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What Is A Solar Inverter And Who This Is For?
A solar inverter converts the energy generated by the photovoltaic system into alternating current. This is the fundamental function of an inverter. It ‘converts’ or ‘inverts’ direct electric current into an alternating electric current, so that appliances and devices that rely on AC power will run.
The solar inverter should be able to maintain an efficiency rating of 100 percent or a rate that is close. You want the device to be able to convert most, if not all, the DC power into AC power. Hence, if you have a 1000-watt solar panel array, you will also want the solar inverter to produce 1000 watts of AC power.
A solar inverter should also be able to withstand the elements. It needs to have excellent corrosion resistance and protection against moisture and dust ingress. The device is also straightforward to install. It only takes one person to install the gadget and have the system up and running. Another essential characteristic of the top-rated solar inverter is that it has a means of tracking its performance. You should be able to have an idea of whether the system is performing according to your expectations or not.
The solar inverter is for anyone who would like to take advantage of the unlimited energy of the sun. It is also perfect for those who want to contribute to a cleaner environment. A solar inverter is also the right choice for households and businesses who want to save on energy expenditures in the long term.
How Does solar power inverter Work?
Inverters ‘convert’ direct current into alternating current. Most of the appliances we use today run on AC power, including television sets, desktop computers, microwave ovens, refrigerators, and many more. These require getting plugged into an electrical outlet.
The solar inverter’s job is to transform the energy stored in batteries into electricity that modern appliances can use. Instead of the devices getting electricity from your usual power grid, they will be using the electricity converted by the solar inverter, like a Fronius solar inverter.
Many consider the inverter to be the brain of a solar power system. The photovoltaic cells gather the energy coming from the sun. This energy gets ‘processed’ and stored in solar batteries as DC power. The DC electricity then moves to the solar inverter where it undergoes a complex procedure that transforms the direct current into an alternating one. From here, the AC power gets distributed to the rest of the house so you can plug your ordinary appliances.
Recent advances in the design of solar inverters now include the ability to monitor the performance of these devices. You can track their ability to produce AC power, so you will have a much clearer idea of the Efficiency of your system.
Knowing these things about how an inverter works, you will weigh your options well when figuring out which to choose, especially when reading reviews, like a Ouyad inverter review.
What Are The Different Types Of Solar Inverters?
Solar inverters often come in 5 different types. They mostly differ in their principal application as defined by their power capacity. When checking feedbacks and reviews, such as a Solis inverter review, you should also know the kind of solar inverter that you’re buying. Here’s a brief overview.
- String Inverters
These devices are the most common type of solar inverter. It got its name from the strings of solar panels that are connected to the device. This type of inverter is what we often see in many residential homes. One device is enough to convert the DC power generated by the solar system of the house into appliance-friendly AC power. One drawback of this design is that its AC power generating capabilities are only as good as the least productive solar panel in the string.
- Central Inverters
This type of solar inverter is almost like a string inverter. However, it has a larger power capacity. It is best used in commercial establishments or households with a massive power requirement. Another difference is that central inverters have a combiner box that ‘gathers’ the DC power coming from the solar panels and directs the power to the central inverter. The central inverter then converts the DC power to AC power.
Microinverters are small, often no bigger than a paperback book. This type of solar inverter gets connected straight onto each solar panel. If you have 20 solar panels, then you also have 20 solar microinverters. The main advantage of this device is that it can optimize the performance of each solar panel. Even if one solar panel is under the shade, it will not have a substantial effect on the overall power produced by the solar grid.
- Hybrid Inverters
Solar energy enthusiasts call these hybrid inverters as multi-mode solar inverters. It connects to a battery via a DC coupling technique, while also staying connected to the solar panels. The hybrid inverters are with sensitive electronics that manage the charge and discharge cycles of the battery. The inverter allows for the charging of the battery using energy from the solar panels or power from the electrical grid. In a way, hybrid inverters are a combination of a battery inverter and a string solar inverter.
- Battery Inverters
These inverters are perfect for motor homes that require a steady supply of electricity in their vehicles. The inverter converts battery DC power into usable AC electricity. It then moves this electricity to a switchboard to help power the different electrical appliances in the vehicle. This inverter is also useful for people living off the grid.
Advantages And Disadvantages Of Using A Solar Inverter
Getting a solar inverter for your solar system is a must just like what you would read in a Goodwe inverter review. Otherwise, it would be impossible to use the solar generated energy to power your AC appliances. That is why we shall be looking at the advantages of a solar inverter within the context of using a solar energy-generating system.
- Helps in the Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions
We have seen a 6-fold increase in carbon dioxide emissions from the 1950s to the first 2 decades of the 21st century. If there are no significant interventions taken by world governments, we cannot expect to see a world with cleaner air soon. Going solar is one of several ways we can reduce greenhouse gases. You will be relying on the energy of the sun and not from power plants that use fossil fuel.
- Provides Great Savings on Electricity in the Long Term
The initial cost of installing a solar inverter and a solar system can seem huge. However, these products are designed with exceptional durability. They can last many years that can translate into more significant energy savings. In a few years, the solar system will already pay for itself. The succeeding years of using the system will generate enough savings for you and your family.
- A More Cost-Effective Solution for Organizations and Small Businesses
Organizations and businesses can benefit a lot from central solar inverters. True, these technologies have an attractive price. However, they are very efficient in terms of producing energy. A single central inverter can generate power anywhere between 100 kilowatts and a few megawatts. Putting more than one central inverter can increase the power-generating potential of the establishment. This can translate to better management of the company’s resources and allow it to thrive better than the competition.
Based on reviews, such as a Solax inverter review, a solar inverter is an essential part of a solar energy-based system. While it can contribute to the ongoing movement for a cleaner environment, it does present a few disadvantages.
- Maybe Expensive in the Short Term
One obvious drawback of a solar inverter is the initial cost. This does not have to be the inverter alone. One must think about the entire photovoltaic system that can include solar panels, solar batteries, solar charge controllers, and other components necessary to produce clean and renewable energy. This is one disadvantage that is preventing some households from totally embracing the whole idea of going solar, as what you have read from a Solis inverters review.
- Still Dependent on the Sun
Solar inverters do not need the sun for them to convert DC power into AC power. However, the battery that runs these devices often requires solar energy. It is essential for solar cells, or any battery for that matter, to be fully charged before the solar inverter can efficiently do its job.
How We Picked And Tested
When reading posts, such as a Fronius inverter review, you might have been puzzled about how to choose the right one. Choosing the right solar inverters can be challenging for people who are new in the world of solar energy systems. In this section, we shall share with you how we picked the solar inverters that will undergo more in-depth testing and analysis. You can pick up a few pointers on how to choose and test your own set of solar inverters you are considering buying.
It is ideal that your solar inverter has the same wattage as your solar array. If you have 4 solar panels that can produce 220 watts each, then you will need a solar inverter that can produce almost the same level of energy. A solar inverter with a guaranteed power rating of 900 to 1000 watts should be ideal for such a setup. That is why we had to determine the actual efficiency ratings of the solar inverters we picked. This will help us provide a more appropriate recommendation as to what kind of solar set-up the device is best suited for.
- Peak Efficiency
No solar inverter has a 100% efficiency rating. The amount of power input is not always equal to that of the output. A device with a peak efficiency rating of 90 to 96 percent is already considered highly efficient. Of course, the nearer the figure is to 100 percent, the better it is in terms of converting solar DC power into AC electricity. It is for this reason that we had to test the individual efficiency rating of the different solar inverters we have shortlisted. We excluded any device that cannot meet the minimum 90% efficiency rating.
- Ease of Installation
We also looked at the overall design of the solar inverter. We think it would be best to get a solar inverter that a person can install himself without enlisting the help of another. The inclusion of mounting hardware and the availability of clear installation instructions are all crucial in this sense. We also favored systems with pre-wired designs. This eliminates the guesswork that many people with minimal knowledge about electrical wirings have.
We think that everyone deserves a system that will allow the person to monitor his production and consumption of solar energy. We have found devices that have web-based solar energy production monitoring programs. There are those that offer the versatility of mobile apps in the tracking of their solar energy production. These solar inverters also provide users with the chance to gauge their solar energy consumption. It will allow them to determine if it is already time for a significant upgrade or not yet.
The NEMA rating of a solar inverter is critical. This provides a measure of the device’s ability to stand up to the elements, mainly dust, corrosion, and extreme weather conditions. In the products we tested, we had to determine the NEMA rating. We also looked at the real-world performance of these devices as shared by users of the product who may live in different regions of the world.