What Is A Solar Power Inverter?

Tim Hamlin
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String Inverters

Solar panels produce direct current (DC) that does not work well with household appliances and are unsafe for batteries with numerous spikes and drops in voltage.

Micro-inverters are mounted on each panel and convert and regulate the voltage for that panel.

The inverter measures the true amount of power being generated by the panel, and adjusts power generation to optimize overall production from the array.

Micro-inverters make the most of the solar panels and are the most efficient systems.

The inverter also makes using batteries more efficient.

Micro-inverters feed the system up to 50% more power than traditional string inverters.

String Inverters have many rows of solar panels, along with a single inverter.

If any single panel is dirty, covered by snow, or shaded, it fails to generate electricity and lowers the overall output considerably.

Bulk power: typical inverters are unable to manage the massive amount of power generated by the panels.

String inverters work well for smaller solar systems, but can't be used for systems with more than 100 panels.

Micro-inverters are the best choice for anyone that wants a high-performing solar panel system.


Vs. central inverter

In order to follow the use of solar panels, you need to understand how they convert solar energy into electricity and how they are connected to the central grid via an inverter.

An inverter is the device that allows AC current produced by solar panels to be used in homes or commercial areas. There are two types of inverters, namely direct current (dc) and alternating current (ac).

This is the function of a dc inverter: the current that is produced through the solar panels is converted to dc through the inverter, which makes the use of the solar panels more convenient to use. However, the use of such an inverter will result in a shortage of energy because it is not stored well in batteries.

Unlike solar energy that is converted to dc, an ac inverter is one of the best ways of storing such energy as it can easily be stored in batteries or can also be used in your home.

By using these two basic types of an inverter, you can enjoy a high-quality inverter that requires no maintenance.

Having an ac inverter, however, gives you the option of having a grid-tied system that is connected to your nearest main electrical grid. The ac inverter is also useful as it can also supply emergency power when there is a power outage in the main grid.

Power optimizers

A solar power inverter or a power optimizer is a device used in solar panels. It is made up of semiconductors that convert DC power from the panels to AC power with a higher voltage. This means that you can plug devices into the inverter through the power outlet just as you would with your home.

Power optimization improves the solar panels’ efficiency by boosting DC power to a higher voltage. This can increase your solar panels’ output by 5 to 10 percent. Power optimizers also come with a controller and settings that allow you to optimize efficiency and voltage input.

AC standard electric transmission is at 120 volts per phase. That voltage fluctuates too when output is lower than the expected standards. Power optimizers allow you to stabilize the voltage at about 280 volts.

In a nutshell, power optimizers—more or less—give the same electricity as the utility grid but for a lesser amount.


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Battery Inverters

Many solar power companies will offer you an inverter made by the same company that manufactured your solar panels. This may seem like an advantageous deal in the short term, but take a step back and think about your energy needs a year or five years from now.

Solar power companies will inherently recommend their own products because they are maximizing profits by selling you an inverter, and panels, made by the same company. It sounds good on the sales floor, but if you look at your needs in the long term, will your panels and inverter work together?

For example: When the panels no longer store enough energy, will your panels and the inverter have the ability to connect to an off-grid generator?

A Full-Wave Inverter converts the DC (direct current) outputted from your solar panels to AC (alternating current) that runs all your household appliances.

The best choice you can make, is to go with an independent company that provides you with quality products and has a very knowledgeable staff. That’s why BINDER AG, the largest family-owned company in the renewable energy business, has used SkyGen Solar inverters for over 8 years with outstanding results.

How to choose the best inverter system for your home

An inverter is used in a photovoltaic system to convert the direct current (DC) power generated by solar cells into an alternating current (AC) form that can be stored in the home power grid or used by appliances.

As shown in Figure 1, an inverter consists of a power conversion circuit and an electronic circuit. The power conversion circuit is responsible for converting the voltage from DC into a specified AC voltage suitable for use in household appliances or in the power grid.

Perhaps you bought a solar electric system to reduce your utility bill or to help the environment. Besides the capital cost of the system itself, there are other costs you need to consider including installation, maintenance, operation, and replacement of modules or the whole system in 15 to 25 years. With an accurate estimation of all costs, you can make a more informed decision.

The inverter is a vital part of a photovoltaic system, yet other than its costs, you may not consider any other factors when deciding on what to buy. Obviously, you need to know its capacity- do you want to run the air conditioning off your system or have the power to work on your laptop? However, there are other factors in choosing the right inverter that you should be aware of beyond its capacity.

The type, brand, and age of the inverter is not as important as how you plan to use at home and the way you would like to monitor your inverter.

Factors need to be considered about solar inverter

Solar inverters are crucial parts of large solar power systems.

They change the high volt DC voltage of the solar panels to safe, low voltage household current needed for home use.

The new inverters are higher performing than those used in the past, but due to the complexity of the systems, it is hard to estimate inverter efficiency overall.

The inverters usually comprise ten percent to twenty five percent of the whole system cost.

Inbuilt sensors and control mechanisms, in today’s inverters, are able to prevent overload and open circuit in most circumstances.

They require no maintenance except for securing them against strong winds and dispersing them from flash flood.

They are also housed in resistant cases made of aluminium or stainless steel.

Most of the inverters last at least 25 years and even longer in the best models.

They also need a steady flow of low DC voltage to keep functioning. This is why it is necessary to have an AC/DC adapter that stabilizes various voltages coming out from the solar panels.

Selecting the right company of solar inverter

Solar inverters are one among the necessary components of a solar power system. These inverters can be classified as grid-tied and stand alone. Basing on the type of solar power inverter, one can decide how to buy a good inverter. The average cost of a solar power inverter varies with its category, wattage, and its uniqueness. Due to the existence of popular brands, one can opt for an inverter based on its features.

Like every other inverter, solar inverter is also a device that converts direct current into alternating current. Based on the cost and wattage of the inverter, one can buy it. Based on the conversion or transformation of direct into alternating, the inverter can be categorized as single or three phase inverters. These inverters can be purchased by considering the No. of panels of the solar power system.

Thinking outside the box is important for us to develop and grow creatively.

Lets face it: we are “hard wired” differently than our ancestors.

They were hunters and gatherers; we are the “cave men” that sit at a desk all day.

They were outside every day; we spend hours at a time working indoors.

They had their physical needs met so could fulfill their tasks; we do not have those luxuries.

Final Thoughts

If you have solar panels and need a device that can take the power and convert it in to something that can work with your electric or plug-in system then you need a solar panel system inverter.

Solar System inverters have different functions, but they all generally do the same thing. They take the power from the sun and turn it into usable power for your device.

There are different kinds of solar inverters such as off-grid and grid-tie. It is when you get into these that you will really start to get a good look at what they are and how they are used. For now, we will settle on giving you a general idea and you can do more research on your own.

The way that these inverters work is a collection of solar cells is used to take the power from the sun and convert it into usable power. Since the cells work together as some sort of a large scale structure they can do this much more efficiently than if you were doing it by yourself. That is when you will really see the power of solar inverters.

Depending on what kind of inverter you have, it may have different functions. Some will actually store the power and then slowly release it to give you longer use. Other inverters will directly take the power and give it to your device in the way that is needed to use it.