Unquestionably, the world’s leading electric vehicle producer also stands as a major player in the renewable energy sector within the United States. Indeed, Tesla’s future growth strategies rely heavily on its solar and energy storage business.
The inverter holds a pivotal role in any solar system setup, requiring the selection of a high-quality product due to its intricate nature.
Elon Musk has clearly articulated his intention to stimulate the expansion of Tesla’s solar and energy storage business in the approaching years. Therefore, the initiation of the Tesla Powerwall and inverter, a key component of Tesla’s home solar system, was a predictable move from the company.
So, what exactly does the Tesla solar inverter offer and how proficient is it?
Let’s delve into the specifics to understand better.
- What Is an Inverter?
- Solar Inverters
- The Tesla Solar Inverter – Features and Performance
- Main Features
- The Tesla App
- Looking For a Tesla Inverter?
- Tesla Inverter FAQ
What Is an Inverter?
If the concept of a solar inverter is new to you, fear not.
The experts at 8MSolar have you covered with all of your solar product needs. The Tesla Powerwall stores energy while the Tesla inverter (included with each Powerwall) converts direct current (DC) electricity, which is what a solar panel generates, to alternating current (AC) electricity, which the electrical grid uses.
A solar energy system is composed of two essential parts – solar panels and a solar inverter. A storage battery may also be included.
Solar panels collect solar energy and utilize photovoltaic cells to transform it into electricity. Nonetheless, this electricity is in direct current form while most household appliances operate on alternating current.
The solar inverter’s role is to change this direct current from the panels into alternating current by channeling it through a transformer.
The inverter also functions as the system’s central processing unit. It monitors the solar system’s power generation and aids in optimizing the output. The inverter also ensures safe system operation.
There are 5 different types of solar inverters, with the string inverter being a common choice for home solar systems due to its durability and affordability.
The Tesla Solar Inverter – Features and Performance
Prior to introducing its own inverters, Tesla employed SolarEdge and Delta inverters for its solar installations. It was the only major element of a solar installation package that they were not producing. Now they offer a comprehensive energy package to customers.
In general, utilizing devices from one vendor enhances system efficiency and software optimization. Having an in-house product also allows Tesla more control over the supply chain and the cost structure of its solar energy packages.
This aligns with Tesla’s goal of providing the most affordable solar energy package for homeowners. With control over all stages of the process – from solar cell manufacturing to system installation – Tesla can further reduce costs.
However, if you are anticipating revolutionary innovations from Tesla in this product, you might feel let down.
Regarding features and performance, the device is equivalent to market leaders. Despite Tesla incorporating some impressive features, the basic design of this inverter presents nothing new.
Take note, Tesla already has the Powerwall, a battery system that can be integrated with solar panels. The Powerwall includes a Tesla solar inverter for current conversion.
The Tesla solar inverter utilizes the tried-and-true string inverter technology.
In essence, the system comprises a mounted inverter box that groups the solar panels into a series circuit or multiple “strings”. Several strings are then linked to a single inverter that changes the direct current (DC) into alternating current (AC).
The advantages of the string design include ease of installation and lower costs. The wiring throughout the roof is also less complex, and fewer connection points render the system safer.
However, the series connectivity in the string system presents a downside. If one of the panels is shaded or damaged, it operates at lower capacity and impacts all the other panels across the string.
Additionally, panel-level optimization is not feasible with this design. Such optimization would have further enhanced the performance.
Tesla provides the inverter in 3.8 kW and 7.6 kW models. The 3.8 kW unit is designed for smaller solar units and the 7.6 kW is for medium-sized units. However, you can combine multiple inverters to accommodate the combined output of larger installations.
Note that Tesla does not offer custom solar power systems. So, you are offered small, medium, and large-size systems based on your energy usage.
Tesla assures that the inverter’s design ensures high efficiency and reliability. The inverter contains multiple MPPTs (Maximum Power Point Tracking) to ensure the solar panels provide the best output.
Each solar panel has a Maximum Power Point (MPP), a point where it delivers maximum power. The MPPT’s function is to keep the solar output always at the MPP. Each string will have an MPPT to ensure the best performance of the panels.
The 7.6 kW unit has 4 built-in MPPTs, a unique feature as most inverters in this category come with 2 MPPTs. This also provides additional flexibility with larger installations, particularly during solar roof installation.
The inverters also have a current rating of 13A, making them a good match for high capacity solar panels with outputs of 400W to 500W.
Interestingly, Tesla has only published select data about the inverter on its website. Here are some additional features of the inverter mentioned by Tesla.
These inverters can integrate with the Tesla Powerwall and Tesla app. The dimensions of both units are 26 in x 16 in x 6 in and the weight is 52 lbs. The device supports Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and 4G LTE connectivity. Tesla solar inverter CEC efficiency is 97.5% at 208 V and 97.5% at 240 V. The 3.8 kW panel has slightly higher efficiency, 98.0%, at 240 V. The efficiency of the inverters is on par with competitors. However, the highest efficiency for solar inverters in the market, 99%, is offered by SolarEdge.
The Tesla inverter also incorporates essential safety features. These include arc fault protection, ground fault protection, and rapid shutdown in case of emergencies. The unit also conforms to North American safety and EMI standards.
The Tesla App
The Tesla solar inverter app, or simply the Tesla app, offers a comprehensive overview of your solar power system and aids in real-time system monitoring. All the devices in the system, including the inverter, are connected to the app.
This connection creates a seamless interface between the performance of the solar panels, inverter operation, and energy storage. The user-friendly interface also allows Powerwall owners to customize the system based on user preferences.
Tesla is known to provide periodic updates for its products via WiFi or through the app. So you can anticipate updates for the inverter software in the future.
Tesla offers a longer warranty on the inverter than its competitors. The standard warranty in the market is ten years, but Tesla has extended it to 12.5 years. Nevertheless, it’s not the longest on the market.
Tesla solar panels come with a 25-year warranty, meaning the warranty on the Tesla inverter is precisely half that duration.
Bear in mind that the entire Tesla solar system is covered by a comprehensive 10-year warranty.
However, Tesla’s customer service has received some unfavorable reviews in recent years. Perhaps you can obtain feedback from existing customers in your area to find out more about Tesla solar inverter warranty service.
Tesla has not disclosed the exact price of their solar inverters. However, the overall price of their solar systems remains unchanged.
Looking For a Tesla Inverter?
If you’re a fan of Tesla and believe in their mission, the Tesla solar inverter is a good choice. But if you’re looking for a more advanced solar system with customizability, you might want to consider other options. If you are looking for a solar company in North Carolina give 8MSolar a call and we will be able to help provide you with options that best suit your needs.
Tesla Inverter FAQ
How efficient is the Tesla solar inverter?
The Tesla solar inverter’s efficiency stands at 97.5% for both 208 V and 240 V, which is on par with the competition. The maximum efficiency achieved by any solar inverter is 99%, provided by SolarEdge.
How can I check the performance of my Tesla solar inverter?
The performance of the inverter can be checked on the Tesla app. The app allows you to monitor the entire solar power system in real time.
How long is the warranty on the Tesla solar inverter?
Tesla provides a warranty of 12.5 years on the inverter, which is more than the market average of 10 years.
What does the Tesla solar inverter cost?
Tesla has not disclosed the individual price of the inverter. The total cost of the system would include the price of the solar inverter.