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How Much Does a Solar Inverter Cost? [A 2023 Guide]

When installing a solar energy system, one important aspect you’ll need to consider is the size and cost of solar inverters. It is a device that converts the direct current (DC) electricity produced by solar panels into alternating current (AC) electricity that we use at home. Apart from conversion from DC to AC, inverters also play a crucial role in the performance and efficiency of your solar energy system.

As a solar shopper, it’s important to understand the different types of solar inverter options available to you, how much they cost, and how they affect the overall cost of your solar energy system.

In the lines below, we’ll take a closer look at how much a solar inverter costs. We will also discuss different factors that influence the cost of solar inverters, such as the type of inverter, its size and capacity, its brand, and so on.

First, the cost of solar inverters.

How much does a solar inverter cost?

For a typical American solar home, a solar inverter costs around $1,000 to $1,500. But this figure is only a ballpark estimate and takes 6 kW as a standard solar panel system. As the system size increases, so would the inverter costs.

Generally, solar inverters cost between $0.18 to $0.27/watt or 6-9% of your total system’s cost. The national average cost is around $0.21 per watt or 8%. So, if you are installing a 10 kW grid-tied system, which would cost you roughly $28,000, you may expect to pay up to $2,200 for inverters alone. The overall cost of the system, i.e., $28,000, includes the inverter costs.

When you receive a solar quote, go through the quote and ensure that inverter costs are in the range mentioned. If it is more than 9%, say it is 11%, talk to your contractor to understand why the costs are higher.

But note that these prices are exclusive of the Federal Income Tax Credit, which is a 30% dollar-for-dollar tax break. Since inverters are qualified for the tax credit, you will receive 30% back on your system’s cost in the form of an income tax credit. That makes the national average cost of inverters about $0.14/watt.

But the size of your system is not the only factor that determines the cost of solar inverters. There are other things at play as well, such as the type of inverter, brand, and other features. Let’s understand how and why it affects the solar inverter cost. 

Factors that Affect Solar Inverter Costs

Type of inverter (string, central, microinverters)

The type of inverter you choose will significantly impact the cost of your solar energy system. String inverters, for example, are generally less expensive than micro inverters. String inverters are large and take input current from a group of solar panels, then convert it into alternating current. Micro-inverters, in contrast, are attached to each solar panel and do the operation right next to solar panels.

You will need one or two string inverters for the whole system. But you would need more micro-inverters, equal to the number of panels your system consists of. That would drive the costs high. However, micro-inverters have the advantage of allowing for the independent operation of each solar panel, which can lead to improved system performance and efficiency.

As seen in The National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s publication below, the type of inverter you choose has the largest impact on installed system cost, with string inverters resulting in $2.46/watt and use of micro inverters resulting in $2.80/watt. Note that these costs are your systems’ overall costs and do not depict only the cost per watt of string inverters or micro-inverters.

Source: www.nrel.gov

Type of your solar system

The cost of your solar inverter also depends upon the type of your solar system. If you are going to install a grid-tied system, you will need a grid-tie inverter. They are designed to monitor the two-way flow of electricity to and from your grid. They are generally less expensive.

If you have an off-grid solar system, you would need off-grid inverters. They are equipped to coordinate with your solar panels as well as batteries. They have costs comparable to grid-tied inverters.

Lastly, you would need a hybrid inverter if your solar system features batteries but is also connected to the grid. They are expensive, as they will have to perform the functions of both the types mentioned above. That is, convert DC to AC from solar panels, export excess power to the grid and import it back when needed. They also have to coordinate with batteries.

Read more on what is the difference between grid-tied, hybrid, and off-grid solar systems.

Size and capacity of the inverter

The size and capacity of the inverter you choose will also affect its cost. Larger and more powerful inverters tend to be more expensive, but they will also be better equipped to handle the needs of a larger solar energy system. But you do not have much say in deciding the size of your inverter—your solar system does it.

The bigger your system is, the larger would be the inverters you need. 

Brand and warranty

Brand and warranty also affect the cost of your solar inverter. You could find an inverter of the same size in different price ranges, with the only difference between them being the manufacturer. Well-established and reputable brands tend to have higher costs because they have invested in research and development and have built a reputation for producing efficient and reliable inverters.

Secondly, they also often offer longer warranty periods. Generally, products with longer warranty periods will have a higher cost than those with shorter warranties or less coverage. This is because the manufacturer is taking on more risk and is offering more protection to the customer.

Additional features (such as monitoring and internet connectivity)

Some inverters come with additional features, such as monitoring and internet connectivity, which can increase their costs. However, these features can benefit system performance and ease of use, so it’s worth considering them when making your decision.

How much does it cost to replace a solar inverter?

It depends upon the condition of your solar inverter. Is it still under warranty? If so, you can contact your manufacturer; they will replace the inverter as per their policy. That means you won’t incur the replacement costs.

Check with your solar contractor or a local solar technician if it is not under warranty. If it can be fixed, they will fix it. The cost depends upon the fault, which may range from $100 to $1,000—it also depends upon the size of your inverter.

Lastly, replacing an inverter would cost you almost the same as a new one. If your solar system is old, say it has worked for ten years or so, its capacity may have been decreased. In that case, you may need a smaller inverter, which would cost you less than the original (in terms of today’s prices).

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