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Getting Started With Solar

Solar Information

DSIRE - National searchable database to find Incentives, Rebates and Federal Tax Credits.
PGE - Solar Information Database

Wall mounted inverter (String Inverter)

Typical Wall mounted string inverter:
All inverters take the direct current (DC) such as produced by your solar panels, and convert it to alternating current (AC). Simply put, DC current is what a battery creates such as the 12 volt battery in your car, and AC is what your house uses (110v – 120v). A wall mounted inverter (string inverter) is commonly used with solar systems, and is less expensive than Enphase Micro Inverters. However, string inverters will not last the life of the solar system, and later it will have to be replaced, which increases the overall cost. 

Still, in situations where shadows are not a problem, and if you are not planning on adding more solar panels later, a string inverter may be all you need.  


Wall mounted string inverters have some drawbacks: 

  • Wall mounted inverters are typically guaranteed for only 10-12 years, and solar PV panels are designed to last 20- 25 years and beyond. The unit will have to be replaced at least once during the life of the solar panels.
  • Unlike Enphase micro inverters where one small inverter is used under each solar panel, if a wall mounted inverter fails, the entire system will fail since all the solar panels all wired to the one inverter.
  • Wall mounted inverters are sized to match the output of your solar panels. This means that if you wish to add additional panels to your solar system, you will have to upgrade the inverter.
  • Solar Panels are wired in series, and in rows. If a shadow lands on even one panel, the entire row of panels will drop in energy output. 
New Technology - A better method is to use Enphase Micro Inverters. They are guaranteed for 25 years, they eliminate many of the old problems with shadows, you can see the output of each panel and get energy reports on your computer for your solar system, and you can add additional panels to your system endlessly. Click the link to learn about the advantages of Enphase Micro Inverters