How Long do Solar Inverters Last?

If you are currently considering going solar, then it is important to know and understand the various components of solar equipment. Solar panels and batteries are not the only devices you should be thinking about when you are looking to install a solar panel. If you didn’t know, solar inverters play a significant role in the overall functionality of your solar system.

The type of solar inverter you have will determine the precise lifespan. The lifespan of early solar inverters will be between 10-15 years. Recent technology has been able to make them last much longer with manufacturer warranties lasting closer to 25 years.

In this article, I’ll discuss the various kinds of solar inverters along with their pros and cons. I’ll also discuss solar charger inverter controllers and their pros and cons. Finally, I’ll point out some popular grid-tied solar inverters that are getting great reviews and could get the job done for your system.

What Are Solar Panel Inverters?

A solar inverter is a component that converts the electrical energy that your solar panels collect from direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC). It is arguably the hardest working component of your solar system. Its primary function is to convert DC collected by your panels into AC your home uses to power your various appliances.

What’s more, solar inverters also perform other vital functions, including grid communication, voltage tracking, and emergency shutoff.

Solar panels continually track your solar equipment’s voltage to figure out the maximum power at which your solar panels operate, to ensure the system collects and uses the most and the cleanest energy at all times.

It is also imperative to note that your solar inverter needs to interface with the grid. Inverters guarantee that, in the event of a power outage, no electrical energy from your solar panels winds up making out to the transmission lines near your home. This enhances the safety of those who may be troubleshooting electrical cables, preventing them from getting zapped.

Inverters will also shut down automatically when they detect a potentially dangerous electrical arc, which is caused by either material degradation or system aging within your home’s solar panels and wiring.

What Are The Types of Solar Inverters?

Solar String Inverters

These are arguably the most common type of inverter used in residential homes. It is important to mention that string inverters have been around for a long time and are equally great for commercial purposes.

Just as the name suggests, numerous strings from the solar panels are connected to the inverters, and the DC electricity generated by them is transformed into alternating current. When your panels produce electrical energy, all this energy gets transferred to a single inverter, which is usually located in your basement or garage. A string inverter will convert all of the energy from your solar panels into AC for domestic use. They are relatively cheaper and are usually kept in closer proximity to the electricity meter and fuse box.

However, the major problem with string inverters is that if one solar panel either gets damaged or is obstructed with shading, the other connected panels will also be compromised, and this implies that the overall efficiency will drop to a significant amount. What’s more, there is less scope to increase the number of solar panels if you need to.

Solar Microinverter

Microinverters perform the same function as their string inverter counterparts, except that they are installed underneath each solar panel on your roof. The main difference between string inverters and microinverters is that a solar panel installation involving the latter will typically feature the same number of microinverters as the solar panels.

It is imperative to note that microinverters were introduced on the market to help solve system performance problems caused by damage to the solar equipment, shade, or excessive bird poop. These types of inverters perform the task of converting DC to AC at the back of each solar panel.

While solar micro inverters are fairly more expensive, they allow for easy system expansion than string inverters. However, when one of them fails for whatever reason, it can be quite difficult to work on the unit because the technician will have to access the roof as well as the back of the solar collector to examine the system.

Solar Hybrid Inverters

These are highly versatile and multi-mode inverters that involve the installation of a battery as well as the set-up of the inverters. In terms of functionality, not only do these inverters provide DC power to the battery, but also offer power to the grid together with your home’s electrical devices and appliances in the form of alternating current.

Simply put, hybrid inverters can convert DC power generated by your power panels to AC for home use, and can also convert AC electricity from the grid to direct current to charge your battery.

It is also important to note that hybrid inverters usually come equipped with charge controllers that smartly detect when to direct solar power to your home circuits, batteries, or the grid, or pull electricity from the grid to charge your batteries.

How Long do Solar Inverters Last?

Studies have proven that the average lifespan of string inverters is between 10 and 15 years. Of course, some can last fairly long, especially if installed in cool, highly-ventilated locations out of direct sunlight. On the other hand, microinverters as well hybrid inverters are somewhat newer technologies that are expected to serve their owners for a fairly long period. Manufacturers expect them to last more than their 20-25-year warranties.

Grid-tied Vs Non-grid tied Solar Inverters

Inverters are available in off-grid and grid-tied formats. Let us briefly examine each of them:

Off-grid Inverters

Just as the name suggests, off-grid inverters are standalone devices that work alone and are not synchronized with the grid. And because they are not connected to the electricity grid, they require battery storage.

Off-grid solar units need to be designed in such a manner that they can generate sufficient electrical energy all year round. What’s more, they should have sufficient battery capacity to meet your home’s energy requirements, even during the colder months when there is generally much less sunlight.

The high cost of batteries used in off-grid inverters simply means the installation of off-grid inverters is relatively more expensive. Thankfully, battery prices have started going down, so there is an increasing market for off-grid solar inverters.

Off-grid inverters have some notable advantages that make them a popular choice among homeowners. Living off the national grid and being self-sufficient is an amazing experience. Off-grid solar systems guarantee self-sufficiency since power outages on the utility grid don’t affect off-grid systems.

On the flip side, batteries can only carry a certain amount of power, and during cloudy times, you’ll likely experience power failure unless you have a backup generator.

Grid-tied Inverters

These are designed to connect to your home to supplement mains electricity. This implies that when there is enough solar energy to use, the system will provide it to your property as needed. And when the power is insufficient, the inverter will automatically revert to grid power. Grid-tied inverters functional holistically with mains power to provide electricity wherever possible.

With grid-tied inverters, the energy you produce is sent into the utility grid. The solar panels in your home feed power into the grid, which is then distributed to other users within your area. In return, you get credited for the amount of power you help generate. And this is how grid-tied inverters can provide power even when the sun goes down.

While off-grid systems guarantee energy self-sufficiency, the batteries and other accessories associated with them can be expensive to purchase and install. On the other hand, you won’t incur anything to store power in the grid.

MPPT Vs PWM Charge Inverter Controllers

Also referred to as a solar charge regulator, a solar charge controller is a device that regulates the charge and discharge processes in your solar power system. The primary function of the charge regulator is to control the charge current from the PV solar panels to the battery to prevent the battery pack from overcharge. There are two main types of solar regulators, including MPPT and PWM solar charge controllers.

MPPT Solar Charge Regulators

MPPT is an acronym for maximum power point tracking. It refers to a technique used to monitor and regulate the output energy from the panel to the battery. The MPPT detects both the panel’s output voltage and current in real-time. It continuously tracks the maximum power, controls the output voltage accordingly so that your solar equipment can always charge your battery with maximum power.

As a second-generation solar charge controller, MPPT features one more inductor and power diode than its PWM charge counterpart, implying that it has a more powerful function. The conversion efficiency of MPPT solar charge controllers is 30% higher than PWM controllers.

Pros of MPPT solar charge controllers

  • Has four-stage charging that is healthier for the battery.
  • Scalable for off-grid power systems.
  • Equipped with multiple protection.
  • Available for solar input up to 200V.
  • Available for solar systems up to 100 Amps.

Cons of MPPT solar charge controllers

  • Are very expensive.
  • Larger size than PWM regulators.

PWM Charge Controllers

These boast a simple structure and design. They consist of a capacitor and a power main switch, as well as a drive and protection circuit. PWM charge controllers feature only one switch that connects the solar array to the battery panel. As the battery charges and the voltage gradually increases, the controller will reduce the amount of power supplied to the battery.

PWM solar charge controllers are the most common, affordable, and easy-to-install charge controller solution for small off-grid power systems. They have mature technology, simple and highly reliable circuit.

Pros of PWM charge controllers

  • PWM regulators feature a simple structure and are cost-effective.
  • Suitable for smaller systems.
  • Less budget for a small project.

Cons of PWM charge controllers

  • Less protection.
  • Low conversion rate.
  • Input voltage must match battery bank voltage.
  • Less load mode.

Now that we’ve covered some of the basics, I want to share some of the best grid-tied solar inverters.

2 Best Grid-tied Solar Inverters


1) XYZ INVT 2000W Inverter Pure Sine Waver Inverter – This is an incredible grid-tied inverter that converts 12v DC to 110v 120v ac at 60Hz frequency. It offers the much-needed convenience, as it can be controlled by a wireless remote from 150ft far away. It boasts an amazing design thanks to its intelligent cooling fans, copper input connectors, intelligent LED display, and aluminum alloy casing.

Features and Benefits:

  • It is a highly versatile device that can be used for camping, RV, car, truck, off-grid solar power system as well as home applications.
  • It is equipped with numerous safety features to offer short circuit protection, high temp protection, surge protection, overload protection, over current protection, Low volt protection, among others.
  • The package comes with one 2000w inverter, wireless remote switch, numerous spare fuses for replacement, and a user’s manual.

Bestek (Editor’s Choice)

2) BESTEK 2000W Power Solar Inverter – As America’s leading solar power inverter brand, Bestek guarantees 2000w continuous DC to AC electrical energy. It is powerful enough to supply sufficient power to AC household appliances as well as large electrical devices such as a camera, DVD player, floodlights, among others.

Features and Benefits

  • Durable and solid: It has a robust aluminum casing that guarantees the best protection against bumps and drops and can withstand the harsh environment.
  • Equipped with safety features: Features built-in six external 50A fuse to protect your electrical appliances from damage. It also has an audible overload, under-voltage, short circuit alarm, and a unique LED light low and high voltage isolated protection.
  • Comes with 4 battery clamps and six pieces of spare replaceable 50 amps fuse for added convenience.

Wrapping up Solar Inverters

Solar inverters are arguably the most sophisticated component of any grid-tie solar power system. It is also the most important part of your solar power system. This is why you want to ensure you get the best inverter that supports your solar energy requirements. Using a solar power system is all tied to reducing our carbon footprint. I hope this information helps you in your efforts to leave the world a better place.

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