A comprehensive guide to solar inverters

Unveiling the Power of Solar Inverters: A Comprehensive Guide

Introduction: Harnessing the energy of the sun has become a pivotal aspect of our quest for sustainable and renewable power sources and the solar inverter is a critical component in order to use the electricity generated. In this guide, we’ll delve into the intricacies of solar inverters, exploring different types that cater to diverse energy needs. Understanding Solar Inverters Solar inverters are one of the most important components of a solar PV system. The inverter is responsible for converting DC electricity generated by the solar panels into AC electricity which is used by homes and businesses.

What types of Solar Inverters are there?

There are 4 main types of inverters:
  • Hybrid inverter
  • AC-Coupled
  • Microinverter
  • Grid tie/ string inverter

Hybrid inverter:

Hybrid inverters can seamlessly integrate solar power generation with energy storage. These inverters are designed to manage both the production of electricity from solar panels and the storage of excess energy in batteries for later use. The main advantage is that they can provide a consistent power supply, even during periods without sunlight. Many manufacturers who produce hybrid inverters also manufacture the associated battery storage. Advantages of Hybrid Inverters
  • Energy Independence: Hybrid inverters empower users to harness solar energy and store it for use during peak demand or when the sun isn’t shining.
  • Grid Interaction: Users can seamlessly switch between grid-tied and off-grid modes, optimising energy consumption and potentially reducing reliance on the grid.
  • Backup Power: In the event of a power outage, hybrid inverters with battery storage can supply power to critical loads, enhancing energy security.
Solax battery storage and hybrid inverter installation St Albans
Solax battery storage and hybrid inverter installation

Which manufacturer makes the best hybrid inverter?

Here is a list of some of the best manufacturers in our opinion.
  • Solis hybrid inverter
  • Solax Hybrid inverter
  • Givenergy hybrid inverter
  • Solar edge hybrid inverter
  • Sunsynk hybrid inverter
  • Growatt hybrid inverter
  • Fox hybrid inverter
  • SMA hybrid inverter

AC Coupled Inverters

AC-coupled inverters are designed to work with existing grid-tied solar inverters. They are commonly used to retrofit energy storage solutions into established solar power systems. As well as being great for existing solar systems, there has also been a new phenomenon recently with the introduction of off-peak electricity tariffs. As a result of variable rate tariffs homeowners can now charge their batteries up using off-peak electricity tariffs at a cheaper cost and use them during the day. Retail arbitraging is definitely a fantastic way for customers who aren’t able to have solar panels installed to start saving money. Despite all of the benefits, one downside of AC-coupled inverters is that they are a less efficient system compared with a hybrid inverter. This is because there is double the amount of electricity conversions. Advantages of AC Coupled Inverters
  • Incremental Expansion: AC-coupled inverters allow for the gradual integration of energy storage without modifying the existing DC-based solar array.
  • Compatibility: This type of inverter is compatible with a wide range of solar installations, making it a versatile choice for retrofitting energy storage solutions.
  • Optimized Battery Charging: AC coupling enables more efficient battery charging by converting DC from the solar panels to AC before storing it in the batteries
  • Access to electricity savings without needing a solar panel system.

 Grid Tie Inverters

Grid-tie inverters are the most common type, converting DC from solar panels to AC for immediate use or export to the grid. These inverters are designed for systems which aren’t going to have battery storage installed. As a result of their simplicity, grid tie inverters and cost effectiveness they are a popular choice for residential and commercial solar installations. To summarise, if you are only considering solar panels without battery storage then a grid tie inverter is a great solution. In spite of this, it is also worth considering having a hybrid inverter installed because most homeowners will end up want batteries installed. Advantages of Grid Tie Inverters:
  • Simplicity: Grid-tie inverters were the first inverter to be made. As the technology has evolved the technology has been simplified and the easiest of all inverters to use and install.
  • Cost-Effective: Grid-tie inverters are more cost-effective compared to hybrid inverters, making them a popular choice for residential and commercial installations.
Grid tie & AC-coupled inverter with battery  

Micro Inverters

Unleashing Panel-Level Optimisation Micro-inverters operate at the solar panel level, as opposed to a single, main inverter system. This design maximises energy production by optimising each panel independently. In addition, micro inverters are also particularly beneficial in installations where shading or varying panel orientations can impact overall system efficiency. They have many different options for micro-inverters and now offer a solar battery as well. On the whole, micro inverters are worth considering if your home experiences shading. However, it may be more beneficial to have a hybrid inverter and optimisers installed instead if you are also considering battery storage. Advantages of Micro Inverters Increased Efficiency: Micro inverters maximise energy production by optimising each solar panel independently, overcoming the limitations of shading or panel-level variations. Also, if any panel on the system fails, the rest of the solar panels will still operate. Whereas with a traditional solar panel system, if a panel fails, the rest of the solar panels wired to that circuit will not work. Enhanced Monitoring: Panel-level monitoring provides real-time data on the performance of each solar panel, which means easier maintenance and issue detection. Scalability: Micro inverters offer scalability, allowing homeowners to expand their solar installations by adding panels without compromising overall system efficiency.


Understanding each type of solar inverter is crucial for making the best decisions when setting up a solar power system. Whether prioritising energy independence with hybrid inverters, seamlessly expanding existing setups with AC-coupled inverters, relying on the efficiency of grid-tie inverters, or optimising at the panel level with micro-inverters, the many different options allow users to tailor their solar installations to meet specific needs and challenges. As the industry continues to evolve, these innovative solar inverters play an important role in shaping a more sustainable energy landscape. If you are interested in learning about battery storage, check out our blog.

Choosing the Right Inverter for Your System 

Selecting the appropriate inverter depends on various factors, including energy consumption patterns, geographic location, and budget constraints. For residential systems, grid-tie inverters are often the go-to choice due to their simplicity and cost-effectiveness. Every home or commercial unit is different, to find out what solar inverter is best for you, get in touch and we can advise you.