Over the next few months we will take a look at some of the more commonly used solar panels and solar inverters in Brisbane solar installations and look at the pro’s and con’s of the various brands on offer. Besides the technical merits of panels and inverters, as we have stressed elsewhere on this site, the ongoing support, back-up and claim-ability of warranty are as important when looking at which solar components to go with. Solar companies should quite rightly point out the various features and benefits of their offer, but if you are not confident that after sales support will be available then it could be wise to look at other options. The feedback we get is that if anything is going to fail it is more than likely going to be the solar inverter.
Power Conversion – The Role Of The Inverter
Even with the reliability of modern electronic design practices and manufacturing techniques it is important to realise that inverters fall into the area of electronics known as ‘power conversion’ – meaning that the direct current generated by the solar panels is fed into the inverter and the inverter has to convert the direct current into a sinusoidal waveform and ensure the outputted voltage and phase is compatible with grid supplied a.c. electricity. Complex stuff! Add in features like m.p.p.t. (Maximum power point tracking) and you can begin to understand the complexity of the electronics in a modern inverter. On top of this design complexity inverters have to work with kilowatts of power (dependent on the size of the system) – the enemy of electronic equipment reliability is heat – so the design of the modern day inverters has to take heat-sinking, high efficiency semiconductors and correct manufacturing techniques into account to achieve long term reliability. Given that Brisbane summers can reach 40 degrees Celsius (+) this also means that the invertrs thermal design considerations are very important in ensuring 20+ years of reliability. Think about this when tossing up between a low cost inveter and a recognised ‘brand-name’ inverter with an excellent track record in the Queensland environment. The next article will look at SMA inverters.