solar inverter types
Solar Inverter Types
There are many different inverters available for solar and energy storage systems, but here we list the four most common types used for rooftop solar.
String Solar Inverters
This review is focused on common ‘string’ solar inverters which are the most popular type of solar inverter. These inverters are connected to a string of solar panels linked together in series. String inverters are the most common type of inverter used in the UK, Europe, Australia, & Asia, and are growing in popularity in the US where micro inverters are very popular.
Hybrid inverters sometimes referred to as battery-ready inverters, are similar to string solar inverters but enable the direct connection of a battery storage system to allow greater self-sufficiency using solar. Most hybrid inverters also provide a basic level of backup power in the event of a blackout but are generally not designed for continuous off-grid use. While more expensive, hybrid inverters are becoming more cost-competitive against solar inverters as hybrid inverter technology advances and batteries become cheaper and more appealing.
Off-grid or stand-alone power systems generally require much more powerful battery inverters with inbuilt chargers, which can be set up as either AC or DC coupled solar systems. Modern, flexible off-grid inverter-chargers, also known as multi-mode inverters, can also be used to create advanced hybrid grid-connected systems. See the best off-grid solar systems review for more information.
Small scale and DIY off-grid systems use simple MPPT solar charge controllers, also known as solar regulators. These are not inverters, but DC solar battery chargers connected between the solar panel/s and battery to regulate the battery charging process and ensure the battery is charged correctly, or more importantly, not over-charged.
Micro inverters, also known as micros are very small solar inverters attached directly to individual solar panels. Since each micro inverter and panel operate independently, they are a great option for complex roof layouts and locations with shading. Despite the slightly higher cost, micros are very popular in North America due to Enphase’s strong presence and they are becoming more popular around the world due to the several advantages they offer over string solar inverters.