The solar inverter is a box, that converts solar panel output from DC to AC electricity, which is suitable for use by home appliances and feeding into the mains grid. The problem with solar inverters is that while they are arguably the most crucial component of any solar power system, as without a functioning inverter your panels won’t work. They are subject to high and varying voltage levels, high temperature ranges and moisture and dust. The inverter is the component that is most likely to fail and thus typically have lesser warranty periods than solar panels.
So yes, the quality of the inverter does matter, as not all inverters are equal. Moisture and dust exposure can impact the seal of the inverter, causing shoddy circuitry and may heat up the inverter, which then impacts the efficiency and the serviceable life of the unit.
Look at the company’s history and reputation, see if others have given good reviews on the brand, what is their expertise and how long have they been around? Inverters are liable to fail so make sure they have a good track-record and sometimes the most expensive inverters are not necessarily the best quality either.
Although most grid connected inverters are weather proof, check the IP rating of the inverter, make sure it is rated for the climate in your area, this would ensure it will perform better and last longer as it is protected from heat and weather.
Solar inverters typically have warranties ranging from 5-12 years, though most now offer 8-10 years warranty minimum. Solar inverters are notorious for being the most fragile component whilst being the most important, so it’s better to be safe to ensure east of mind.
It is important to set your expectations for the future, some inverters may not allow mix-matching of panels, meaning you may have to buy a new one. It is recommended to install as much panels as you can, and have a inverter with the capacity to match it. A good solution to consider is a MPPT inverter. These allow you to add additional solar PV arrays at a later date or to install arrays at different orientations.
One last thing, ensure the manufacturer have an Australian office as this makes sure you can easily get a new one in case you experience any faults.