Choosing the Right Inverter for Your Canadian DIY Solar Setup

Hello friends!

Harnessing solar power in Canada requires the right solar inverter to transform the energy generated by photovoltaic (PV) cells into usable electricity. As the backbone of your solar system, the inverter plays a crucial role in converting direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC) suitable for household appliances. This blog should answer the questions you have about choosing the right inverter for your DIY project.

Types of Solar Panel Inverters

Three main types of inverters dominate the Canadian solar scene: microinverters, string inverters, and hybrid inverters.

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Microinverters are compact devices attached to individual solar panels. They convert DC to AC at the panel level, enabling each panel to function independently. This setup ensures maximum efficiency even if one panel is shaded or dirty, which is particularly beneficial for Canadian rooftops with diverse orientations.

String Inverters

String inverters are a single unit serving an entire array of solar panels. These panels are connected in a series, forming a "string." The DC power generated flows to a central string inverter, converting it into AC. While cost-effective and easy to maintain, a poor-performing panel can affect the overall output of the entire string.

Hybrid Inverters

Hybrid inverters not only convert DC to AC but also facilitate power exchange with solar batteries and the grid. This dual functionality makes them versatile for Canadians looking to store excess energy for later use or export it to the grid, potentially earning from programs like the Smart Export Guarantee.

Choosing the Ideal Inverter

Picking the right inverter for your Canadian solar setup involves several considerations:


An inverter’s efficiency, often termed ‘European’ or ‘weighted’ efficiency, is a key factor to assess. This metric gauges how well the inverter performs in real-world conditions, not just ideal lab settings. Inverter efficiencies range from 95% to 98%, with slight variations impacting long-term system output.

Matching Power Ratings:

When designing your solar array, consider the inverter's power rating, which defines the system's capacity. For example, if your panels peak at 6kW, aim for an inverter around 6kW. Oversizing an inverter isn't recommended; it's better to size it at 75-90% of peak panel output. For instance, if your panels generate 10kW, opt for an inverter rated at 7.5kW to 9kW. This practice, known as 'inverter clipping,' optimizes efficiency and cost, avoiding wastage and potential inefficiency at lower power levels. Balance is key – an undersized inverter can limit your system's performance. Consulting a professional about ideal inverter ratings and considering inverter clipping is essential.

Compatibility and Sizing:

Ensure the inverter's input voltage and current align with your panels' specifications. Choose an inverter with a voltage range that accommodates your panels' variations. Inverters have diverse input voltage and current requirements, which should match your solar panels’ specifications. For instance, if your panels generate a maximum output voltage of 350V, you must choose an inverter compatible with this range. If your solar array has an open-circuit voltage (Voc) of 400V and a maximum power point (Vmpp) of 350V, opt for an inverter with an input voltage exceeding 400V (for Voc safety) and an MPP voltage range of 350V.

Data Connectivity:

Today's solar inverters offer convenient digital control through software and smartphone apps using data connectivity options, including Wi-Fi, wired connections, and cellular data. Inverter monitoring systems provide real-time insights into solar performance, serving as a continuous diagnostic tool. These features allow you to track energy generation, inverter efficiency, and even detect system issues, contributing to efficient operation and maintenance.

Installation and Safety

Mount your chosen inverter in a cool, well-ventilated area, following manufacturer guidelines. Safety is paramount, and professional installation is recommended to avoid electric shocks or damage. A qualified installer will guarantee correct fitting, maintenance, and adherence to manufacturer guidelines.


Solar inverters are the cornerstone of your Canadian solar journey. Selecting the right type, size, and efficiency ensures your panels operate at their best, maximizing the benefits of clean energy and sustainability. Seeking professional assistance in your inverter selection and installation ensures a safe and efficient transition to a greener energy future.


  • Posted On: August 11, 2023
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Comments & Replies

Adolfo Says:
I am an engineer and I don't understand why this article exists. It is very simple to calculate the size and type of inverter that you need. Your solar array's specifications are the single most important element in the decision.

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