Solar-Panel-Inverter

Inverter – The Heart of Solar System

You probably already know that solar energy is generated due to solar panels or photovoltaic modules. The solar panel is made of solar cells that absorb the sunlight and turn it into DC. However, this DC power would be of no use for any load without a solar inverter. 

 

Solar Power Inverter 

But what is an inverter? A solar power inverter is an essential part of the solar power system. Its main role is to convert the DC into the AC. A power inverter requires a comparably stable DC power source for proper functioning. The design and the purpose of the inverter depends on the input voltage which can vary from 12 V DC to hundreds and thousands of volts. A typical home power system is of 24, 36 or 48 V DC. 

Inverter and Power Grid 

There are two types of solar power inverters; grid tie inverter and off – grid inverter. The difference between them is that an off – grid inverter requires a battery bank to function, while the grid tie inverter doesn’t need one. It takes the DC from solar panels and converts it into the AC. It is connected to the local grid with transmission lines. This device is used not only for power conversion but also to transmit the excess energy to the electricity grid and get credits instead. 

Companies 

Today there are numerous solar system manufacturing companies. It is hard to say which one produces the best power inverter suitable for your appliances and budget, but most of these companies ensure a high level of performance of their production.  When checking the solar system market, you will notice that an average solar panel comes with 20-25 years’ warranty, while a power inverter will have only 10 years’ warranty. The reason is that solar panels perform only when there is sunshine available, whereas the inverters may function permanently. 

Market 

Contemporary solar power markets propose various world-famous brands of power inverters. Examples include;

solaredge inverter

harbor freight inverter

xantrex inverter

magnum inverter

ryobi inverter

sunny boy inverter

dewalt power inverter

victron inverter

samlex inverter

fronius inverter and other. 

To figure out which is the best inverter for your own area you should consult a specialist. 

Inverter Types

A solar panel array can consist of two types of inverters; a string inverter and a micro inverter.

String inverters are suitable for connecting 6-10 solar panels. Depending on your system requirements one or maximum two inverters are generally enough for a residential installation. The advantage of string inverters are as follows;

The price. String inverters are comparably affordable. An average house load requires not more than two string inverters to be installed. It usually comes with a 10 years warranty. The proper maintenance will insure good performance of the device for the mentioned period. With “proper maintenance” the correct installation in a suitable location is assumed. It should be installed out of direct sunshine, in a cool space, with permanent air ventilation. 

Design. String inverters are fast to install. They are usually manufactured in simplest form so that an average user can handle their maintenance. The flexibility of string inverters allows them to be used in almost all situations.   

The disadvantage of string inverters is the structure dependency. If one of the panels fails to perform due to some reason, it will affect the whole system. The system will either malfunction, or it may shut down at all. 

Reliability. In comparison with string inverters micro inverters are more reliable. The difference is that micro inverters are directly connected to the solar panel, whereas string inverters are connected to the array of solar panels through strings. In case of a micro inverter each solar panel has its own micro inverter, so if one panel is underperforming it will not affect the whole system. 

Flexibility. With micro inverters your choice of solar system installation is expanded. If your rooftop has several surfaces, or some of the solar panels need to be installed on the ground the micro inverter will facilitate the work. Also, if you need to expand your system, it is much easier to do with micro inverters. 

The disadvantage of this type of inverter is the price. As each panel requires its own micro inverter you will have to pay more than in case of string inverter. If one or two string inverters are enough for a bunch of solar panels, with micro inverters it is different. The more solar panels are required for your house loads, the more micro inverters must be attached to them. 

Author of the article: Helen Kocharyan

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