Oct.2023 10
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What is a Solar Inverter and How Does It Work?
Solar inverters are an essential part of any solar power system. They convert the direct current (DC) power produced by photovoltaic solar panels into alternating current (AC) electricity that powers the appliances and devices in most homes and businesses.

Choosing the correct solar inverter can be confusing, especially for beginners. This article explains solar inverter basics, including their functions, types, and applications. We’ll walk you through the alternatives and recommend the leading solar inverter options on the market to help make your decision easy. 

What is a Solar Inverter?

A solar inverter is essential to any solar power system. It converts the direct current (DC) electricity your photovoltaic (PV) solar panels produce into alternating current (AC) electricity, the type of electricity used in your home. An inverter is a balance of system components built into many solar generators or installed between your solar panels and your home’s electrical panel. 

Inverters also have several other essential functions, such as monitoring and optimizing the performance of your solar panels. In off-grid solar power systems, the energy converted into AC electricity by an inverter is stored in a solar battery. Without a solar inverter, the electricity produced by your solar panels would be unusable. 

Solar inverters are a vital component of any solar power system. Without one,  you can’t use the clean, renewable energy your panels produce to power your home.

What Do Inverters Do?

Inverters are devices that convert direct current (DC) electricity into alternating current (AC) electricity. The difference between DC vs. AC electricity comes down to a difference in conversion to higher or lower voltages, and inverters assist with that.

Inverters have a wide range of applications in solar power, battery backup, and renewable energy systems. Besides conversion, they optimize electrical system performance.

In solar power systems, inverters convert DC electricity into AC electricity for homes and businesses. Some solar systems include built-in inverters, others require purchasing an inverter separately.

When used in battery backup systems, they allow for storing excess electricity in batteries during power outages or when renewable energy sources are unavailable. 

In non-solar renewable energy systems, inverters convert electricity from wind turbines and hydroelectric generators into usable AC electricity. Inverters are essential in converting and distributing electricity.

Input and Output

Solar inverters have two primary input and output connections: the DC input from the photovoltaic panels and the AC output to your solar battery (or home electrical panel for grid-tied solar systems). 

Types of Solar Inverters

The best type of solar inverter depends on how you’ve wired the panels to each other and your home. 

String Inverters

String inverters are the original solar inverter technology and often the cheapest option. They convert the DC power from an entire string of panels into AC power for your home.

Shade — such as from trees obscuring part of your roof — is the biggest downfall with string inverters. When you have panels wired in strings, if one panel isn’t receiving sunlight (or is damaged), it will reduce the output of the entire array. Additionally, your solar power system won’t function if a string inverter goes down.

Micro Inverters

Micro inverters are a more recent technology. Smaller inverters attached to each solar panel convert the DC power to AC electricity before sending it to the balance of the system.

According to researchers at the University of Virginia, a system that uses micro inverters is 27% more efficient than string inverters. It works better for roofs with varying angles or shaded spots, as the power produced by each panel is not dependent on the others. Micro inverters cost more than string inverters for the initial installation, but the increased efficiency will likely pay off in the long run.

Power Optimizers

Power optimizers are similar to micro-inverters, with an inverter attached to the back of each photovoltaic panel. However, they do not convert the DC power to AC.

Instead, they standardize the DC power produced by each panel. The entire array is then connected in a string and sent through a string inverter. Power optimizers are also often referred to as DC optimizers or DC converters.

Hybrid Inverters

Hybrid inverters allow homeowners to utilize off-grid and on-grid power. They work exceptionally well with home battery backup.

A hybrid inverter can still convert the DC power from your solar array into AC power for your home. In addition, hybrid inverters can also convert AC power from the grid into DC power to charge your battery bank.

What Is the Right Size Solar Inverter?

Choosing the right size solar inverter is critical to ensure that your system is efficient and effective. The best size will depend on your solar power system size and your energy needs.

It’s essential to choose an inverter that is large enough to handle the output of your solar panels but not so large that you are wasting money on excess capacity. If you choose an inverter that’s too small, it may not be able to handle the output of your PV panels, leading to reduced performance and efficiency. 

On the other hand, if you choose an inverter that’s too large, you’ll be paying for excess capacity that you don’t need. 

Contact us if you need to know more about the solar inverter, and the solar energy system.
Email: [email protected]
Website: www.solarcarry.com

To determine the correct size solar inverter for your system, it’s a good idea to consult with a solar installation professional or use an online inverter size calculator to help you determine the best size for your specific energy needs.

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