What makes an inverter a good quality inverter?
Inverters are complex electronic devices and like any such device, they can be built to a price or built for robustness and performance. Unless you happen to be an electronics engineer, it is very hard to know how the quality of the components used in a given inverter will translate into life expectancy. However, there are a few things that you can use to guide you.
Firstly, the rules of experience, commitment, transparency and size of the manufacturer play a role. So ask yourself, is this inverter manufacturer one of the 2 or 3 leading manufacturers. Have they been making inverters for a long time and developed and improved the product over years? Have they got Australian service centres to address faults with the inverter quickly? How about the warranty conditions and how long is the warranty. Is labour for repairs during warranty included? If so, make sure you get this in a written document, which you keep with the receipts for your system in a safe place.
Secondly, you can tell a bit about the product by the quality of its construction; are the materials used high quality? Is it built to keep out insects and weather? Has cooling been carefully considered? Is it fan based and/or convection? With moving parts there is more chance of a malfunction. Does it have a good set of features and not too many gimmicks? Where is it made and which company backs it?
Although inverters have reduced in price significantly in recent years, as a general rule, you get what you pay for. From the outside they all look like a colourful box, but it’s the inside that makes a big difference in years to come.
Performance is typically measured through features, conversion efficiency (how much power is lost in transferring DC to and from AC ?) and the inverters ability to deliver power under a wide range of conditions. We recommend reading the inverter datasheets and asking your installer for advice. Avoid offers that seem too good to be to be true.