A solar panel inverter serves as an inseparable component of the photovoltaic system. Despite the type, it performs the same function of power conversion from DC to AC. As the PV modules generate energy from direct sunshine, this energy is the DC (direct current), which is not suitable for house loads or EV charging. To switch this energy into a useful one, the mentioned device is a must. Depending on the house location and specifications of the requirements, a consumer may find difficulties in proper system installation. By proper installation, I mean one where all the criteria are kept for maximum system efficiency. In a PV system, efficiency is primary since your transition to solar energy consumption will not be justified without it. As a result, we distinguish three types of inverters: string inverters, micro-inverters, and power optimizers. Each has its pros and cons like performance flexibility, high or low price, reliability, and others.
As the annual demand for solar panel installation grows, modern manufacturers evaluate this device to meet all the customers’ needs. To find out what has been changed or evaluated in this field, I have researched the most famous brands that offer their device for solar energy consumption.
We have all known Tesla as a best-seller brand of electric vehicles. It also expanded its range of products with high-quality solar panels and solar shingles. And now that it has already strengthened its position in solar markets, the company has integrated into the production of solar inverters as well. Although new as a manufacturer of this device, it has undoubtedly previously proven its products’ quality. Like many other solar panel companies that have stepped into a more versatile ecosystem, Tesla launched this product permanently in line with its competitors. The Tesla team’s new device comes in two versions – the 3.8kW version with two maximum power point trackers and the 7.6kW version with four MPPTs. To feel the difference, just note that an average 10kW inverter has only two MPPTs. Although Tesla claims that its product’s efficiency is 97.5 percent, it appears to be a bit below compared to the market’s leading brands so far. Based on the U.S security demands for solar energy maintenance, the Tesla product comes with the capacity of a rapid shutdown and ground-fault and arc-fault protection. As modern inverters’ logic demands power monitoring and remote control, this inverter is designed as a perfect component in the suite of Tesla Powerwall and Tesla App to perform the mentioned functions. Since the devices manufactured by the same vendor tend to integrate easily with one another both on software and hardware levels, this new product is sure to interest Tesla Inc. customers first or those who plan to purchase the Tesla solar panel system.
Darfon is currently launching a new power monitoring app for its hybrid inverters. The device software’s new upgrade is designed to be aesthetically more pleasing, with a user-friendly display and easy functionality. This version has more flexible connectivity options that enable the device to connect to the internet via Wi-Fi, LAN and 4G cellular connection. Darfon’s H5001 inverter is another of its upgrades that I would like to speak about. This product’s uniqueness is that it is readily available to serve both as a string inverter and as a storage battery. Since the battery takes a tangible place in overall price of the solar panel kit, it is quite suitable and more affordable to purchase a two-in-one electronic device to manage your expenses. With two maximum power point trackers (MPPT), it is SGIP (Self-Generation Incentive Program) compliant. Compatible with different battery chemistries, the PV operation voltage ranges between 120 – 500DC. The device’s output to Grid is 5000W; meanwhile, the output to load is 5500W. The availability of a power storage battery included in this device solves the issue of purchasing a separate battery.
My next brand to come is CPS which has shipped more than 4-GW of UL-listed string inverters in North America. This year, the company launches a new string inverter production with 100kW-480Vac optimized for 1500Vdc ground mount applications with 480Vac service voltage. This model includes all the most outstanding features of the 100/125kW 3-phase inverter platform with low-cost 480Vac interconnections, excluding a step-down transformer requirement. Another version of string inverter with 275kW high power is also coming in 2021. This 3-phase string inverter is designed for ground-mounted large utility applications. With touch-safe DC fuse holders, this high-efficiency solar inverter has a NEMA Type 4X enclosure, wide operating voltages and a total power capacity of up to 420C. With integrated DC disconnect switches, it has 12 MPPTs with 36 fused inputs that ensure the device’s maximum flexibility and optimized system performance. A comprehensive operating and maximum power point tracker is designed for large-scale solar panel plants.
Let’s move from large-scale solar plants to residential systems. 2021 is a promising year for SMA America since it has already sold over 1 gigawatt of Sunny Central Storage inverters in North America. Therefore, it is currently doubling its sales and applications support to evaluate business capacity and expand its participation in global projects. A closer look at the residential SMA Sunny Boy inverters shows several flexible capacities and updates. Hence, it has integrated ShadeFix technology and rapid shutdown certified transmitters from SunSpec. The mentioned combination produces more energy in comparison to traditional optimizers. ShadeFix optimizes solar panel kits’ energy power generation despite inappropriate weather conditions, such as shading. In conclusion, SMA inverters have a more straightforward design and installation, fast service due to intelligent connectivity, more reliability, and produce more energy than average DC optimizers.
This list of brands can be continued. As you can see, the modern manufacturers of a PV system and attaching devices are permanently evaluating to maintain their positions in the renewable energy industry. Many Solar panel companies release new upgrades on hardware and software to expand the scope of sale for their production with the benefit of their business.
Author of a publication: Helen Kocharyan