Solar panels are a fairly familiar concept, but inverters are a little more foreign. They are the second most important element in a rooftop solar array. They convert raw direct current (DC) power collected by panels into alternating current (AC) power you can use.
There are two main kinds of inverters: string inverters and multilevel power electronics (MLPEs). The MLPEs can be broken down into microinverters and power optimizers. String inverters connect to all the solar panels. MLPEs connect to each individual panel. If you'd like to learn more about solar inverters, check out our guide here.
Pick My Solar customers chose all of these kinds of inverters in 2017. Here are their top inverter picks by brand:
1. SolarEdge – The Top Solar Inverter Pick of 2017
SolarEdge specializes in power optimizers that are used in conjunction with their string inverters. A power optimizer is installed with each solar panel, so that each panel can operate and generate independently.
However, the DC power isn’t converted to AC power on-site with each panel. The current is sent to a central inverter where it’s converted for home use.
SolarEdge, a global leader in these inverters, offers warranties of from 12 to 25 years. It’s no wonder Pick My Solar customers love them too.
2. Enphase – The No. 2 Solar Inverter Pick of 2017
Enphase specializes in microinverters, which are installed along with each solar panel. Sometimes these small inverters are attached, and sometimes they’ve been built into the solar panel itself. Enphase microinverters are discreetly tucked beneath each panel.
The main difference here is that microinverters actually convert the DC power into AC power on-site, beneath each solar panel. Since each panel is generating and converting electricity independently, if one microinverter goes out, the rest of the system will continue producing.
This top U.S. microinverter company offers a 25-year warranty, which can be paired with a large variety of solar panel brands.
3. SunPower AC – The No.3 Solar Inverter Pick of 2017
The third-favorite inverter is by SunPower. These microinverters are built into each individual SunPower panel as part of its complete system.
These are reliable and efficient inverters that can streamline the solar installation and repair processes for installers. If you choose SunPower’s whole package – solar panels with built-in inverters and mounting frames, etc. – it could keep things simple for you.
SunPower offers a complete 25-year warranty covering the entire system. With all your warranties in one place, rather than spread out among several companies, any issues can be addressed in a centralized way. Of course, this does limit your options of solar panel models from other brands.
More About the Best Solar Inverters for Your Home
There are pros and cons for each type of inverter, and some are better suited to certain solar panel systems. Connect with one of our energy advisors today to learn more in-depth information about which inverter might serve your home best.