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Match your inverter with the size of your solar power system to achieve maximum efficiency

Francisco CastroJune 7, 20191000


After you decide on a company to do the installation of your solar panel, a representative from the business will come to your house to conduct an inspection of your roof and to evaluate your electricity needs. He/she will look at your annual power consumption, your utility bills and the appliances and electronics that dependent on it.

The right solar system for your home is one that can cover, if not all, most of your electricity needs. While you won’t be powering your home entirely with solar if you’re still tied to the grid, it is important that it generates enough power to keep lights and electronics on during daytime hours.

To find the appropriate size of solar array for your home or business, simply access the Hahasmart price checker. Provide your address and monthly electric costs and you will get an estimated price of the panels and inverter - the most expensive parts of a solar energy system. They’ll also provide you with an estimate for the cost of installation based on thousands of completed solar projects in your area. All you have to do is provide your address and your average monthly utility bill.

They’ll even provide you with an estimated buyback period, the point where the electricity savings cover the purchase of your residential solar panels and your system becomes free.
In addition, they’ll connect you with their installer network to get your residence equipped with solar power as possible.  

Inverter

And just as important as to properly size your home solar energy system, it is equally vital that the inverter included with the equipment is efficient enough to handle the power generated by it.

In fact, the efficiency of the inverter drives the efficiency of a solar power system because they are the ones that convert direct current (DC) that is produced by the solar panels into alternating current (AC), which is used by your appliances. 

So the recommendation of experts is that the inverter should be the same as the maximum output of your solar array. It’s like trying to contain a liquid using an appropriately sized bottle. You need to have something in which to put that liquid that is the same size or larger.

For example, if you have a 5 kW home solar energy system, your inverter should be of that size as well, or larger because nothing is 100% efficient.

An inverter that doesn’t match your solar array efficiency could pose problems.

Under-sizing your inverter

For example, if you decide to buy a smaller inverter to save money, you will be “clipping” your solar output. In other words, regardless of the total output of the solar panels, the power will be reduced by the inverter so that it doesn’t exceed its capacity.

The inverter will increase the DC operating voltage, pulling the modules off of their max power point, until the modules’ DC power is within the inverter’s operating range. 

Going back to the analogy of a bottle, your inverter will “spill” all the other power it can not sustain. 

That’s money that you’re losing because you’re shortchanging the savings you get when your solar panels are working at its maximum. It’s less energy you’ll get for your appliances and less electricity you can send to the grid.

However, there are reasons to get a smaller-sized inverter.

Your installer may suggest an undersized inverter if they determine that the amount of incident solar irradiation (sunlight) on your panels will be lower than expected – because of

your location & climate, the orientation of your panels, or other factors.

The rule of thumb for inverter undersizing is that solar panel capacity should not be more than roughly 30% greater than inverter capacity –  for example, no greater than 6.5kW worth of solar panels for a 5kW inverter. 

For your individual situation, it’s best to consult with your solar installer. 

Over-sizing your inverter

On the other hand, you don’t want an inverter that is too powerful for the amount of energy generated by your domestic solar power system. Although inverters are generally designed to handle lower power inputs than their nominal capacity, there are limits to this. 

This might be a good option, however, if you’re planning to expand your solar array in the future.

But oversizing the inverter may negatively affect its power production, says inverter manufacturer Solaredge: inverters are designed to generate output power up to a maximum AC power that cannot be exceeded, and they limit (clip) the power when the actual produced DC power is higher than what the inverter can output. This results in loss of energy.

Oversizing also causes the inverter to operate at high power for longer periods, thus affecting its lifetime. Operating at higher power also increases inverter heating and may heat its surroundings. Inverters will reduce their peak power generation in case of overheating

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