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Does solar inverter re-sizing improve your solar panel efficiency?

The efficiency of the system is the key factor in ensuring the best use of your device. Whether it is your battery, panel, or inverter, each of them has its own efficiency rate. The efficiency of the inverter is totally dependent on the efficiency of the solar panel that has been installed. An inverter converts the AC i.e. Alternating Current from the solar panel to DC i.e. Direct Current. According to the Clean Energy Council, the capacity of the inverter can be extended to 33 %. We can attain this by storing the excess energy in batteries.

Most of the inverters will be working optimally in a specific power window. If the input i.e. the energy generated as AC from the panels fluctuates, so will the energy produced as DC i.e. output from the inverter. This power outage could harm your inverter. However, your solar photovoltaic installation can be used in such a way as to regulate its efficiency. This is executed by re-sizing the inverter.

There are two ways in which you can resize your inverter.

1. Over-sizing the inverter

For every installment, there are many aspects and calculations that go hand in hand. A number of factors, such as the size of your roof, your system size, the orientation of the panels, the need and requirements are necessary factors that impact the efficiency. There are several other factors like climatic conditions and the location of the panels which could also influence the solar panels that you have installed. Despite all your calculations, to maximise your energy generation, over-sizing the inverter is a viable option. 

So, what is over-sizing? Say for example, you have invested in additional number of panels and they yield more power than the inverter can hold. This means that you are over-sizing. The ideal way is to use a similar wattage panel and inverter or a slightly higher-capacity panel and inverter. Over-sizing could be used in the future if your energy consumption has elevated in the last few years and you have no more space to install more panels you could buy a bigger inverter to store them or even include a battery. Inverters have specifications about the amount of power they can handle. Surpassing the limitation will only exhaust it additionally and induce strain. Only a professional will know how well to pull an elastic to not break it but to pull it just the right amount to attain maximum efficiency. So, when over-sizing your inverter, always seek recommendation from an skilled solar panel installer. Even though it is not recommended, it is useful for several unique circumstances. 

2. Under-sizing the inverter

If you reduce the size of your inverter i.e. under-size it, the maximum power output (in kW) of your system will be determined by its size. Which means no matter how much power flows through the system, the inverter always receives the rated capacity for it. The surplus output that will be generated from the solar panels will be shunted. 

When should you under-size? The process of under-sizing an inverter is also called ‘overclocking’. Say you have less sunlight in your area, or the orientation of the panels doesn’t pick up enough light rays, or perhaps there is climate change. This process will ensure the existing panels and their conditions are in proper shape. This process is commonly used by many solar panel installers in Australia. 

In the mid afternoon, there is peak sunlight. The energy output during this time is indeed very high. The maximum power that is generated from the solar panel will be clocked back to the output of the inverter. Well, you end up with gains in power. A small inverter, when there is a lower direct current, will switch on and off much sooner. It will also tend to function more efficiently with lower DC inputs. This will result in additional energy being produced in the early morning and late afternoon.

Finally, is solar inverter under-sizing or over-sizing recommended in Australia? In unique cases yes. Every panel installation comes with its own challenges. Always make sure to consult with your solar panel retailer and find all the answers to any questions you might have.

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