When the topic of solar systems arises, most people picture a house with a bunch of solar panels on top of the roof. However, a solar system is much more complex than that, and there are a couple of behind-the-scenes parts that are as, if not more important than the solar panels themselves – the inverter being one of them. The solar power inverter is the brains behind the entire operation, making it the most important part. Its purpose is pretty straightforward – to convert DC into AC. AC is the standard current used by every appliance, which is why the inverter plays such an important role in the solar system.
Inverter technologies have come a long way, so not only do they convert DC to AC, they also provide a number of other services to ensure that the entire solar system operates optimally. Things such as advance utility controls, data monitoring and system design engineering are all just some of the tasks a solar panel power inverter can perform. That being said, properly maintaining and servicing the inverter also plays a crucial role in the longevity of your solar system. This includes preventative maintenance and MTTR.
There are three types of solar inverters, and depending on the type of solar system you’re looking to install within your home, your choice will vary. The three types include off-grid inverters, grid-tie inverters and battery backup inverters. Off-grid inverters are used in solar systems that aren’t tied to the grid, which generally occurs in remote areas with no access to the grid. Grid-tie inverters feed power into the electrical grid by corresponding frequency and phase. Battery backup inverters are specifically designed to draw energy from solar batteries, and they have the ability to provide power to specific loads during power outages.
When deciding on the best type of solar panel power inverter, you need to consider a couple of factors, including the size, efficiency and warranty. In terms of size, it’s quite simple – if you have a 3kW solar system, you need a 3kW inverter. Some people advise that you go for an undersized inverter to account for energy degradation, while others advise going for an oversized inverter so that if you add extra panels in the future your needs are met.
In terms of efficiency, a quality solar inverter successfully converts about 90% or more DC to AC. The energy that’s not converter is released in heat, which is why you should be looking for quality. Speaking of quality, the inverter should come with a 5-10 year warranty on the unit itself, and another 10 years on the installation workmanship. Typically, you’ll be able to pay extra for an extended warranty.