Looking for a Tier 1 Solar Inverter? Sorry, no such beast!

sma inverter

A good inverter is essential in the Australian sun.

Picking great inverters; Tier 1, 2 or 3?

Savvy solar customers are quickly realising that there is a very real difference between the quality of products and services you can find in the solar industry.

As a general rule, the old adage “you get what you pay for” generally holds true but the plethora of offers and solar companies can make selection tricky. Here at SolarQuotes I’ve helped make this choice a little easier by developing its own ranking system for installation companies.

But how do you choose a great inverter? [Read more…]

3 Phase Solar Wars : The Menace of Phantom Imports.

soalr wars

May the (electromotive) force be with you!

 

I’m thinking of writing a screenplay. The movie’s name is “3-Phase Solar Wars : The Phantom Imports”. Here’s the opening scene:

“Quite soon in the future, in a suburb not very far away….

 

It is a period of civil war. Solar owners, striking from over a million rooftops, have won their first victory against the evil Electricity Empire.

 

During the battle, these plucky rebel homeowners managed to get their electricity bills down so low that they are on the cusp of destroying an entire electricity retail industry.

 

But now the Empire’s sinister agents have a plan:

 

[Read more…]

SA Power Networks’ Shonky Voltages Causing Headaches For Adelaide Solar Owners

Most solar inverters will shut down at 257V.

Most solar inverters will shut down at 257V.

I’m getting reports that lots of solar owners in Adelaide have seen their inverters shut down over Christmas.

No, the inverters are not taking a break to eat mince pies and open their presents – they are shutting down because the grid voltage seems to be regularly going higher than 257V. Many inverters are designed to shut down when the grid gets this high, in order to protect the inverter electronics.

According to the Australian Standard (AS 60038-2012), the grid should be kept at 230V -6% / + 10%. So the highest it should get is 253V. [Read more…]

Solarmax Inverter Bankruptcy: What it means for Solarmax owners.

solarmax logo

Solarmax have gone bust.

Bad news for fans of Solarmax inverters as its parent company, Sputnik Engineering, has just filed for insolvency.

Solarmax are a 20 year old Swiss inverter manufacturer who made fantastic quality inverters at a great price. It seems, with hindsight, that the price was a little too great!

If you were considering buying a Solarmax, then you should probably change brands so that your warranty is with a solvent manufacturer. Go for a big brand like SMA, Fronius, Sungrow, ABB, Zeversolar, Delta, Enphase or Solarbridge (feel free to leave any big brands I’ve missed out in the comments!)

If you already have a Solarmax on your home, then don’t panic! [Read more…]

Are micro inverters & battery backup compatible?

3 microinverters and 2 batteries

Can you combine micro inverters with batteries? Yes you can!

Can you use a micro inverter off grid? Or even for grid connect with batteries?

With the growth in the use of micro inverters, I’m starting to get more and more emails asking: can micro inverters be used in off grid (or hybrid) solar power systems? [Read more…]

Discover How Micro Inverter Solar Panels Cope With Shade

As a true solar geek, I can’t think of anything better to do at 7:30 on a Friday evening, than log in to my solar panel monitoring system.  While most folks are settling down to Friday Night Footy, you’ll find me checking out how much power my 6kW of micro inverter solar panels are producing as the last rays of evening sun scatter across my roof.

As I logged in tonight to see a respectable 1.2kW being pumped out, I noticed that the monitoring system was providing a great example of one of the benefits of microinverter technology.

If you have a gander at the live monitoring screenshot below you’ll see that I’ve highlighted the position of my wood burner’s flue and the approximate shadow it casts as the sun goes down.

solar panel monitoring

The red circle is my flue. I’ve drawn on its 7:30pm shadow.

[Read more…]

Micro Inverters vs. String Inverters [infographic]

I’ve had a lot of people ask me about the pros and cons of microinverters recently.  I have written a long and detailed description of microinverters, but for those who would rather learn about them without ploughing through 1000 words of my ramblings (and who can blame you!) I created this infographic about micro inverters vs string inverters. Hope you like it 🙂

microinverters pros and cons - infographic

Micro inverters vs. String Inverters (AKA Central Inverters)

 

 

Embed This Image On Your Site (copy code below):

Are Microinverters Worth It? Well, I’m loving mine so far…

tindo microinverter monitoring

On 26th Nov my microinverter monitoring showed 45kWh generated. Woo Hoo!

Microinverters… In my experience, Aussie solar installers either love ’em or hate ’em. Seriously! I honestly don’t think I’ve talked to an installer that is indifferent to them.

[Read more…]

Solar Inverter Sizing: Don’t violate the new CEC guidelines!

solar inverter and panels

How many panels can you connect to your inverter?

It is common practice, when designing a solar system, to ‘undersize’ the solar inverter, by connecting more panels than the inverter appears to be rated for.

This can freak out some solar customers when they see, for example 3.25kW of panels proposed to be connected to a 3kW inverter in their solar quote.

Confused?

Let me explain the nuances of solar inverter sizing… [Read more…]

Solar energy: has the smart money seen the light?

cash and solar panels

Follow the money…

The big news in solar energy this week was the acquisition of Power-One — manufacturers of the fable Aurora Inverters — by the Swiss energy giant the ABB Group for one billion dollars. For those among us who will never see $1,000,000,000, to give you an idea of its worth, its about half of what celebrity Oprah Winfrey charged for her recent Australian appearance. [Read more…]

GET THE SOLARQUOTES WEEKLY NEWSLETTER