What is a Solar Panel Inverter?

solar panel inverter

The solar panel inverter is a critical piece of equipment in any rooftop solar system. It changes the direct current electricity that your solar panels produce into a usable form that you can use in your home, or feed back into the grid if you aren’t using all of your energy production.

Inverters convert the DC power from your solar panels to alternating current (AC) that is compatible with most electrical appliances and electronics in the U.S. Without an inverter, that DC electricity wouldn’t be of any use to you at all.

String Inverters

A typical solar panel installation company will install string inverters if your roof doesn’t have too much shade for long periods of time and you don’t face multiple directions or angles to the sun. These inverters are less efficient than microinverters and can’t do as good of a job at optimizing your solar panel output.

They also require more total-system monitoring than microinverters, so you may need to use a third-party software to track your system’s performance.

The Heart of Your Solar System: Understanding the Solar Panel Inverter

Inverter clipping is when your solar panels produce more electricity during mid-day than your inverter can handle. This is because your inverter has a limiting AC output rating that doesn’t match up with the peak production of your solar panels.

Clipping is not a big deal on most days, but it can be problematic on extremely productive days. The good news is that Aurora’s solar design and sales software automatically takes inverter clipping into account, so you can avoid this problem. Additionally, Aurora’s NEC validation report will make sure your solar array is code-compliant and appropriately sized.