As an Installer I appreciate that there is often a lot of information to take on board when making a decision to buy solar panels. In brief there are often 2 main components that are discussed; the roof mounted PV kit and the Inverter. The latter is essentially a piece of sophisticated equipment that transforms DC energy generated from the sun into AC electricity, so that it can be used within a property.
This is usually the most expensive piece of the kit, therefore anyone thinking about having a system installed on their house should ensure that they have researched the reputation of the equipment that they are being quoted.
Inverters are available in two main types, as large central string Inverters and Micro Inverters. A standard system would have one central inverter with all of the other solar panels connected into it. Whereas a Solar PV system that uses Micro Inverters would enable each individual solar panel to be independent from the next, minimising the potential harmful effect caused by shading. These systems have a number of potential advantages over conventional systems in terms of system design flexibility, safety and financial yields. Accordingly, such systems are growing in popularity.
Micro inverters typically have no moving parts meaning that they have a much longer life span than conventional Inverters. Most manufacturers provide micro inverters with a 20 year standard warranty compared to 5-10 years of their conventional counterparts.
Standard String Inverters usually consist of 2 separate strings. This means that on a normal 4kW installation comprising of 16 panels, the system will be split into two sets of 8 panels. Whereas Micro systems enable each individual solar panel to be linked in parallel and thus independent from one another minimising the potential negative effects of shading.
An additional advantage is the removal of potentially more dangerous high-voltage DC electricity associated with conventional solar photovoltaic (PV) systems and the use of mainly AC cables.
All micro-inverter installations come with a sophisticated on-line monitoring system which enables the end user and your installer to monitor in detail each Individual solar panel from any location with internet access. The user will be able to monitor live power generated, daily, weekly, monthly and annual power production in detail.
Monitoring is available via an online portal so that the customer has the peace of mind whether on holiday or at home that their solar system is functioning and also the capacity to compare and contrast the performance of each solar panel and also alert of any potential defects.