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Get to Know Your Top Solar Brands: Sol-Ark

Short on Time? Here’s The Article Summary

Sol-Ark is a highly regarded hybrid inverter brand, popular among DIY and off-grid communities. Their inverters can work with various batteries, are easy to install, and offer options for electromagnetic pulse (EMP) hardening. Founded in 2013 by Tom Brennan and Bhawna Oberi, Sol-Ark focuses on simplifying solar and energy storage solutions.

Sol-Ark's inverters stand out for being transformerless, making them lighter and more efficient. They offer models like the 8K, 12K, and 15K, which cater to different needs, with features like parallel stacking and smart load management. Sol-Ark's inverters are also known for their all-in-one hybrid capabilities, accepting AC or DC input power from solar, grid, or generators, and outputting power to batteries or appliances. They provide reliable support and have won several awards for their innovative solutions. Compared to competitors like Enphase, Sol-Ark offers a different approach, focusing on central inverters rather than microinverters. This makes them a great choice for those looking for versatile systems that can work in both grid-tied and off-grid setups. Sol-Ark is ideal for those seeking durable, efficient, and reliable inverters for off-grid or backup power solutions.

Introduction

If you are looking for a hybrid inverter, let's just end your search right here and now. Sol-Ark is probably the best on the market. For those of you that are new to solar, a hybrid inverter is a type of inverter that is designed to work with both solar panels and energy storage systems, such as batteries. It combines all of the functionality of a grid-tied inverter and a battery inverter that charges and discharges batteries.

sol-ark inverter

The DIY and off-grid communities rave about Sol-Ark with good reason. They can interface with just about any battery, whether it's lithium, lead acid, or AGM deep-cycle, which means you can install one as part of your solar setup and then just keep adding batteries from any brand whenever you want. They are easy to install, light, and super efficient. They even give you the option to order an inverter that is hardened against electromagnetic pulses (EMPs) if you are worried about that kind of thing.

About Sol-Ark

Sol-Ark is a solar and energy storage firm founded in 2013. The company says it's "proudly veteran-owned and Texas-operated," as founders Tom Brennan and Bhawna Oberi have both served in the military. Tom is currently the CTO, while Bhawna is the COO. As qualified power engineers, they became concerned about the number of utility outages and were reluctant to use hazardous diesel generators at home.

After doing their research, they decided that the current market solutions were too complex and cumbersome to use and chose to start Sol-Ark in response. Their slogan is to "power families through life," which reflects their history.

The company's product and engineering team is headquartered in Allen, Texas. Sol-Ark has won numerous awards for its work, including an S&P Global Platts Global Energy Award, an American-Made Solar Prize, and the Dallas 100. They were also finalists in Energy Awards 2018 and the ees Awards 2021.

What is Sol-Ark Known For?

Sol-Ark sells four different models of inverter called the 5K, 8K, 12K, and 15K lines. Sol-Ark inverters are transformerless, which means they use electronic components to control the voltage. This gives Sol-Ark a real edge because transformers are bulky and heavy. Sol-Ark inverters are lighter and more compact, which makes them a breeze to install. They are also more efficient than other inverters.

Another advantage of using Sol-Ark is that their products are all-in-one hybrids. This means they can accept AC or DC input power from the grid, solar panels, or generators and then output that power to batteries or appliances. Most solar inverters can only convert DC power to AC power, so if you want to use batteries, you'll need to buy a charge controller, hybrid inverter, battery communications relay, and a bunch of other equipment that is going to complicate your setup. With Sol-Ark, everything comes in a single unit. They are also packed with proprietary technology that lets them transfer from grid power to backup power in four milliseconds, which means your appliances won't glitch. (Trust us, if you are a solar nerd, this will blow your mind).

They also have some of the best support in the entire industry, with a 7-day-a-week on-shore call center that is happy to provide advice when you need it the most. Considering that it's nearly impossible to speak to an actual human being these days, it's pretty impressive.

What Are Sol-Ark's Most Popular Products? 

The Sol-Ark 5k isn't really worth dwelling on. It's mainly used in small off-grid applications and can output around 5,000W of AC power to the grid or to your home or 5,000W of DC power to a battery bank. It can't be stacked in parallel with other inverters, and it has the lowest warranty of all of its products.

Sol-Ark 8k

sol-ark 8k inverter

The Sol-Ark 8K is similar in spec to the 5K. It's a great choice for a small off-grid cabin or an on-grid home that needs backup. It comes with two MPPT charge controllers that can accept 11,000W of DC solar input or up to 9,600W of AC input from microinverters or a solar string inverter. Like the 5K, it can't be stacked. It comes with a 5-year warranty, but you can extend it to 10 years for an additional fee. The 8K is available with EMP hardening. You can pick one up for just over $6,000.

Sol-Ark 12k

sol-ark 12k inverter

The Sol-Ark 12k is available at just over $7,000, but you get a lot more bang for your buck. You can set this baby up to power a full-sized off-grid home and use it in a commercial or industrial setting by stacking it in parallel with other 12k units. The two MPPT charge controllers can accept a total of 13,000W in DC solar input or up to 12,000W to AC loads, the grid, or batteries with a 9,000W limit to any single output. It can accept up to 9,600W of AC input from microinverters/solar string inverters and can charge the battery bank from an external generator. Parallel stacking allows for up to nine 12k inverters to run a 120/240/208V three-phase system or up to eight 12k inverters stacked in a split-phase system. This one comes with a 10-warranty and can be hardened against EMP.

Sol-Ark 15k

sol-ark 15k inverter

Let's talk about the latest and greatest, the biggest and baddest: the 15k. This inverter is perfect for a whole-home setup. It comes with parallel stacking, smart load, peak shaving, AC coupling, and a bunch of other features to sweeten the deal. It comes in a pre-wired outdoor case that contains the inverter, the charge controller, and everything else you need to go off-grid. There are no fuses, breakers, or combiner boxes, so you can be set up quickly and easily.

The 15k range provides 19.5k solar input power, AC-coupled solar input of 19.2kW, and a max combined solar input of 38.4kW. Off-grid, you can expect continuous AC power of 15kW with PV, continuous AC power of 12kW from just batteries, and a maximum grid sell output of 34.2kW.

Like other solar inverters, it's battery agnostic, so you aren't restricted by Sol-Ark. You can use pretty much any 48V battery chemistry you'd like. It has a 10-year warranty, but you can expect it to last much longer. At just over $8,000, it's not cheap, but it's well worth the investment.

How Do They Stack Up Against the Competition?

Sol-Ark's biggest competitor is Enphase. They are a California-based company that produces microinverters. The main difference between the two is the way they convert DC into AC. 

Sol-Ark inverters are the central component of your solar power system. They convert the DC power from your solar panels into AC power you can use in your home or store in your battery bank. They can interact with your existing solar panels or your oil generator with AC or DC. 

Enphase microinverters are installed on every individual solar panel and convert the DC power directly into AC power that you can use in your home. Each solar panel can operate independently and at maximum efficiency, even if some panels are shaded or broken. Enphase microinverters also come with a more sophisticated monitoring system, so you can keep a close eye on the performance of each solar panel in real time. Sol-Ark offers some monitoring at a system level, but you can't keep tabs on each solar panel unless you install additional optimizers. 

If you want a system that is very flexible in terms of panel placement and geared to produce the maximum amount of energy for you, EnPhase is a better choice. If you want a more versatile system that can work in grid-tied and off-grid systems with a built-in battery charger, go with Sol-Ark. 

If you’re in the market for an inverter solution, you should check out our profile on Enphase to help make the most informed decision.

Who is Sol-Ark For?

Sol-Ark isn't the cheapest product in the market, but it's well worth it because it's durable, reliable, efficient, and really easy to install. If you want to go off-grid or need reliable backup power for when the grid goes down, Sol-Ark's 12kW and 15kW are excellent options.

You can find the very best in Sol-Ark products on ShopSolar.com, plus helpful advice and guidance whenever you need it.

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Article by

Cody Oehm

Cody is the Head of Marketing at Shop Solar, and joined the company in spring of 2022. 

He has an entrepreneurial background and has been in the ecommerce industry since 2015. With 4 businesses under his belt and a drive to make a bigger impact, he decided to team up with Shop Solar on their mission to make solar simple and affordable. You can browse best seller's here.

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