solar inverters cost

How Much Do Solar Inverters Cost?

Solar inverter is an important component of the solar system, having a major role in converting DC (Direct Current) obtained through solar panels to AC (Alternating Current). Hence, this AC is used in most household appliances and other equipment or can be fed back into the grid.

Usually, solar inverters cost vary from $500 to $2000, depending on their type and capacity. Also, an inverter is known as the brain of the solar system because of its essential functioning in the system’s operation.

Further, let us discuss the different types of solar inverters and the average cost of solar inverters. Most importantly, you must know the factors influencing the cost of solar inverters and the additional costs to consider.

Types of Solar Inverters

There are different types of solar inverters and each of them possesses its unique characteristics and applications:

  • String Inverters: These are the most affordable and commonly used, which connect multiple solar panels in a series to a single inverter. Generally, these string inverters are useful for systems with little or no shading and also, it is easy to install.
  • Microinverters: Each panel operates independently with the help of Microinverters which are installed on individual solar panels. Although it can be expensive but offers good performance in shaded conditions.
  • Power Optimizers: These power optimizers are paired with string inverters and are usually located on each solar panel to improve its performance. Also, the power optimizers allow panel-level monitoring and are capable of performing well in shaded conditions.
  • Hybrid Inverters: Hybrid inverters are also known as battery-ready inverters, as they combine solar power and energy storage solutions. As a result, Hybrid inverters allow us to store excess solar energies for later usage, which are typically used in solar-plus-storage systems.

What’s the Average Cost of Solar Inverters?

The average cost of solar inverters is between $0.10 to $0.50 per watt, which depends on the brand, type, and capacity. Hence, this cost influences the overall budget of the solar system, which typically accounts for 6% to 10% of the total system cost.

Generally, a string inverter costs about $1000 to $2000, whereas microinverters could add up to $1000 or more to the budget of a solar system. Likewise, a power optimizer costs between $50 to $200 and hybrid inverters range from $1000 to $3000.

Factors Influencing Solar Inverters Cost

Here are the several factors that influence and determine the cost of solar inverters:

Efficiency: The higher the efficiency and larger the size, the inverter has more capacity, which tends to influence the cost of solar inverters and make them more expensive. Most of the quality inverters tend to possess 97% to 99% efficiency, but other factors like shading or environmental conditions will impact the system efficiency. Therefore, efficiency becomes one of the major factors in pricing.

Size: The larger the size, the more capacity! Before you consider sizing an inverter, it is important to check the total solar panel capacity and your house power consumption pattern. Because, sometimes the inverter tends to undergo efficiency losses during the DC to AC converting process and results in producing less AC power than it is rated for. So it is recommended for you to select an inverter with greater capacity than the total solar panel capacity. That’s why you should properly understand the sizing of solar inverters.

Installation Complexity: Whenever the installation process is very complex, it naturally increases the cost. For example, if you are using string inverters, then you must importantly consider the shading factors and the need for air circulation to avoid extreme heating of solar panels. However, moving the string inverter or microinverter to shaded areas can improve overall efficiency, which also affects the installation complexity and cost.

Additional Features: Blocking Diodes, charge controllers, and advanced solar power monitoring can effectively increase the cost of solar inverters. Also, features like maximum power point tracking can impact energy production, influencing the inverter’s price.

Brand and Quality: A well-established brand, with a good reputation, known for its quality, might charge more for its inverters.

Warranty and Support: When a manufacturer offers a longer warranty period, it influences the solar inverter cost, making it slightly more expensive.

Additional Costs to Consider

You might wonder what an additional cost could be other than the cost of the inverter itself. Well, you need to keep in mind about the following additional costs:

Installation and Labor: The cost might vary widely when you opt for a professional installation. Hence, the labor cost might make a difference based on the cost of living in your area, the availability of materials, and local incentives. Therefore, it is advisable to check with a professional solar company and get an estimate for the installation and labor costs.

Permit Fees: You will have to pay a fee to obtain a permit from your local Government to install the solar system. However, if you are hiring a professional solar company to handle the installation, then the cost of permit fees and inspection would be included in the estimate. But, if you decide to independently obtain the permit and opt for inspection later, it would incur costs separately.

Inspections: To make sure that the system meets local codes, inspection must be necessarily followed. Usually, permits and inspections together can cost you around $450 for the overall solar system cost. If you are considering the inspection cost separately then it would be around $150 to $330 which depends on array location, size, array type, components being used, and the region.

Maintenance and Repair: If you are opting for a solar system, then regular maintenance and any possible repairs will also be considered in the total cost as it becomes a mandatory factor. The professional cleaning of your home solar panels will cost you around $150 to $330. Above all, the cost will mainly depend on the inverter type and surrounding environment. For example: Replacing a microinverter would cost you more than replacing a string inverter.

Conclusion

Overall, solar inverters are the most necessary element of a solar energy system for which the cost varies depending on the type, efficiency, size, and additional features. So, you need to consider all possible additional costs including installation, permits, inspection, maintenance, and repair for proper comprehensive budgeting.

Most importantly, you should consider investing in a quality inverter with a good warranty, which will ensure your solar system’s efficient operations for many more years.

Ray is an avid reader and writer with over 25 years of experience serving various domestic and multinational private and public energy companies in the USA.

Leave a Comment