How closely should the input of an inverter match the output of a solar array?
Posted by Chris Rudge on 18 November 2013 at 10:31 am
Q: How important is it to match the Max DC input of the inverter, to the maximum possible output of the solar array? Some companies have given me quotes where the output/input are miles different.
A: It is standard procedure to install an inverter that is up to 20% lower in power rating than the array. Inverters run at a better efficiency if matched to the input power. The full generation capability of the array is limited by factors such direction of the array, time of year and most importantly, weather!
Because of these factors, the amount of times a year the array will be generating full output is limited in a standard UK climate. If the array is 2kWp and a 2kW inverter is installed the inverter may potentially not even turn on in cloudy conditions. However, if the inverter installed is, say, a 1.5kW type, lower light levels would still generate power.
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Picture: SMA Solar Technology
About the author: Chris Rudge is a qualified electrician who specialises in renewable energy.
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