The best location for your inverter

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The location of a solar inverter is important because it affects the amount of power that can be generated and the lifespan of the inverter. Therefore, it is recommended that solar inverters be installed away from direct sunlight to prevent overheating and reduced efficiency.

The inverter should also be close to the meter board or a circuit breaker sub board. The best installation spots include inside a garage, on a southerly wall, or an easterly wall. Installing the inverter inside a home is not recommended because of potential humming noises and electromagnetic waves.

How do I find the best location to install my solar inverter?

When setting up a solar panel system, you have three main types of inverters: String inverters, Inverters with optimisers, and Microinverters.

  • String inverters are a budget-friendly option where several solar panels are connected in a series to a central inverter.
  • Inverters with optimisers make each panel work better by adding optimisers to manage their performance. These are connected to a central inverter, boosting the system’s efficiency and allowing you to keep an eye on each panel’s performance.
  • Microinverters are put directly on each solar panel, making each one work independently. This helps the system perform well even if some panels are shaded or not working correctly.

Your choice depends on your budget and what you need from your solar setup. Understanding these options can help you pick the right inverter for your solar power system.

Microinverters

These inverter solutions have a limited choice of locations to install since they are usually required on the back of solar panels on the roof itself.

Microinverters such as Enphase work by typically operating 1-2 panels, thus needing to be located extremely close to the panels. One tip is to choose a position on the back of the panel that decreases the chance for moisture to affect the microinverter. While waterproof, one would not recommend placing one close to a roof gully. This is where water will flow down and permanently leak onto the microinverter.

Enphase microinverter being held in hand

Inverters with power optimisers

SolarEdge inverters unique solar solution uses optimisers placed behind panels for better energy production. Unlike microinverters, this setup has some limits on where you can install it. To get the best performance, it’s important to place SolarEdge inverters strategically, similar to string inverters.

Location information matter for SolarEdge inverters, as they convert DC power from solar panels into usable AC power. Placing the inverters where they receive enough air to stay cool, and also protecting them from direct sunlight and bad weather is crucial for reliable performance.

In simple terms, for your SolarEdge inverter system to work well for a long time, make sure it has enough ventilation, is shielded from the sun and tough weather. This way, you get the most out of your solar setup for efficient and sustainable energy production.

String inverters

The solar string inverter is a vital component of your solar system which converts the DC energy into AC energy that your home appliances can use. This then raises the question of the best location for your inverter.

Many owners don’t understand that the best location of their inverter is critical. This is because it determines the amount of power that can be generated. As well as is closely related to user safety and the overall lifespan of the inverter.

Modern solar string inverters are usually at an IP 65 waterproof rating. This means they can be installed anywhere outside. Nevertheless, most solar inverter manufacturers recommend that the best location to install your inverter is away from direct sunlight. The reason is that the solar inverter generates heat to convert DC Power to AC Power.

On a hot day, inverters naturally generate more electricity, causing them to work harder and produce more heat. If direct, hot sunlight fully exposes the inverter, it can become scorching hot and significantly shorten the unit’s lifespan by several years. In some inverter models, the wrong installation position could create issues when claiming the warranty.

A hot inverter can also see its efficiency drop, meaning you lose valuable electricity generation because of choosing the wrong installation position.

From a cabling point of view, the best location for your inverter should be close to the meter board. Placing a little solar shade cover on top of your inverter may be an appropriate outdoor solution in such a case to avoid the inverter getting overheated.

An even better installation spot 

Installing the inverter inside, like on a garage wall – opposite the meter box is ideal. Not only is the inverter protected from the elements, but it also only requires a short cable run. This makes the installation efficient. Long cable runs will result in higher resistance to the electron flow and will therefore see a loss of generated and harvested power.

Another good option is to place it in the garage, near a sub board with circuit breakers connected to the circuits in your home. You can connect the sub board to the solar inverter just as you connect it to the main switchboard.

Suppose there is no garage, we suggest installing a southerly wall as the first option and an easterly wall as an alternative. Avoid Northerly or Westerly walls, as the afternoon sun will bake the solar inverter.

We never recommend the solar inverter be installed inside the home. This is because it sometimes can give off humming noises and cause electromagnetic waves or fan noises, which can disturb a home environment, making this not one of the worst installation spots.

inverter in a bedroom

So what is the best location for my inverter?

Choose a shaded or cool spot as the best string inverter location spot. For example, placing the inverter under an awning or overhanging roof will allow more protection from direct sun and rain. In addition, keeping your inverter from being exposed to natural/direct weather ensures the longevity of your solar panel system.

  • Make sure that it is an accessible location;
  • There should be no sources of moisture nearby;
  • Make sure that it is avoiding sunlight as much as possible;
  • Try to install in an area that avoids all adverse weather conditions;
  • There should be ventilation space of at least 150 mm beside, above, and below the unit;
  • Stay away from the windows of the bedrooms as some inverter models can emit some fan or relay noise during the day
  • Rules exist regarding the minimum and maximum height. For example, it must be a minimum of 90cm above the ground to reduce the risk of flood damage.
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