Solar Panels to Inverter: The Importance Of Inverters

Dean Emerick

January 14, 2023

Though solar panels have been around for some time now, their popularity has only spiked in recent years. This can be largely attributed to the increase in awareness about climate change and the need to do our part to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. But while solar panels are a great way to generate renewable energy, they still require an inverter to convert that energy into a form that can be used by your home or business. Inverters are an important piece of the solar panel puzzle, and it's important to understand their function and importance if you're considering investing in solar power. In this blog post, we'll discuss the basics of solar inverters, and why they're so important. We'll also talk about all the different types of inverters and consider their pros & cons. If you want to have more control over the grid, then you are going to need to understand the power of inverters. So, read on!

The Basics of Solar Inverters

Solar inverters are an essential part of any solar panel system. They are responsible for converting the direct current (DC) electricity produced by the solar panels into alternating current (AC) electricity, which can then be used by household appliances. Solar inverters are also responsible for monitoring the voltage of the solar array and regulating the flow of electricity to ensure that it is within safe limits. Without a solar inverter, solar panels would be unable to produce usable electricity.      

Solar inverters come in a variety of different sizes and power ratings, and choosing the right one is critical to ensuring that a solar panel system works effectively. The size of the solar inverter must be matched to the size of the solar panel array, and the power rating must be sufficient to handle the maximum output of the entire array. Solar inverters must also be able to operate reliably in a wide range of environmental conditions, as they are typically installed outdoors. 

Understanding how solar inverters work is essential for choosing the right system for your needs. With so many different factors to consider, it is important to consult with an experienced solar installer to ensure that your system is properly sized and configured. You can find vetted authorized solar installers with our Free Quote Tool.

What are the different types of solar inverters?

Solar inverters are of three different types, and each one has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it's important to select the right one for your particular situation.

String inverters

String inverters are the most popular type of solar inverters on the market today. They are called “string” because they are typically connected in series with several solar panels. One of the main advantages of string inverters is that they are very scalable. So, if you want to add more solar panels to your system in the future, it’s easy to do so with a string inverter. 

Additionally, string inverters are the cheapest inverter option on the market. They have an average lifespan of around 10 - 15 years which is less than other inverter options. Overall, string inverters are a cost-effective option for most people who are looking to invest in solar power.

Central inverters

Central inverters are commonly used for commercial and utility-scale solar projects. Many solar panels are wired in string to a central inverter, similarly to a string inverter but with many more panels per inverter. The central inverter is connected to multiple solar panels and can typically convert DC to AC output with 95% efficiency or higher. Additionally, a central inverter is easier to maintain since all of the components are located in a single unit. However, a central inverter can be more expensive than other types of solar inverters and require a higher level of maintenance.


Microinverters are a relatively new technology that offers a number of advantages over traditional other inverter types.

Microinverters are connected to each individual PV panel, rather than being connected in series to an entire string of panels. This configuration allows for independent operation of each panel, meaning that if one panel is shaded or experiences some other issue, the rest of the system can continue to operate at peak efficiency. This also allows for easier troubleshooting and maintenance, as problems can be isolated to a single panel.

Additionally, microinverters tend to have a higher efficiency than string or central inverters, meaning more of the sun's energy is converted into usable electricity. They also have the longest lifespan of any inverter, with warranties ranging from 20 to 25 years. 

However, because each panel needs its own inverter, a microinverter system tends to be more expensive than a string inverter system. Overall, microinverters offer a number of pros & cons that should be considered when selecting a solar inverter for a PV system.

In conclusion to string, central, and micro inverters

Are you considering installing a solar energy system? If so, it's important to understand the different types of solar inverters available on the market. In this article, we've outlined the three main types and discussed the pros and cons. If you're interested in learning more about solar systems, check out our guide. This guide covers all solar system types and will teach you everything you need to know.

We offer free consultations with our experienced solar installers throughout Canada from all the big-name PV companies who can help you select the perfect system for your needs.

Get a free solar quote here or take advantage of our free assessment tool.


Can I connect solar panels directly to an inverter?

The answer to your question depends on the type of inverter you have. If you have a grid-tied inverter, it is directly connected to the solar panels. In fact, some solar panels come with micro-inverters preinstalled. These types of inverters do need AC power to operate. However, if you're using a DC power inverter that you bought from a store, then you'll need a charge controller and battery.

How many solar panels can I connect to my inverter?

The number of solar panels that can be safely connected to an inverter is dependent on its current, voltage, and wattage rating. For example, a 5000-watt (or 5kW) inverter can handle approximately the same amount of watts in solar panels.

Can a solar panel run an inverter without a battery?

Although a battery is not necessary, there are benefits to having one. A battery can store energy for later use, which is helpful in areas where there is not always strong sunlight.    

What is the role of power optimizers?

Power optimizers are devices that are installed at each individual solar panel. Their purpose is to maximize the power output of the panel by reducing losses from mismatches between the panels and the rest of the system. They provide the benefits of microinverters but can be added to a string inverter system. In addition, power optimizers can provide monitoring and visibility into the performance of each individual panel, which can be helpful in identifying potential issues.

Does every solar panel need an inverter?

Yes! Every solar panel needs to be connected to an inverter to function properly. Inverters are responsible for converting the direct current (DC) output of the solar panel into an alternating current (AC), which can then be used by appliances and other devices in your home. Without an inverter, your solar panel would be unable to generate any usable electricity.

How far can solar batteries be from the inverter?

Solar batteries can be up to 100 feet from the inverter. But, the further the solar battery is from the inverter, the higher the voltage drop will be and this can reduce the power output of the solar system.

What happens if I have too many solar panels?

If you have too many solar panels, and you are generating more power than you use, then you may want to consider selling the excess electricity back to your utility company. But if you have more panels than your inverter can handle, then you will need to add to, or change your system. Getting the right information from vetted qualified solar installers in your area takes minutes using our Free Quote Tool.

How big of an inverter do I need to run my house?

In order to select the right size inverter for your needs, you'll first need to determine the wattage of the appliances and devices you'll be running. The continuous wattage rating of the inverter should be equal to or greater than the total wattage of the devices. Keep in mind that some appliances, like air conditioners and power tools, may have a high surge wattage requirement that is significantly higher than their continuous wattage rating. As a result, it's important to select an inverter that has a surge wattage rating that meets or exceeds the highest surge wattage requirement of any of the devices you'll be running. 

What are solar modules?

Solar modules are the building blocks of a photovoltaic system, and their basic function is to convert sunlight into electricity. They are typically made of semiconductor materials like silicon, and they can come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

What is the maximum power point tracking (MPPT)?

Maximum power point tracking (MPPT) is a system used to maximize the output of the panels by regulating the voltage and current. The MPPT constantly adjusts the solar panel's operating voltage and current to maintain the maximum power output that the panel is capable of at any given time. This allows for more efficient use of the solar panels and can increase the overall output.

Is a solar inverter the same as a battery?

No, a solar inverter is not the same as a battery. A solar inverter converts the direct current (DC) produced by solar panels into alternating current (AC), while a battery stores energy in a chemical form. Solar power inverters are essential for powering homes and businesses with solar energy, while batteries can be used to back up power or provide power during a power outage.

What happens if you connect a solar panel directly to a battery?

If you connect a solar panel directly to a battery, the battery will get damaged. A solar charge controller must be used to regulate the flow of electricity from the solar panel to the battery.

Can I just plug a solar panel into an outlet?

No, you cannot just plug a solar panel into an outlet. Solar panels need to be wired to an inverter, which is then connected to your home's electrical panel. To avoid any costly mistakes or prevent damage to your home, we highly recommend using a vetted qualified Solar Installer in your area. It just takes 2 minutes using our Free Quote Tool.

Can I leave my inverter on all the time?

You can certainly leave your inverter on all the time. There's no need to turn it off when you're not using it. However, if you're not going to be using the inverter for an extended period of time, it's a good idea to disconnect any batteries attached. This will prevent them from being damaged by overcharging.

Will a 300 W inverter run a TV?

Yes, a 300-watt inverter will run most TVs. Most LCD, LED, and OLED TVs typically use between 100 and 200 watts, so a 300-watt inverter should be more than sufficient. Of course, it's always a good idea to check the power requirements of your specific TV model to be sure. If you have any other questions, please don't hesitate to contact us. We're always happy to help.

Can a 1000 W inverter run a fridge?

The answer may vary depending on the make and model of the fridge. However, in general, most fridges require about 700-1200 watts to run. Therefore, a 1000-watt inverter should be able to power most fridges. Remember to check the running and surge wattages of your fridge to be sure.

Is it worth installing solar panels with a battery?

Solar panels with batteries can help to increase the overall efficiency of your PV panel system. By storing energy from the sun during the day, you can use this stored energy to power your home at night or during a power outage. In addition, batteries can help to offset the intermittent nature of solar power, providing a reliable source of energy even when the sun is not shining.

What is the benefit of an inverter?

Inverters are devices that convert DC (direct current) to AC (alternating current). This means that they can be used to power AC devices from a DC voltage source, such as a battery or solar array. Inverters are commonly used in situations where AC power is not available, such as in remote locations or during power outages. Inverters are available in a variety of sizes and configurations, so they can be customized to meet the specific needs of any application.

Can a solar system be on and off-grid?

A solar system can either be on-grid or off-grid. On-grid systems are connected to the main power grid, while off-grid systems operate in isolation from the grid. A solar energy system that is on-grid can sell unused power back to the utility company, while power generated by an off-grid system can not. Off-grid systems are typically used in remote locations where there is no access to the main power grid. Hybrid systems that are both attached to the grid but include battery storage are becoming more popular. 

Do I need a fuse between the solar panel and battery?

Yes! You'll need to have a fuse between your solar panel and battery in order to ensure that the wiring is protected against power surges. This is an important safety measure and one that will help to prolong the life of your solar system as well as the appliances you use. If you're unsure of how to install a fuse, or what size fuse you need, be sure to consult with a professional solar installer. You can find vetted qualified solar installers in your area, which takes about 2 minutes using our Free Quote Tool.

Can a solar panel drain a battery?

A high-quality solar panel won't drain your battery, even at night. The only reason this could happen is if the blocking or bypass diodes are damaged. But don't worry, a charge controller will save your battery in that case.

Can we sell AC solar panels?

AC solar panels are simply a solar panel with a pre-attached microinverter. Many of our installers do sell AC solar panels. If you want to resell your used panels, it depends on a few factors, including the age and condition of the AC solar panels, as well as the current market value of solar panels. Generally speaking, solar panels will lose some value over time due to depreciation. However, if the AC solar panels are still in good condition and have a significant amount of life left, they may still have a good resale value.

Are microinverters better than a string inverter?

There are several factors to consider when deciding whether a micro-inverter or string inverter is the better option. One important factor is the output waveform. Microinverters tend to have a more accurate waveform than string inverters, which can result in greater efficiency and power output. Additionally, microinverters are easier to install and maintain, and they offer greater flexibility in terms of system design. However, string inverters are typically more affordable, and they may be a better option for larger systems. Ultimately, the best choice depends on the specific needs of the user.

What is the average cost of microinverters in Canada?

The average cost of a microinverter in Canada is $1.15 per watt. This is significantly more expensive than other inverter types, which range from $0.10 to $0.50. The main advantage of microinverters is that they can produce more energy than other inverters because they are more efficient and reduce power losses due to shade.