Home solar PV systems comprise two main elements:
- The solar panels themselves, and
- A solar inverter.
When sun shines on the solar panels, DC electricity is produced. However your home runs on AC electricity, so the solar inverter converts the DC to AC electricity.
If your roof is free of shading
Assuming your roof is free of shading throughout the day, a normal ‘string’ inverter is what we would recommend. Panels are connected in series in one long line – known as a string – which in turn is connected to the inverter.
If you have roofs facing east and west, you will need a ‘dual MPPT’ string inverter. This has two inputs: one for the string of east-facing panels; the other for the west-facing panels.
There are many manufacturers of string inverters. We especially like the makes Ginlong Solis and SolaX, as their inverters are very robust and don’t break the bank. Other reliable brands include SMA and Huawei.
If your roof does have shading
You may have a nearby tree that casts a shadow on your roof at some point during the day. Alternatively, shadows can be caused by chimneys, flues, soil stacks or neighbouring buildings.
If there is significant shading, we recommend shade mitigation technology made by SolarEdge. A device called a ‘power optimiser’ is placed on the back of the solar panels.
This makes each panel independent of all the others, and shading on one panel will not affect the power output of any of the other panels. With a normal string inverter, if the power output of one panel drops down to say 50% due to shading, then all the panels in that string will also drop to 50% even though they are unshaded.
SolarEdge technology is more expensive than a string inverter system, but is definitely worth it if shading is an issue. SolarEdge also comes with market-leading online monitoring and diagnostics.
Once we have surveyed your home, we look at your specific circumstances, including shading, and design a PV system tailored to your needs. For us, there are no ‘off the shelf’ solutions – everything we design and install is bespoke.
We use specialist solar CAD software called PV*SOL which makes highly accurate predictions as to how many kWh or units of electricity your solar panel system will generate each year.
We have access to all the various solar panel makes and models on the market, including the award-winning SunPower Maxeon 3 400W panels.