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What makes a solar system?

We all know about solar energy and how it has proven to be the best new-age clean energy alternative to conventional fuel sources which is loved by humans and the environment alike.

Solar enthusiasts however must make an informed decision about selecting the right solar company to install for them as it is a huge investment. We shall discuss in this article the various main components that make a solar system.

Chief components of a solar system

1) Solar panels

Solar panels come in a 60/66-cell size for home solar and a 72-cell size for commercial installation. So residential panels are smaller and commercial panels are bigger in weight, size, and output capacity. Panels also differ on the basis of the technology they are built with i.e. half-cut, monocrystalline, polycrystalline, etc.

Choosing a top quality, tier 1 brand is advised as you want the panel company to be around for about three decades after the purchase so as to honor their warranty word should the need arise. While there are high-end brands as well as economy brands in the solar market, which perform the same to an extent, warranty is what makes them stand apart. Choosing a quality brand makes the buyer ‘safe’ to invest.

You must base your decision on the rate of degradation and the product warranty of the panels. A lengthy product warranty and low rate of degradation mean the panels are reliable and long-lasting.

2) Solar Inverter

The second chief component of a solar system is the inverter. There are three types of inverters:

a) String inverter

The String inverter is fitted on a wall in the shade like a garage where the temperature is not as high as the roof because the sun in Australia can fry the inverter and the product warranty would not cover this. This is connected to the panels through wiring.

b) Microinverter

These inverters go on the backside of each panel. This means if you have 20 panels on your roof, there are 20 microinverters, one for each panel. Microinverters are used in cases where there is a shading issue or panels have to be placed in more directions than one.

c) Hybrid Inverter

A hybrid solar inverter produces power in the same way as the string inverter, but also facilitates energy storage as it has a built-in battery.

There are a number of reputed inverter brands in Australia which are competing well in the solar industry because of their reliability, durability, and warranty.

So even if you are planning the solar project on a budget, you are highly recommended to invest in a premium solar inverter as this is the first component of the solar system that will wear out after the first decade. The fall of the inverter brings down the entire system which is why I suggest you go for a high-quality brand that is sure to last much longer than the cheaper ones. Top-end solar inverters will cost about $1000 more than the economy ones.

3) Racking

Mounting the solar panels on the rooftop requires metal racks generally made of aluminum as it will corrode less over the system’s lifetime. There is an array of racking brands available in the solar market and choosing high-quality racking like other solar components will go a long way in ensuring the longevity of the system. There are premium and budget brands for racking too and you can choose wisely because you want a hassle-free system running for years.

4) Consumption monitoring

A consumption monitor is a small device that goes on your switchboard. It measures the electricity produced by your solar as well as the electricity used and at what timings. A consumption monitor also tells how much electricity is not used by the property and is sent to the grid.

The device costs less than $500 and is an optional component. A solar system can run perfectly without a consumption monitor but it is recommended you get one. I’ll tell you why. The inverter only shows how much energy is being produced. But you do not know your usage and the time of usage. Thus to ascertain both production and consumption you can invest in a consumption monitor. This discernment enables you to manage your usage and it’s timings for maximizing savings which is the principal motive of getting solar.


Understanding the importance of the main components of a solar system will help you choose wisely and make an informed decision while buying solar for your property.

For the best recommendations with high-end and best-value solar products and a variety of services, get in touch with Austra Solar today!

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