Solar Panels & Inverters Explained

Adrienne SorensenOctober 3, 20188160

Solar Panels & Inverters Explained

Understanding various panels and inverters is a way to know what you need and want in a residential panel system. If you read this article, you will have a better understanding of solar panels and how to determine what type of inverter you need.


There are over 100 different panel brands, too many for most people to try and analyze. The good news is that solar panels are all pretty standard, with very minor variations across brands. If two panels have the same power rating, they should both function the same, despite the cost.


The biggest variations in solar panel costs have more to do with brand popularity than the actual quality of solar panels. If you want to analyze panels brands and models in depth, you can compare them based on efficiency, durability, warranty, and visual appeal. Keep in mind that though you will pay more for higher efficiency solar panels, you only need to worry about maximizing efficiency if your roof space is limited.


Deciding the right power inverter is vital to the performance of your solar powered system. A good inverter can mean a difference of up to 20 percent in your system’s production. Inverters convert the DC electricity created by solar panels to alternating current (AC) electricity, which is the type used by your home.


String Inverters

They convert electricity from several panels in a string. These have traditionally been the most economical, but prices are now leveling out. These are not as shade-tolerant and don’t let you monitor each panel’s performance, so they’re best if your roof has full sun all day.


Any problems with one panel will impact the entire string since string inverters essentially treat a group of panels as if they were a single large panel.

Micro Inverters

They convert electricity from one panel. This can be a good choice if you have any shading. If one or two panels are shaded at any time, the rest of your panels will still keep producing. Most microinverters allow panel-level monitoring. Microinverters can be more complex and expensive to install because they must be installed in tandem with individual panels.


Hybrid Inverters

Hybrid inverters vary in size, performance and features. Hybrid models typically function bi-directionally, converting DC power from modules to usable AC power and then converting stored AC from the batteries to power loads when needed. Hybrids can be grid-connected and use a mix of renewable and non-renewable energy to charge batteries and offset loads.

These specialized inverters are used in the residential, remote home applications for about twenty years. The range of applications has expanded overtime to include big capacity microgrids and grid-connected systems. In the past, they’ve been used in developing countries that don’t have a dependable network.

If you want to move into the future and join the solar revolution, or if you want to find out what solar panels are right for you, go to and try our price checker tool. You can see how much a system will cost, and how much you can save over the next 20 years. For more information relating to going solar, don't forget to visit our solar blog section for more handy guides and articles.

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