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Oversizing Your Solar Inverter: What Is It And What Does It Mean For Your System?

Inverter oversizing can unlock greater energy efficiency in your solar system and help you save thousands of dollars. But what exactly does it entail, and why should you consider it?

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What is inverter oversizing?

Inverter oversizing basically means installing more solar panels in your array than the inverter's rated capacity. In short, installing more panels than the inverter is meant to handle.

Oversizing your inverter can be a great way to work around restrictions placed on solar panel users in Australia. Most energy providers have placed caps for homes on the amount of electricity that can be exported into the grid. This cap is usually at 5kW, meaning that at any point in time, your solar system cannot export more than 5kW of energy to the grid.

Oversizing the capacity of your inverter may seem unsafe, but inverters are actually made to handle up to 133% of their capacity. For example, if you were to have a 5kW inverter, this would mean you could safely install a 6.6kW array of panels. Almost every inverter on the market is built to be able to handle up to a third more energy than its rated capacity.

Why add extra panel capacity to your inverter?

Although solar panels are rated to a certain level, they rarely reach that level in the real world. This is because solar panels are trialled under standard conditions that are near perfect for achieving maximum performance, which isn't exactly a true representation of the panel's performance under everyday conditions. For example, you may have a 5kW array of panels and a 5kW inverter, but it is unlikely that the panels will produce up to that level.

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By oversizing your inverter, you can improve the average efficiency of the solar system as your panels are more likely to produce an amount of energy that's closer to the capacity of the inverter.

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Inverter Oversizing Options

Solar power is an investment that rewards you with decades of lower power bills, and a well-designed system can mean bigger savings over the long run. Let’s get into the details and find out how you can save thousands off your solar power quote by oversizing your solar inverter.

Option 1. Supersize Your Enphase System

To maximise system efficiency, we want a micro-inverter to reach its maximum output as quickly as possible and then stay there for as long as possible. With the microinverter purring at maximum output, your solar system will be at maximum efficiency, which means more solar power and more bang for your buck.

In terms of performance, an oversized micro inverter will clip the output from the solar panel, but only during the middle of the day and only on the best days of the year. In winter and on days when the weather is not ideal for solar, oversizing the inverter will give you more power across the day with no clipping at all, as illustrated here:

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On the days where some clipping does occur, the loss is, for the most part, made up by the fact that you have better panels outputting more power in the morning and during the afternoon.

Smart right?

Option 2. Supersize Your Standard String System

If you are looking for a really quick return on your money, a standard string system can pay for itself in less than 3 years. It might not have all the bells and whistles of an Enphase system, but for the right household, this is still a great option.

A string inverter can be supersized with less than 1% loss in efficiency due to clipping. This means that for customers looking for a 5kW system, you can go ahead and install up to around a 6.5kW string of panels with a 5kW inverter*. Great news! It’s something we now recommend for anyone who is looking to maximise their returns.

Furthermore, the government rebate is based on the size of the panel array, not the inverter. For example, based on the current STC price of $37, a 7kW system comes with a $4,736 rebate, whereas a 5kW system comes with a rebate of $3,256.

The larger rebate, for the most part, covers the extra panels, making it a no-brainer for many eligible households. As the mantra goes: “You are paying for a team of solar installers to drive out to your house and install a solar system. Why not get them to throw a few more panels in the back of the van?”

If you have any questions regarding how to oversize your inverter, please call us on 1300 525 451. The 1KOMMA5° team would be happy to help recommend the best option for your home or business that not only maximises power but also helps you save money. How’s that for a change?

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1KOMMA5° is the solar & storage experts. This means we take the time to find out what you are looking for and offer designs that will not only maximise solar output but also maximise value for money. We want our customers singing from their solar rooftops about just how great their system is.

*Houses in Endeavour Energy (western half of Sydney) must have three-phase power for a system larger than 5kW. However, there are ways to get around this using export limitations. Contact us for more information. We can quickly work out what rules apply to your situation.

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