Inverter Review

I've mounted, wired, and commissioned probably a couple hundred inverters made by several manufacturers, and on top of that, I've also troubleshot a fair share.

With that experience, I can tell you what I think are the best inverters for your grid-tied installation.  This is my unbiased opinion, and what's factored in most is which ones seem to require the least attention once they're installed.

Most inverters have a lifetime expectancy of 10-15 years, provided they're not installed in a bad place or the system they're connected to is the right size.  None of the inverters that I've installed have been working for that long, so I can't tell you if any of these will exceed those expectations, but some inverters seem a bit more durable than the others, based on my troubleshooting records.

Here are my reviews of the 4 most common inverter manufacturers.
These are listed in order of least to most preferred.

These things are kind of cheap and they break frequently.  Sunpower used to sell them as part of the system with their panels, but that didn't last, because they had to recall a whole bunch of them.

These are made in the United States, which is nice.  But they do seem a little cheap, and their commerical inverters have a tendency to break (their cores go bad, it's a common problem).

Also built in the USA, these guys are reliable and easy to swap out parts if something goes wrong so that you don't have to re-install the whole thing.

These are by far the most durable of all inverters available on the market, as far as I can tell.  I've never had to replace or repair one.  The solid-state ones are really heavy, and that's because their built-in transformers weigh a ton! (actually about 150 lbs).  That said, I typically recommend these before any of the other inverters because I trust them to last.

You should really do your own research about inverters, as well.  Links to all of the various manufacturers are listed above in their names.  Efficiency is just as important as durability, and with none in the field actually installed for the duration of their lifetime expectancies, it's really anyone's guess as to which will last the longest.  My guess is the SMA transformerless inverters.

See Also: 
Inverter Placement