Inverter Choices

The Inverter

The power generated by the solar panels is DC, direct current electricity, while the energy we use in our homes is AC, alternating current.  Therefore the energy that comes off of your roof isn’t immediately compatible with your household electronics and appliances. To make it compatible by converting it to AC a inverter must be paired with your solar panels. The job of your power inverter is simple, take unusable DC energy and transform it in usable AC energy. This box takes the power collected from your panels and switches it to the same type of power that comes into your house via the power company.

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While the purpose of the inverter is simple, it is one of the more important components to your system.  All of the energy from your panels must pass through this inverter and any loss in efficiency during the inversion process can cost a homeowner lots of money.  This is why PE Solar only uses top of the line, industry leading inverters.  Our inverters are over 98% efficient, leading the market in overall efficiency, and warranty.  Additionally our inverters have a energy production tracking function that allows homeowners to view their production daily from their system.  

       Micro vs Sting inverters

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Micro Inverters are small individual inverters made to handle very small DC loads.  A ratio of 1 micro inverter is used per photovoltaic panel, using this 1 to 1 ratio, a 20 panel system would need 20 individual micro inverters.  By using a single inverter per panel the solar panels each function on their own.  If one panel or inverter goes down, the remaining panels and inverters will continue to function.  This is also an important characteristic when considering shading issues.  Micro inverters are a popular option for homes with shading issues that may affect a few panels in afternoon hours.  By utilizing a micro inverter on these type of homes the homeowner will not have to worry about a little shade disrupting the production on their entire system.   

Micro Inverter Pros

-Best options for homes with shading options

-Easy to install and design

Micro Inverter Cons

-More inverters = more to go wrong, higher maintenance

-Significantly higher cost than string inverters

String Inverters are larger stand alone inverters that are designed to handle the wattage of an entire array of panels.  A sting inverter can be purchased according to the size of the solar system it is required to invert.  Unlike micro inverters, a system will only need one properly sized sting inverter to convert all the DC energy from the panels in AC energy used on the electric grid.  Sting inverters are the most commonly used type of inverters.   They allow solar installers to pair panels into groups or arrays that are then fed to the string inverter.  These arrays function as one panel and can be made up of 7-14 panels per array.  Sting inverts are right for almost any home with adequate roof space and shade free zones.   

String Inverter Pros

-very reliable and easy to service

-most widely used inverter type for solar installations

-high rate of efficiency

-digital screens allow for easily accessible production tracking information

-lower cost of ownership

String Inverter Cons

 -roofs with shading issues may provide system size limitations

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