar inverters will often feature poor seals, shoddy circuitry and may also heat up more than a good quality inverter; all of which may impact on efficiency and the serviceable life of the unit. The video features a heat test Energy Matters conducted; involving the use of a thermal imaging camera that showed the temperature difference between two inverter brands can be considerable.
With the race now on to have a solar power system installed before the Solar Credits rebate is slashed 33%, Energy Matters urges consumers to consider the quality of the solar inverter when buying a package. Some companies may offer a quality brand of panel in a system, but skimp on inverter quality.
“When you’re looking at an inverter make sure you verify the specs on it – no.1 being the IP rating, no.2 the efficiency”, says Energy Matters co-founder James Walker, who explains both terms in the video and their relationship to build quality and operation.
“These are the two most important factors when choosing your inverter for longevity of the output that you will get from your system – and ultimately, that’s what counts.”
The solar inverter video follows on from Energy Matters’ video series entitled “Solar Made Simple“, which outlines the various steps involved with having a solar power system installed.