How do choose the best solar inverters in Australia? Choosing the best solar inverter brand for a home solar system is one of the most critical decisions to make when going solar. Certainly, a professional solar installer can help you to choose the right sized inverter. Above all, always install Clean Energy Council’s (CEC) approved Inverter. Check the CEC-approved products list and make sure whether the solar inverter complies with the relevant Australian Standard (AS4777).
Points to consider while selecting a solar inverter
Quality, reliability, warranty, service, and support are the main points to consider while selecting a solar inverter. Safety Certifications, Watts, Watt-hours, Amps, Amp-hours, Efficiency, and Internal protection are the some of the basic points we need to consider while selecting a solar inverter. Some customers are also considering the cost of solar panels. Premium and budget solar inverters are available in the Australian market.
Premium solar inverter brands in Australia 2022
Fronius is one of the best solar inverter brands in Australia. Solar Edge and Enphase are also popular inverter brands in Australia. Some of the high-end solar inverter brands in Australia are:
- Fronius – Over the past 10 years, Fronius inverters have become the favourite of the Australian solar market. Fronius inverters are efficient and reliable and form an indispensable part of every solar system.
- SolarEdge – SolarEdge introduced the concept of string inverter matched with individual DC optimisers on each solar panel. SolarEdge also has some clever hybrid inverter designs. Their inverters speak of reliability and efficiency
- Enphase – Enphase is the only microinverter manufacturer in Australia. Their systems have many advantages over string systems, such as safer voltages and fault tolerance. Flexibility and reliability are their forte.
Budget solar inverter brands in Australia 2022
- Sungrow -Sungrow is one of the top solar inverter manufacturers with 225 GW installed worldwide. Sungrow has strong 24 years of track record in the solar industry. Sungrow inverters have some great features such as integration with Solar Analytics. Sungrow inverters are mid-range solar inverters in terms of performance, price, and warranty serving 99%+ efficiency.
- Goodwe– It is a budget inverter brand with a good reputation for reliability and features. This is definitely a good budget option for those who are looking for a quick payback period and a fast return on investment. Read more about Goodwe Solar Products
- Growatt – It is the most popular No.1 Chinese Residential PV inverter brand. Their price point and high-performing technology have made them popular in Australia.
Cost of 5kW solar inverter in Australia
5kW to 10kW inverters are the most installing category in the home solar systems. A 5kW single-phase budget solar inverter cost starts from $1,000. A 5kW single-phase premium solar inverters cost starts from $2,000. Fronius is one of the premium inverter brands in Australia as well as internationally.
A 5kW three-phase budget solar inverter cost starts from $1,900. A 5kW three-phase budget solar inverter cost starts from $2300.
Budget Inverter Vs Premium Inverter
As solar inverters work hard all day, they wear out easily and are most likely to fail in 10 to 15 years. The really cheap products have no chance of lasting 15 years plus in Australia.
Australia’s harsh weather conditions make it difficult and expensive to design and manufacture a good solar inverter.
The price difference between opting for a premium inverter such as Fronius or SMA versus a budget inverter like Sungrow is $700 to $1,000 per system. Enphase is the most expensive of the lot as it needs one micro-inverter per panel.
If one is on a limited budget, they can go for a budget inverter over premium inverters. A budget solar inverter is about half the price of a premium one. The premium inverter is less likely to fail during the first 15 years. Even if it fails, the support and replacement will be covered by the warranty. Above all, premium inverters have more features and are made with good material.
Types of inverters
It is the most common type of inverter used for residential purposes. A string inverter is connected with a string of solar panels. Besides being robust they are durable and easy to maintain. It is a trusted technology and much cheaper compared to other inverters.
Its drawback is that as all the solar panels are connected, a shaded panel would affect the efficiency of the whole system. Once a string inverter of a certain rating is installed, it cannot be altered. Hence expandability in the future becomes an issue. String inverters are ideal in areas where there are no shading issues around the year.
They are inverters of higher power ratings. It is used for large commercial installations or utility-scale solar farms. They look like big metal cabinets and can handle up to megawatts of capacity per enclosure. It centralizes the power produced by the plant.
Microinverters deliver more energy as they optimise each panel individually. They are tiny solar inverters that are shade tolerant and can be remotely monitored. Microinverter installation cost or replacement cost is very high. It is very suitable for residential buildings where each panel can be differently oriented or have a different shading pattern during the day. It is useful when limited space for panels constrains array size
Optimised string inverters
Optimiser string inverters perform like microinverter but use slightly different technology. An optimiser system requires a string inverter, but you then attach optimisers on the back of the solar panels, optimising each panel output under a variety of conditions.
A hybrid inverter works as on-grid and off-grid solar inverter. They are multi-mode inverters. It can work without a grid. Hybrid Inverters can store electricity and provide power backup. It converts DC power from modules to usable AC power and then converts stored AC from the batteries to power loads when needed. Hybrid inverters are useful when there is no access to a reliable power grid.
Though expensive, battery inverters are a good option when one wants to retrofit batteries to your solar power system or keep your battery system separate from your solar panels. This simply converts your battery power into 230V AC and feeds it into your switchboard instead of grid power where possible.
Warranty of solar inverters
The average standard warranty period for solar inverters in Australia is 10 years. Some companies offer the possibility to extend this period to up to 20 years.
The manufacturer’s warranty covers the cost of the materials required to get your inverter functioning. They can even opt to replace the entire inverter. However, only a few manufacturers cover the technician chages, travel charges, etc. To claim a warranty, we need to contact the service provider as a first step. If you have given them access to your monitoring system, they can determine the nature of the issue and begin the appropriate warranty claim on your behalf. Certainly, this is another reason to select a trusted installer for installing a rooftop solar system.
To conclude, solar inverters are an integral part of a solar installation. Professional installers will help one to choose a solar inverter that best suits their solar system.