What is an inverter?

An inverter converts the direct current (DC) electricity produced into alternating current (AC), which allows you to use the electricity within your home. The two main products which an inverter will be connected to are solar panels and an energy storage device.

What are the different type of inverters?

There are four main types of inverters: string, micro, power optimisers and hybrid.

The below tables will provide you with the pros and cons for each type:

STRING INVERTERS

The most common to be installed with a solar system. They are usually fixed to a wall or mounting board and installed in the attic or loft space.

PROS

CONS

  • It’s the cheapest of the four costing around £500.
  • Ideal for solar system which is not affected by shading.
  • If one panel is affected by shading then it will reduce the performance of the other panels on the same string
  • Will last between 5 and 10 years, so will need replacing during lifetime of solar panels.

MICRO INVERTERS

These are small inverters which are attached to the back of each solar panel.

PROS

CONS

  • If one panel has shading than other panels are not affected
  • If one inverter stops working then system carries on producing
  • Access to online platform
  • Warranty can be up to 20 years
  • More expensive than a string inverter
  • If retrofitted to existing solar system than requires each panel removing

POWER OPTIMISERS

Considered as a hybrid between a string inverter and micro-inverter. Each panel has an optimiser attached to it to increase energy output.

PROS

CONS

  • If one panel has shading, dirt, debris etc than other panels are not affected
  • Built in monitoring to view performance of panels
  • More reliable than a string inverter
  • Safer because you won’t have high voltage DC power on your roof
  • Longer warranty usually 20 or 25 years
  • More expensive than I string inverter
  • If retrofitted to existing solar system than requires each panel removing
  • Best suited for panels with shading

HYBRID INVERTERS

Typically used when you have both solar system and a battery. The hybrid inverter manages both solar and battery simultaneously.

PROS

CONS

  • Only need one inverter to manage both solar system and battery instead of two inverters, saving space
  • Can help maximise usage by storing energy in battery when not required
  • Does not contain a grid isolation device which means it won’t supply power when there is a blackout

How much do
inverters cost?

The cost of an inverter will vary dependant upon when you are purchasing and for what purpose. If you are purchasing it as part of a new solar or battery system then it will come as part of the price. If you are purchasing it for replacing an existing inverter then you would be looking at:

  • String inverter: £500 on average
  • Micro inverters: from £2000
  • Power optimisers: from £2,500
  • Hybrid inverter: from £750

Please note you should ensure that the inverter is the correct size to power your solar system or battery.

Choosing the right type of inverter for your needs

It’s important to choose the inverter which is right for you. Due to the significant difference in the costs you should think what I want the inverter to do. Here are a few simple points to consider:

  • Budget: what is your budget to spend on an inverter?
  • Solar and/or storage: what are you looking to buy now and in the future?
  • Shading: is any part of your solar system affected by shading? Monitoring – would you like to be able to monitor electricity generated etc?
  • Safety: do you have any safety concerns on your roof or where the inverter will be located?

Find an installer

Using a Flexi-Orb member provides you with peace of mind knowing that they have been vetted and provide you with protection mechanisms.

Get in touch

E: info@flexi-orb.com

Centurion House
Leyland Business Park
Centurion Way
Farington
Leyland
PR25 3GR