January 18th, 2021 by Steve Hanley
Rooftop solar is great. It takes a part of your home that is used for nothing except keeping the rain and snow out and turns it into a place that generates electricity for you to use in your home or sell back to your local utility if local policies and rate structures permit. There is only one problem. The electricity that comes from solar panels is direct current (DC). The electricity that comes into your home from the nearest utility pole is alternating current (AC). You will need what is called an inverter to convert the DC coming from your roof to the AC the electric devices inside your home need to operate properly.
Previously, Tesla rooftop solar systems included an inverter manufactured by other companies in its rooftop solar systems but now it is including its own proprietary inverter in its Solar Roof and rooftop solar packages. According to Tesla’s website:
“Tesla Solar Inverter completes the Tesla home solar system, converting DC power from solar to AC power for home consumption. Tesla’s renowned expertise in power electronics has been combined with robust safety features and a simple installation process to produce an outstanding solar inverter that is compatible with both Solar Roof and traditional solar panels. Once installed, homeowners use the Tesla app to manage heir solar system and monitor energy consumption, resulting in a truly unique ecosystem experience.”
Key features of Tesla’s proprietary inverter include:
- Built on Powerwall 2 technology for exceptional efficiency and reliability.
- Wi-Fi, ethernet, and cellular connectivity with over-the-air updates.
- Designed to integrate with Tesla Powerwall and Tesla app.
- 3.8 kW and 7.6 kW models available.
The Tesla Inverter is available in two versions — 3.8 kW and 7.6 kW. The former offers two maximum power point trackers while the latter comes with 4 MPPTs. The unit itself is 26 inches high, 16 inches wide, and 6 inches deep and can be mounted indoors or outdoors in temperatures ranging from -22ºF to 113ºF.
PV Magazine points out that Tesla claims its inverter is 97.5% efficient but does not specify whether that number represents the California Energy Commission weighted rating or is its maximum efficiency. It adds the inverter comes with integrated rapid shutdown capability and provides arc-fault and ground fault protection as required by applicable regulations.
There may be inverters on the market that are more efficient but the fact that this unit is designed and manufactured by Tesla suggests its software will work seamlessly with the software that controls a Tesla Powerwall, if one is included in the system. With Tesla’s penchant for high quality products and the 12.5 year warranty that covers the inverter, customers will have the peace of mind that comes from knowing their solar system uses components that truly are state of the art.
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