Our expert and consumer reviews of the leading brands of residential sized solar inverters show the best solar inverter to suit your home in 2019
The solar inverter is like the control center for your solar system. If you ask anyone that has been in the solar industry for a while, they will tell you the inverter is the most important part of the system. Far more system failures are due to inverter faults than are caused by problems with the solar panels themselves. Initially, most inverters were of the string inverters type, and SMA and Fronius were probably the leading string inverter manufacturers in the world. Then along came micro-inverters that were pioneered by the American company Enphase around 2011 and started to gain traction. Read more
Micro-inverters optimized power at the panel level rather than the array level as string inverters do. Another American brand Solar Edge then further developed the industry with panel level power optimizers. These did not convert the power to AC at the panel level as the Enphase micro-inverters did, but intead achieved much of the same benefit by varying the voltage at each panel to maximize the output current. The power optimizers were able to handle shade and differental roof planes much like a micro-inverter but with less electronics (and thus lower costs and better reliability) on the roof. We here at SolarReviews like power optimizers ver much, but we are also still big fans of Fronius and SMA string inverters.
However, the competition between the technologies may be about to skew heavily in favor of the optimizers and micro-inverters because it may be easier to comply with the new Rapid Shutdown requirement of the 2017 NEC code that will come into play in 2019. The revised rapid-shutdown requirements in 690.12(B)(2) provide three compliance options for reducing hazards within a PV array:
Option 1: List and label or field-label PV array as a rapid-shutdown PV array.
Option 2: Limit control conductors within the array boundary to 80 V or less within 30 seconds of rapid-shutdown initiation.
Option 3: Install nonmetallic PV array with no exposed wiring and array more than 8 feet from any grounded metal parts.
In layman's terms what this means is that from 1 January 2019 it will be a requirement that someone can isolate all connectors in an array externally so that that at no point there is more than 80 V connected. As I understand it, based on my limited technical knowledge, the optimizers and micro-inverters will meet this requirements because they can kill the active power within each panel quickly and effectively.
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I worked at the largest company in my State for 5 years. We almost always installed Enphase Micro Inverters. I also have had them on my house for about 5 years M215). I have never had a problem. I love them. When I read the negative reviews, most are from the older micro inverters, before the M215. I also noticed a few that had the wrong size micro inverter for the solar panel. If a system is not designed correctly, any inverter can have a problem. I also see that a lot of the Solar Contractors have gone out of business. It would be wise to look for a reputable company that can take care of you for many years. I know we had a couple of calls on the older ones (190's) that got replaced. I bought a house in another State that has a central optimizer system and I have had it shut down 5 times in 1 year.... read more
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Good monitoring for a string inverter. I love the emergency back-up for the Florida Hurricanes. Seems like good build quality.
The Primo is a transformerless inverter and the snap inverter design makes it very easy to install. The connection unit bolts to a wall and the inverter hinges into the connection unit and is attached by two screws making the inverter very easy to remove and service. Fronius is the only inverter manufacturer that can replace boards if there is a problem, usually an hour job. It has two maximum power point trackers, so you can have strings facing different directions. It has very low warranty claim rate unlike the IG. The monitoring can be done via wifi or ethernet and is very simple to configure. On Fronius' solar website, you can look at AC volts and amps, DC volts and amps, mppt 1 power, mppt2 power, and total power. If you don't have any shading, definitely go with a string inverter and this is a good one. Less components to fail versus Enphase - inverter behind every panel in an extreme environment.... read more
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After paying $33k in October 2017 for 20 solar panels & inverter & installation, our inverter went bad & needed to be replaced. (We found this out when we got our October 2018 power bill in November 2018. They did replace the inverter, but then we were sent a $200 bill for "gas & travel" for the serviceman to replace the inverter. I called SolarEdge about this several times...only got answering machines, left several messages...no one has returned my calls this far. I was satisfied with them prior to this, and had plans to order more solar panels to be installed to heat my pool. But, since the company will not honor me as a valued customer & return my calls, and I'm seeing the other complaints about the same things, then I certainly will not be a returning customer! Too bad they can't have better Customer Service support!... read more
Very efficient. Long guarantee
What a beefy workhorse. Installed before I moved to new off-grid house.
Again we have had almost five years with no problems. Almost wish we had a problem so the guys would have to come back because they were like family.
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My client purchased an inverter and panels from Solectria Renewables. The panels that came with the inverter are not approved for use in Canada. The panels are made by Shanghai solar. This seems like something you should inform your customers before taking their money.
The Install was easy, I am an IBEW electrician. The system manual is not the easiest to understand. I installed Oct 2018.
Jan 2019 called for tech support. They have started a Web Form Tech Support system. When I completed the form, all fields filled in, the form would not submit. Tried numerous times over two days.
Call my retailer Alt-E and they said they had received numerous complaints about this tech support system and have no real answer to get me connected to Schneider Tech Support.
The Result - as of today, Jan 5, 2019 There is effectively no tech support of Schneider Electric Inverter/Chargers.
Walter in Indiana... read more
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