Who Makes the Best Solar Inverters? - ShopSolar.com
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Who Makes the Best Solar Inverters?

solar panels on a rust orange roof

Short on Time? Here’s The Article Summary

The article discusses the importance of understanding basic electromechanics for setting up a solar power system. It explains the difference between alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC) and the role of inverters in converting DC electricity from solar panels to AC for use in homes. The article compares string inverters, which connect multiple solar panels to one central inverter, with micro inverters, which provide each panel with its own inverter.

It highlights the pros and cons of each type and recommends considering factors like cost, maintenance, and scalability when choosing the best solar inverter. The article also mentions popular brands like Sol-Ark, EG4, EnPhase, and AP Systems for both string and micro inverters. It suggests using solar kits as a convenient and cost-effective way to install a complete solar power system and provides resources for further research.

Introduction

Most of us have a loose grasp on the finer details of electromechanics at best. For example, what’s the difference between an alternate and a direct current? 

Give up yet? Don’t worry because, thankfully, you don’t have to be Nikola Tesla to understand the importance of electricity, even if you don’t know the nitty-gritty details of it. 

You also don’t need to be an electrical engineer to set up a solar system to power your home, cottage, or RV. Lots of people are doing it. In fact, solar is the fastest-growing alternative energy source, and for good reason. It’s awesome.

While you don’t need to know everything about how it works, but in order to make sure you get the best solar power system you can, you should at least know about the important components of that system, and that includes the inverter.

What Do Solar Inverters Do?

Remember when we asked you to define the difference between AC and DC? If you were stumped, here’s a refresher:

  • Direct Current (DC): Electrons always move forward in one direction.
  • Alternate Current (AC): Electrons flow in alternating directions, forward and backward. 

These definitions explain the technical difference, but why does it matter in terms of selecting the best solar inverters? Typically, DC currents support smaller battery power devices, like smartphones, box fans, and flashlights. On the other hand, AC currents power larger appliances, like refrigerators, air conditioners, and TVs. It's important to know that the predominant current in homes is AC, as it’s easier to produce and transmit. 

Now, let's relate AC/DC  to solar panels. When panels sit outside and soak up sunlight, the electrons within the panel's semiconductor layer begin to move, generating energy. But here’s the thing: the current created by the electrons in the panel is DC, which means all the stuff you want to power in your home can’t use it as is. Before you can use it, the energy has to be converted to AC, and that’s done by (you guessed it) the inverter. 

Ultimately, the inverter is essential to running AC-powered devices. So, every solar inverter you come across does the same thing. It takes DC electricity and changes it to AC. But there are different inverter types, and depending on your needs, you can select the best solar inverters to correspond with the power and flexibility of your home solar requirements.

String vs Micro Inverters

solar panels on a beige house

Now, we’ll get further into the weeds as we help you distinguish the best solar inverters for your home. First, you must know these differences when choosing the best solar inverter for your setup. Below, we’ll compare two major types: string vs micro inverters. 

  • String Inverter: Hooks a series of solar panels up to one central inverter
  • Micro Inverter: Provides each solar panel with its own individual inverter 

Each option has its strengths and weaknesses. 

String Inverters

Pros:

  • More cost-effective than micro inverters for large-scale solar systems
  • Less complicated and reduces the chances of technological malfunction

Cons: 

  • Given all panels are wired in series, if one experiences reduced output—such as under shade or snow—so do the rest
  • Less flexibility to expand or minimize your system

Micro Inverters

Pros:

  • Produces more electricity, as each panel is not subject to the output of the others
  • Flexibility to scale system as desired

Cons:

  • More expensive upfront cost
  • Additional maintenance and increased likelihood of technological malfunction

Choosing the best solar inverter for your needs isn’t as simple as comparing string vs micro inverters and calling it a day. First, you must understand your needs, your environment, and how much wattage you require to power your home or living arrangement adequately. 

Who Makes the Best Solar Inverters?

After understanding the need for an inverter and the differences between string vs micro inverters, it's time to analyze existing brands and, most importantly, the general cost.

Regarding the best string invertors brands, two of the best available options are Sol-Ark and EG4. 

  • Sol-Ark: One of the most advanced and powerful inverters on the market, and depending on size, costs between $3,500 and $18,500
  • EG4Great for smaller setups, with inverter costs running between $750-$5,600

As for micro inverters, two of the top options are EnPhase and AP systems. 

  • EnPhase: Easy to set up a plug-and-play design that costs about $150-$200 each
  • AP Systems: Hyper-efficient and powerful, with each inverter costing between $200-$300

Solar Kits: The Best Way to Get a Complete Home Solar Power System

When considering the switch to solar energy, many people become stressed out. There’s a lot to consider. Installing a solar energy system piece by piece can be confusing and costly. These issues are why so many choose a solar kit. 

Solar kits are the easiest way to install a system that meets your demands. You can control the size and have all parts delivered and installed, significantly reducing labor costs. In addition, with kits, owners get guidance throughout each step of the process, allowing them to understand what they’re paying for and scale as they see fit, and helping them understand the unique benefits of going with string vs micro inverters. 

Begin Researching the Best Solar Inverters for Your Kit

Solar energy continues to become a more attractive option with each passing day. You may be someone who is always on the go and looking to buy a small solar kit to power an RV or van or looking to become less grid dependent over time. Irrespective of that, finding the best solar kit is the easiest, most affordable, and most sensible way to switch to energy independence. 

Visit our website to discover everything you need to know about solar kits. You can also check out The Solar Lab, an online community with tons of resources, including videos, articles, and a solar power mini-course. You can even dive deeper into the debate between string inverters vs micro inverters. Then, visit ShopSolar.com to analyze the various brand options and the best solar inverters available. Our site sells everything from complete kits to individual inverters of all sizes, types, and costs.

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Article by

Alex S

Alex is a co-founder of Shop Solar, a company that he established in 2018 to revolutionize the solar industry by simplifying the process and making it more simple and cost-effective. Under his strategic leadership, Shop Solar has grown into a comprehensive one-stop-shop, empowering over 40,000+ customers to access top-quality solar and storage solutions, comprehensive information, intuitive tools, and professional installation services.

With a passion for innovation and sustainable energy, Alex has successfully expanded the business's reach and impact, serving as a driving force in the company's growth and development. You can browse best seller's here.

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