Do you have a solar panel system? Then the need for an inverter for solar panels is very important. But the solar power system is made up of more than those panels. One of its most important elements is the inverter.
If you want a stable and long-lasting solar power system, it is important that you have a high-quality inverter system with an efficient cooling system. This will ensure proper distribution of current throughout your home and also help your machines work properly.
What is an Inverter?
The inverter is a complex device that is at the center of your solar PV system. Its main function is to convert electricity. The inverter converts the variable direct current (DC) generated by a solar panel system into alternating current (AC). This AC electricity then can be used to operate your home appliances.
When choosing an inverter for your home, choose a reliable one that can handle a wide variety of loads without wasting too much energy. It should be able to protect your devices from high energy surges and overloads. If you can choose the right kind of inverter, it will last you for decades and provide safety as well.
Why do you need an inverter for solar panels?
The inverter is critical for the conversion of the energy collected from the panels to a power source. In the solar panel system, the inverter works as an intermediary between the panels and your household devices.
Although an inverter looks like a simple box with two switches, but inside it has a whole world of function. A good inverter can cope with broad variations of input and output. It can provide power to your refrigerators, heater as well as your mobile chargers and night lights. Besides, some inverters also provide battery backup charging and can feed excess power into the main grid.
In a solar power system, the inverter works as a power adapter. It converts DC power to AC power and also changes the voltage. It enables solar energy to power your home electrical devices through conventional home wiring.
Types of Inverters used in Solar Panels
Currently, there are three different types of inverters that you can choose for your home solar panel system. I am supplying the pros and cons of each to help you decide which one will be the best option for you:
A string inverter also known as a central inverter is one single device that will accumulate all the DC power generated by each of your panels and convert them to AC power. They are generally located on the side of your house and can be accessed easily for repair, maintenance, and monitoring.
- Reliable and cost-effective choice
- Easy to maintain and monitor
- Less efficient at utilizing solar energy
- Shade in one panel will cut the entire power output.
- Does not offer panel-wise monitoring.
Power Optimizers positioned behind each panel work in combination with a string inverter to convert DC to AC. This is done by conditioning the DC electricity from each panel and sending that to the string inverter to convert it to AC electricity.
- Provide panel-level monitoring
- Less expensive than microinverters
- Needs an additional power optimizer to expand the system
- Placed on the roof so difficult to repair and maintain
They are placed at the back of each solar panel, and they work by converting DC to AC directly on spot. They are the latest solar technology and have the maximum solar energy optimization power.
- No impact of shading on a single panel
- Provide panel-wise monitoring
- More expensive than string and power optimizers.
- Placed on the roof so difficult to repair and maintain
What factors should you consider when getting a Solar Inverter?
Since the inverter is such an important part of your solar panel system, you must consider these factors to choose the most suitable one for you:
1. Output Voltage Stability
Your solar inverter should provide stability in case of power fluctuations. When the input voltage varies, the output voltage should not deviate more than 10% of the rated value.
2. Waveform Alteration
For sine wave solar inverters the total waveform alteration of the output voltage should not exceed 5% which will ensure the safety of your electrical equipment and keep up the operational efficiency of the system.
3. Output Frequency
The too-high or too-low frequency will cause reduced efficiency of equipment since their optimal frequency is 50Hz. Hence, the output frequency of your solar inverter should have a stable value with less than a 1% deviation.
For a good solar panel system, a high-efficiency inverter should be selected which means the ratio of output power to input power under specified working conditions should be above 85%. This will optimize the performance of your PV system and improve the cost performance.
Can a solar panel system run without an inverter?
It is possible to run your solar panel system without an inverter if your home appliances run on DC power only. From the above discussion, we know solar energy produces DC current. Hence your DC-powered tv, lights, air-conditioner, and other appliances, can work via direct DC power generated by the solar panels without an inverter.
Usually, in an off-grid setup, a charge controller or a DC-to-DC converter is connected to the solar panels instead of an inverter. The charge controllers can generate suitable voltage outputs to run your home devices.
The inverter is an important part of your solar panel system, so in my opinion, it is very essential that you choose an inverter that is reliable and suitable for the needs of your PV system. For your off-grid setup, you can opt not to use an inverter and use charge controllers instead.
The rising demand for solar panels throughout America shows that getting a solar panel system for your home is worth the investment. Solar power can significantly reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and decrease our carbon emissions. With declining costs and lucrative tax incentives, now is the right time to put a solar panel system in your homes
Read Also: Do Solar Panels Make Noise?
- Inverters transform solar DC power to AC power.
- Different types of inverters are available.
- It is important to choose the correct inverter system for your home.
What size inverter do I need for solar panels?
Answer: The size of your inverter should be parallel to the DC rating of your solar panel system. For example, if you have a 5-kilowatt (kW) system, the size of your inverter can be around 5000 W, plus or minus a small percentage.