How Much Do Solar Inverters Cost?
Solar Inverter Costs
Because of their scale, the good news is that solar installers can place massive orders for inverters, solar panels, and all the other related equipment. This helps them to get the lowest possible rates and usually a lot cheaper than you or I would find on the internet or in stores.
What’s the Average Cost?
Inverters usually range from $1000 to $1500 for an average-sized build. The cost can, however, go up quickly as the installation gets bigger.
The National Renewable Energy Lab conducts a solar industry cost comparison per year, looking at average construction costs, inverter and panel costs and a variety of other relevant topics. Researchers found in early 2016 (the latest available report) that solar inverters usually cost about $0.18 per watt, but researchers range from a high of about $0.27 to a low of $0.09.
Inverters usually account for about 6 percent of overall installation costs at an average of $0.18 per watt and with the maximum installation costing $2.93 per watt. This means that a standard 5.6-kilowatt installation costs a total of $16,408 and that the inverter will account for about $1,000. If your inverter is on the other end–say $0.27 per watt (about 9 percent of total cost)–it would cost about $1,500 for your inverter.
If your inverter accounts for more than 8 to 9 percent of the total cost of your installation, be sure to talk to your installer and see what is going on. Their sales or installation process could have been simplified, but instead of the inverter being too costly it’s just the reverse and their other construction costs (labor, panels, etc.) are only lower than most. In this situation, the higher percentage of the overall cost of the inverter is probably good news for you (if they already have standard equipment installed).
Inverters–with an approximate lifespan of about 12 to 15 years–do not last for as long as solar panels, which last from 25 to 30 years. Odds are that your inverter will need to be replaced sooner or later. If you lease your installation or fund it via a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), just call your solar contractor and they will come out at no cost to you and replace the inverter (since they are legally owners of the system). If you’ve paid cash or funded by a loan, you’ll be liable for fixing the broken inverter. It is here where the value of the word length of a warranty comes in.
ABB inverters come with 5-year spare parts and job guarantee. SMA inverters are equally priced to ABB, but give its SunnyBoy inverters a 10-year warranty. With a 12-year warranty, SolarEdge offers even more!
Knowing the manufacturer’s guarantee can be worth a higher cost for a long-term warranty like SMA or SolarEdge, so be sure to check and analyze your warranty policies and know both the scope and coverage.
Inverter efficiency is a calculation of how much of the direct current energy that goes through the inverter can be converted through alternating current that can be used at home or in the power grid. Modern inverters are extremely efficient–the above-mentioned ABB and SMA inverters are around 97 percent effective. The cheaper inverters would usually see better performance. If you find an excellent offer on an inverter, be sure to look at its performance (as well as the other factors mentioned here) to make sure it’s a good step indeed.
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