Not all Solar Systems are the same, is the topic of my concern.  

I’m not a writer, so forgive me if my grammar is bad.  I’m an expert in electrical and solar systems.  That’s my area of expertise.

Recently I was speaking to a local builder in Costa Rica.  We were discussing solar systems in Costa Rica and this builder made a very concerning statement. Well, he actually made several statements that were concerning. For that reason, I decided to write about this experience and maybe as a warning to some potential clients looking to find a builder. Let me be clear that I have been in contact with and worked with many great builders and architects in Costa Rica.  There are good and bad in all industries.  So with that in mind, let’s start by breaking some of these statements down with an explanation as to why they are concerning to me.

1.  He stated, “All solar inverters are the same, they just have a different prices”. Well this statement was easy to debunk.  For example let’s take cars into consideration.  Some cars are 4×4 and some are not.  4×4 vehicles usually serve a different purpose then a 2 wheel vehicle.  We all know and understand why we use one or the other in a specific application.  I tried explaining this to him but it went right over his head, or he just didn’t care about selling the wrong product to his clients.  With inverters they need to be properly chosen for the type of application and sized for the equipment they will be providing energy to.  There are many different features between different inverters.  When the power fails do you want an UPS style backup which is instantaneous or backup power that operates after 3 seconds?  Generally speaking, do you want to reset the clocks in your house after every power failure, or turn on the AC units again when the power shuts off.  These are important options to most people.  These are big differences in the types of inverters in the market.  Then there is the next obvious question, do you actually want or need battery power backup.  Buying the wrong inverter at the beginning can cost you far more in the end if you have to change it out when you can’t have battery backup with it. Also do you want to sell power back to the grid?  Not all inverters are capable of doing this.  So don’t ever let someone tell you that all inverters are the same except for cost. It’s true that when you add value with better and more features the costs do go up.  That’s a no brainer.  It’s the same as with buying a car.  Different features cost more. 4×4 cars are generally more costly than 2 wheel drive cars are but they serve a different purpose. 

2. This builder told me that “the clients don’t know the difference so why should he care”. 

This statement is alarming for so many reasons.  Well this also may be true but it’s their responsibility to inform you as a client.  If they are not able to educate you properly regarding the inverter differences, or if you need battery backup then they should ask an export.  If they are not telling you the differences of the solar systems available then what other things are they keeping from you?   Builders are often experts in their particular trades but not everyone is an expert at all trades.  It would be better if you yourself asked an exports opinion.  Get all the information needed so that you can get the proper system installed for your application.

3.  His next statement was “these systems are super simple”. Well there is some truth to this statement as I’m an export, and I do find some systems very simple.  He’s correct that there can be super simple solar systems installed but these systems don’t offer much

in the way of protections, warranty, quality or features that others systems offer. Warranties are different.  10 years vs. 1 year, which do you think is a better product?   Is the warranty actually usable here in Costa Rica? Then there are features like I mentioned earlier with power transfer timing.  Does the system operate like a UPS or does it transfer in 3 seconds.  Is the inverter able to handle loads like AC units or maybe pool pumps, water pumps or other large loads?  These are important features to most clients.  Does the inverter have the capability to operate high current loads on a regular bases without tripping out and causing the client costly problems.  Do the batteries and inverter have closed loop communications to protect the batteries from overcharging and rendering them useless?  Another very important feature is a monitoring platform that you can monitor your system from anywhere. The low cost “simple” systems don’t often offer a good monitoring system if they offer any at all.  Anyone can sell you the lowest cost inverter, but will it be the right inverter for you?  

So in short, if you are considering solar, ask questions, get all the information you can and read the spec sheets of the equipment offered to you.  If you don’t understand the spec sheets, ask someone to explain it to you. I would be happy to help you with this. I take the time to educate my clients so that they are able to make good decisions based on the facts about the system.  I don’t want you to have problems with your system.  It’s better to design the proper system from the start. If you want more information you can reach me at 506 6330-5137 what’s app.  Or email me at you can also follow me at Sunny Side Solar Solutions facebook page to read my weekly articles on many different solar topics. These same topics can be read at my facebook group at Costa Rica Solar Installation Reviews along with other important information related to solar.