inverter for a solar system - Young man installing inverter for renewable energy

Inverter for a Solar System – Selecting the Right Size 

In the midst of South Africa’s energy crisis, many households are turning to solar power as a reliable and sustainable solution. Solar panels play a crucial role in harnessing the sun’s energy, but to convert that energy into usable electricity, you need the right size inverter. In this article, we will walk you through the process of selecting the ideal inverter for your solar system, ensuring optimal performance and cost savings. With a focus on South Africa’s energy challenges, we’ll explore different types of inverters and provide valuable insights to help you make an informed decision. And remember, if you need further assistance, the experts at Virtual Sense are always ready to guide you towards the best solutions.

Understanding the Basics: What Does an Inverter Do?

Before we dive into the selection process, let’s understand the role of an inverter in a solar system. Solar panels produce DC electricity (direct current), which is not compatible with common household appliances that require AC electricity. An inverter is needed to convert the DC electricity from the solar panels into AC electricity that can be utilized to power homes. The inverter functions as a connector between the solar panels and the electrical system, ensuring a smooth transfer of power.

inverter for a solar system - Corner of a PV Panel with connector visible

Types of Inverters: Which One is Right for You?

String Inverters

String inverters are commonly used in residential solar installations. They are designed to handle the power output of multiple solar panels connected in series, known as a string. This type of inverter is cost-effective and efficient for standard installations. However, it’s important to note that the performance of the entire string is dependent on the weakest panel. String inverters are suitable for installations where panels are not significantly affected by shading or different orientations.

Micro – Inverters

Micro inverters are small inverters that are installed on each individual panel. Unlike string inverters, micro inverters optimize the energy output of each panel independently. This means that shading or different orientations have minimal impact on the overall system performance. Micro inverters are a great choice if your solar array experiences shading or if you have panels facing different directions. They offer flexibility and can maximize energy production.

Hybrid Inverters

Hybrid inverters combine the functions of a solar inverter with a battery inverter, allowing you to store excess power in a battery for later use. These inverters are an excellent option for homeowners looking to invest in solar energy storage systems. With a hybrid inverter, you can use the excess energy generated during the day to power your home during the evening or during load shedding periods. Hybrid inverters provide energy independence and are highly recommended for South Africans facing frequent power outages.

Grid Inverters

Grid inverters, also known as central inverters, are typically used in large-scale solar installations. They convert the DC electricity from multiple strings of panels into AC electricity that is fed into the electrical grid. Grid inverters are popular in commercial and utility-scale projects because of their high efficiency and cost-effectiveness. While they may not be the best choice for residential installations, it’s worth mentioning them for a comprehensive understanding of inverter types.

inverter for a solar system - Solar Farm


Choosing the Right Size Inverter

Now that you are familiar with the different types of inverters available, it’s time to determine the appropriate size for your solar system. Here are some key factors to consider:

Solar Array Capacity

Start by evaluating the capacity of your solar array. Calculate the combined wattage of all the solar panels in your system. This information will help you determine the power rating your inverter needs to handle.

Power Output Requirements

Consider your household’s power consumption and the specific appliances you wish to power with solar energy. Identify your essential loads and estimate their power requirements. This can be done by referring to your electricity bills or using a power meter to measure the energy consumption of each appliance. Make a list of the appliances and their corresponding power ratings to determine the total power output required from your inverter.

Sizing Considerations

When selecting an inverter, it’s essential to choose one with a power rating that matches or slightly exceeds your total power output requirements. Going for an inverter with a higher power rating allows for future expansion of your solar system and ensures that your inverter can handle peak power demands. However, keep in mind that selecting an oversized inverter can lead to inefficient operation and additional cost.

Considerations for South Africa’s Energy Crisis

Given the challenges of load shedding in South Africa, it’s crucial to consider the ability of your inverter to provide power during power outages. If you opt for a hybrid inverter, it should have the capability to operate in off-grid mode, allowing you to use the stored energy from your batteries during load shedding. This ensures that your essential loads remain powered even when the grid is down.

Efficiency and Quality

When selecting an inverter, pay attention to its efficiency rating. A higher efficiency rating means that the inverter can convert a larger percentage of the solar energy into usable electricity, resulting in higher overall system efficiency. Look for inverters with high efficiency ratings to maximize the energy output of your solar system and optimize cost savings.

Consider the quality and reputation of the inverter manufacturer, too. Look for reputable brands known for producing reliable and durable inverters. Investing in a high-quality inverter ensures longevity and reduces the likelihood of system failures or breakdowns, providing peace of mind and long-term savings.

Warranty and Support

Inverter warranties vary among manufacturers, so it’s important to review the warranty options offered. Look for inverters with comprehensive warranty coverage that includes both the inverter itself and the service provided. A longer warranty period shows the manufacturer’s confidence in the reliability of their product. Additionally, inquire about the availability of technical support and after-sales service, as prompt help can be crucial in case of any issues or maintenance requirements.

Consult with a Solar Installer

Selecting the right size inverter for your solar system can be a complex task. To ensure you make an informed decision, we recommend that you consult with a professional solar installer. They have the expertise and knowledge to assess your energy needs, recommend the appropriate inverter size, and provide guidance on the best solutions for your specific requirements.

Virtual Sense: Your Partner in Solar Solutions

As you embark on your journey to harness the power of solar energy, Virtual Sense is here to support you every step of the way. With a broad range of high-quality inverters, solar batteries, solar systems, and UPS systems, Virtual Sense offers advanced inverter options and the highest-quality solar products to meet your energy needs. Our team of experts is dedicated to helping you navigate the complexities of solar installations and select the right solutions for your home.

Don’t let South Africa’s energy crisis deter you from embracing renewable energy. Take control of your electricity bills and contribute to a sustainable future by choosing the right size inverter for your solar system. Contact Virtual Sense today for expert advice and discover how our reliable and efficient solar solutions can transform your energy consumption and reduce your reliance on the grid. Together, let’s power a brighter and greener South Africa.


Virtual Sense Power supplies inverters, batteries and solar panels in the following areas - Helderberg, Somerset West, Stand and Gordons Bay