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 subboard. 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 due to potential humming noises and electromagnetic waves.
How do I find the best place to install my solar inverter?
Before we answer this question, we must explain that there are three types of inverter solutions. These are string inverters, inverters with optimisers, and microinverters. For each inverter, there is a different install method.
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 very 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.
Inverters with optimisers
Solaredge offers such a solution. However, the optimisers, like microinverters, are installed behind the panel, limiting the available installation locations. The Solar Edge inverter’s location information resembles the string inverter information below.
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 place to install your inverter.
Many owners don’t understand that the 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 place 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.
A hot inverter can also see its efficiency drop, meaning you lose valuable electricity generation due to choosing the wrong installation position.
From a cabling point of view, the best place to install your inverter should be close to the meter board. But sometimes, such a spot is right in the sun. 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 subboard with circuit breakers connected to the circuits in your home. You can connect the subboard to the solar inverter just as you connect it to the main switchboard, which is typically where you read the meters.
Suppose there is no garage. We suggest installing a southerly wall as the 1st option (in Australia and NZ – not in Europe) 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 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.
So what is the best place to install my inverter?
Choose a shaded or cool spot as the best string inverter installation 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 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. Some inverter models can emit some fan or relay noise during the day
- There are rules as to the minimum and maximum height. For example, it must be a minimum of 90cm above the ground to reduce the risk of flood damage.