SolarEdge HD Wave Review
The World’s Smallest And Most Efficient String Inverter
SolarEdge, an Israeli company, has produced the HD Wave — the world’s smallest string inverter. By size, this little cracker takes more DC than any inverter out there. Not only that, but it grabs DC, uses its funky HD wave technology on it, and spurts out the AC our homes use with greater efficiency than anything else on the market. And it’s now available in India and you can buy from OrnateSolar in Best Price range, Official Distributor in India, starting from a couple of weeks ago.
HD Wave Technical Specs
Here is a somewhat boring table from the HD Wave’s datasheet I smooshed together a little so people using smartphones will have a chance of being able to read it:
HD Wave Technology
Here is a diagram of the HD Wave with its cover off, brazenly displaying its electronics to the world:
One reason it is so much smaller than other inverters is because it uses thin-film capacitors instead of larger electrolytic ones. Besides being less bulky, SolarEdge says the thin-film ones are more reliable. This is not an unreasonable claim and I certainly hope they are correct, but we’ll have to wait and see.
SolarEdge also says it has 16 times less magnetics. Inverters take non-wavy DC power and turn it into wavy AC power. To get the waves right, inverters use magnetics, which are big copper coils, to smooth it out.
SolarEdge’s Efficiency Is The Best
The SolarEdge HD Wave has the highest efficiency of any inverter available. It’s datasheet says its European weighted efficiency is 98.3% for the smallest 2.2 kilowatt one, 98.8% for the 3 to 4 kilowatt ones, and 99% for those that are 5 and 6 kilowatts. In comparison with two other top of the line inverters, the same figure for the 5 kilowatt SMA Sunny Boy 5000TL is 96.5% and the 4.6 kilowatt Fronius Primo 4.6-1 is 96.3%.
It’s high efficiency means that, all else equal, it will produce roughly 2-3% more electricity than most other new inverters. This is clearly an advantage for those who want to get the most out of their system. But note that maxing out your solar panel capacity in relation to your inverter capacity, so it is as close to being one-third larger than the inverter’s capacity as possible, is usually the most cost-effective step for increasing a system’s overall energy production.
High Efficiency Means Less Heat
The higher an inverter’s efficiency the less waste heat it produces and the HD Wave produces less than one-third as much heat per kilowatt-hour of AC electricity output than the competition. All else equal, this means the HD Wave should operate at a lower temperature than other inverters.
But all else is not equal.
Only counting the actual inverter and not the DC isolator switch stuck at the bottom, the HD Wave is roughly half the size of comparable inverters, which means the heat it does produce is packed inside half the space. Also, unlike some inverters, it doesn’t have fans to provide active cooling. So while I expect it to run a little cooler than other inverters, I don’t expect too much of a difference.