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What factors should you consider when buying solar inverters

Basics 101: Understanding Specifications of Solar Inverters, Grid and Hybrid type…

Home Owner if you use Path to Green Homes, you will be able to choose the right equipment and get a quote from your nearest installer. We don’t stop at recommending brand names e.g. How is Sonnen ? PathToGreenHomes helps you drill down to matching series as {1Φ (1-3)kW Hybrid 9.53} with model as {1, 1kW AC output}.  

These are basic features of any Hybrid inverter who wants to compete in the market.

Manufacturer Choose Brand or Manufacturer name Installer near you
Series Inverter Series are group of related products   Send Enquiry
Model Part number is followed by the inverter AC power and phase (1Φ / 3Φ) for ease of selection Send Enquiry
Datasheet Values  Send Enquiry
AC Power (KW) AC output power e.g. 5KW inverter for 5KW household load Send Enquiry
Inverter Type Grid type connect only with solar panels. Hybrid connects with both panel & battery. Storage Tower connect only with battery  Send Enquiry
Backup Overload (kw)  A 5KW inverter should work >5KW for a small “time period (secs)” to accommodate surge loads like aircons, motor, pump etc.Send Enquiry
Overload (secs )A 5KW inverter should work >5KW for a small “time period (secs)” to accommodate surge loads like aircons, motor, pump etc. If Overload (secs) is ZERO (0), it means that Backup overload load is not possible.     Send Enquiry
PhasesA household can be Single or Three phase. Most Three phase inverters already feature unbalanced load and they can deliver 5KW  across 3 phases as follows 0.5KW, 1KW, 3.5KW Send Enquiry
Solar Panel compatibility  Send Enquiry
Max allowed Input  current  from PV per  String High efficiency panels have high input current. The inverter must be capable of handling it, or it will lead to major incompatibility & clipping losses Send Enquiry
Input MPPTs (nos )The greater the number of strings, more flexible the arrangement can be via no of MPPTs. It will also provide conditions for matching different power of different strings. (e.g. different directions of panels, shadow conditions etc)  Send Enquiry
PV String Level Monitoring Monitoring data can be MPPT level or solar string level, the latter is more rich in data & for troubleshooting Send Enquiry
CountryCountry of Origin is HQ for mfr. irrespective of place of assembly  Send Enquiry
Efficiency  Efficiency is to how best inverter converts DC power to AC household power. More losses can happen as the temperature rises over 40º CSend Enquiry
Colour  Inverter colour is personal choice. However the quality of paint, C5 corrosion level are imp for longevity. In future plastic housing of inverters (to save cost) will make an arrival which need compliance to mechanical, electrical and tough EMI compliance Send Enquiry
Safety  Hybrid inverters : Basic Safety features you can assume almost all mfr will have
Pre-charge Protection
Overcurrent Protection
Short-circuit Protection
High/Low Temperature Protection
Overvoltage/Under-voltage Protection
Component Fault Protection
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 Lightning protection Type (DC)Type 1 = best , Type 2 = Good , Type 3 = standard.  
Very few inverters have an SPD fail alarm (LCD screen blinks) when it gets damaged due to surge.  
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Lightning protection Type (AC)  Type 1 = best, Type 2 = Good, Type 3 = standard .  
Very few inverters have an SPD fail alarm ( LCD screen blinks) when it gets damaged due to surge.  
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Exchangeable SPDs  “Damaged SPD” can be part of an expensive board & both need to replacement. We preferred only SPD replacement if possible.  Send Enquiry
Fuse for Battery (Yes/No)  Standard features like “Reverse protection” and  “breaker” are basic safety but Battery Fuse, Soft Start is the real safety thing   Send Enquiry
Dimensions  Compact is better. Liquid cooled models won’t be compact but very advanced technology.  Send Enquiry
Weight ( Kg)  Sometimes light inverter is better but not always . Some mfr leave a must “EMC filter” to make it lighter. Some top models add “liquid cooling” to add to reliability.  Send Enquiry
Send Enquiry
Battery Cycles Each time battery is discharged that’s one battery cycle. There are 365 days in a year and 10 years means 3650 cycles (100% charge and discharge each day). Please ask supplier if can battery be fully discharged Or weather maximum 90% / 80% of discharge is recommended since it has price implication  Send Enquiry
Battery Voltage ( V) High Battery voltage reduces losses. In addition, storage capacity maybe increased  by adding more batteries in Series. However not all brands allow battery capacity addition, by mixing an Existing (Old battery) with a new one. Send Enquiry
Max Units in Parallel Expandable energy storage solutions to meet customer demand in the future.
Storage capacity may later be increased, by adding batteries in PARALLEL. “No of units in parallel” is an inverter feature to parallel batteries, without purchasing an additional data logger. 
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PV Oversizing (kw) We can connect 7kW solar panels to a lower rated 5Kw inverter. This is particularly advantageous in certain parts of Europe (such as Belgium) Send Enquiry
WarrantySend Enquiry
Electronics  Warranty (Years)  Grid inverters : A 10-12 year warranty is at least recommended

Hybrid / AC Coupled inverters : 5 years (product warranty) 10 years (performance warranty)   
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3rd Party Device CompatibilitySend Enquiry
Compliance to SunSpec Protocol  “Plug & play” interoperability for 100s of smart devices Send Enquiry
Weather Data Integration Integrate 3rd party reliable weather data from MetroControl / Skytron/ SolarLog useful for PV Energy prediction.  
In a EV scenario  regional meteorological data can create a generation forecast, which it compares against your own consumption behaviour.  
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Smart Heat Pump Heat pumps operate directly from solar which is the cheapest energy source  Send Enquiry
Wireless Connection Communication between devices through the local area network will reduce the complexity of system wiring.  Wireless connection is more beautiful, but the complexity of the initial configuration increases Send Enquiry
Futuristic Requirements  Send Enquiry
Smart EV Charger  In General EV Charger can integrate in any PV grid. However this requirement is “Yes” when an Electric vehicle can be charged quickly, in a PV-optimized or forecast-based manner.  The solar power should fully feed the car and not the grid.Send Enquiry
Smart inverter Mainly required right now in the USA. It’s the ability to participate as an Interoperable PV Inverter with advanced Grid-Support Functions as Distributed Energy Resource ( DER).  Send Enquiry

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