Solar InvertersThe heart and brain of your Solar PV System
Choosing a quality inverter is crucial
Choosing a quality inverter that is exactly right for your project is crucial for receiving maximum return on your investment.
Inverters have shorter life spans and warranties than solar panels, five to ten years as opposed to 25-30 years, and are usually the most expensive part of a system.
Going with a quality inverter is definitely worth it in the long term – we have seen many customers pick premium panels and a cheap inverter, which jeopardizes the performance of the entire system.
There are four main types of inverters – grid-connected and hybrid inverters are connected to the electricity grid and further divided into string and micro inverters.
Then there are off-grid inverters for use in remote areas as well as central inverters for larger commercial and utility-scale solar arrays.
Inverters are responsible for:
- Converting DC current produced by your solar panels to AC current used in your home and by the grid if you are exporting it.
- Ensuring that the maximum amount of electricity is extracted from your solar panels. This is also known as Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) – a digital charge control function which ensures that you get the most power possible from your solar panels at any point in time which is particularly effective during low light level conditions.
- Allowing you to monitor your solar system via wifi, Bluetooth or simply on its display.
Our Solar Inverter Suppliers
|Grid-connected Inverter||Hybrid Inverter||Off-grid Inverter||Central Inverter|
Our Solar Inverter Suppliers
|ABB||Grid-connected & Central Inverters|
|Fronius||Grid-connected, Hybrid & Central Inverters|
|Schneider||Grid-connected, Hybrid, Off-grid & Central Inverters|
|SMA||Grid-connected, Hybrid & Central Inverters|
|SolarEdge||Grid-connected & Hybrid Inverters|
|SolaX||Grid-connected & Hybrid Inverters|
|SunGrow||Grid-connected & Hybrid Inverters|
|Zever Solar||Grid-connected Inverters|
Grid-connected String Inverters
String inverters are the traditional choice for residential solar systems. They are connected to each string of solar panels on the roof – depending on the size of your system this could be between four and ten panels – converting the combined power output of each row. This makes string inverters very efficient, around 96%, but it also means that the whole system is compromised when just one panel is faulty or producing less power because of shading or soiling. However, most of the time string inverters work perfectly fine and especially for small systems the differences in power output are barely noticeable.
Grid-connected Micro Inverters
Micro inverters have been around since the nineties, but have really started to take off in the last few years. They are built into or connected to each PV solar panel individually, therefore maximizing and managing the electricity output of each panel independently, giving you more power per panel. Small amounts of shading and debris (think leaves and bird poo) on any of the panels or even complete module failure do not reduce the output of the complete array, and the fault can easily be located and fixed.
Micro inverters also allow for more flexible solar system design. More roof space is opened up for different combinations of panels and arrays, such as on an odd-shaped roof, that would be impossible to utilize with traditional string modules.
Comparison of String & Micro Inverters
|String inverter||Micro inverter|
|Price||Usually slightly cheaper||Initial cost is higher, yet BoS (Balance of System, this includes everything but the solar system itself i.e. inverter, wiring, installation etc.) costs is lower|
|Efficiency||Efficiency around 96%||Efficiency around 95%|
|Installation||Installation on-ground required||No installation required as the inverter is pre-installed into the panel|
|Safety||Standard safety features||Inbuilt grounding, shut-down function|
|Flexibility||Not much flexibility with solar array design||Very flexible as odd-shaped roofs and different lengths of strings can be utilised|
|Performance||Output of the whole array can be compromised by just one panel|
Performance tracking is not detailed
|Each panel contributes independently |
Easy location of faulty panels
Very accurate tracking of system performance
|Repairs||Simple to service or repair as on-ground||Service or repair personnel need to get on the roof|
Our String & Micro Inverter Suppliers
A hybrid inverter (also called a multimode inverter) comes into play if you add a battery bank to your solar system. It acts as an intersection between your solar panels, your home, your battery and the electricity grid (unless you have an off-grid system), simultaneously managing inputs from all sides. Depending on its settings as to which is more economical (i.e. due to peak electricity prices) or preferred (i.e. due to lifestyle patterns), hybrid inverters charge your battery bank from either your solar panels or the electricity grid.
With the reduction of solar feed-in tariffs around the country, a hybrid system will enable you to get maximum power out of your solar PV system and thereby reducing the amount of electricity you purchase from utilities.
There are several pros and cons to hybrid inverters, so make sure you do your research and get advice before making your purchasing decision!
|Advantages of hybrid inverters||Disadvantages of hybrid inverters|
|Simple, compact inverter solution for grid-connected solar systems that include storage||Offer less design flexibility than modular solutions which use separate PV and battery inverters|
|Can be programmed to maximize overall system efficiency and cost savings||Generally slightly less efficient than dedicated solar-only or battery-only inverters|
|Can usually be installed without batteries for future expansion|
|Proven history in off-grid and stand-alone solar power systems|
Our Hybrid Inverter Suppliers
An off-grid inverter is the right choice if your solar system will have battery backup and no connection to the grid, for example in remote areas. The off-grid inverter acts as an interface between your solar panels, your battery, your home and possibly a backup generator, simultaneously managing inputs from all sides.
Off-grid inverters are also responsible for:
- Converting DC current produced by your solar panels to AC current used in your home.
- Managing battery charging.
- Controlling the backup generator if there is one.
- Ensuring that the maximum amount of electricity is extracted from your solar panels. This is also known as Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) – a digital charge control function which maximizes power output from your solar panels at any point in time which is particularly effective during low light level conditions.
- Allowing you to monitor your solar system via wifi, Bluetooth or on its display.
Our suppliers for Off-grid Inverters
If you are looking at building a large-scale solar project on a commercial or utility scale, GEM Energy can help you choose the right central inverter for the job.
Our top suppliers have a vast range of inverters suitable for all project sizes.
Our suppliers for Central Inverters
GEM Energy’s Evaluation
At GEM Energy, we stick to only a handful of inverters for domestic installations.
Our go-to inverter for any situation is the Fronius, closely followed by SolarEdge, SMA, and ABB. These inverters hold the top spots in the world for grid-connected inverters, and it is mainly personal opinion that separates them.
SunGrow and SolaX are the only inverters manufactured in China that we will put our name to.
For commercial installations, we usually go with Fronius or SolarEdge. Fronius inverters are easily serviceable on-site and carry a great warranty, so we just love their products.
SolarEdge inverters give you excellent output through their amazing power optimization feature.
Whatever inverter you choose you can be sure that your money is going towards a safe investment. We have only replaced a handful of inverters in the last twelve months giving us less than 0.5% failure rate. They offer unmatched performance and reliability.
What our customers say about us
…it wasn’t until we met with GEM Energy Australia that we were confident we were dealing with a compay that had the expertise to get the job done.Phil Sellwood