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What are solar inverters?

by | 30 Oct 2020

  • Solar inverters are another major part of a solar PV system
  • Generated electricity from solar panels get converted by solar inverters
  • Familiarize yourself with some solar inverter brands

Introduction to solar inverters.

We learnt that solar panels generate electricity from sunlight in our previous article. And this is in the form of direct current (DC) electricity.

Home appliances on the other hand, use alternating current (AC) electricity.
To convert DC to AC electricity, is the task of a solar inverter.

What are solar inverters - converting dc to ac electricity

What makes solar inverters so important?

It is the heart of a solar PV system; taking in DC electricity and converting it to AC electricity every day. This day-to-day task of electricity conversion will slowly toll away any electrical device’s life though, so it would be in your best interest to get the best made solar inverter your budget allows. As a faulty solar inverter would most likely result in no conversion of electricity.

What are solar inverters - installation at a home

Solar inverter pricing.

The pricing constitutes to about 10-20% of the complete total bill of a solar PV system. I would advise spending as much as your budget allows for a good quality solar inverter. For a good build quality but also the extra features. Among the features you should be looking out for are network enabled, anti-islanding and maximum power point tracking (MPPT).

Network enabled solar inverter’s data to be sent out, like inverter health, PV generation and more – so long as an internet connection is available.

Anti-islanding is a safety feature whereby the solar inverter will shut itself off in the event of a power outage. This helps prevents injuries and potential electrical hazards.

Maximum power point tracking (MPPT) is a feature that optimizes the amount of solar energy generated and allows for additional solar panels to be installed later for upsizing purposes.

Types of solar inverters.

Common types of solar inverters include string, micro and hybrid inverters. While each type of solar inverter has its own functionality, most residential solar PV systems utilize string (inexpensive, marginally lower electricity output) or micro inverters (marginally more expensive, higher electricity output). While hybrid inverters are utilized when there is a form of energy storage in the system like a lithium-ion battery.

solar mounting racks - solar pv system 3

Solar panel brands.

With that, we conclude this part of the DISCOVER SERIES on solar inverters. If I could part some knowledge with you is that solar inverter warranties are shorter than those usually given for a solar panel. It would be advisable to get an extended warranty or a coverage plan if possible for your solar inverter – it’s worth it. Until next time and thank you for reading!

Conclusion.

With that, we conclude this part of the DISCOVER SERIES on solar mounting / racking systems. Don’t forget to ask for workmanship warranty if you’re having a solar PV installed. It would be advisable to get an extended warranty or a coverage plan if possible for your solar PV system– it’s worth it. Until next time and thank you for reading!

This is part of the DISCOVER SERIES.

Our DISCOVER SERIES: Solar PV Systems articles are filled with basic information in an easy-to-understand format to get you knowing more about solar power systems quickly. Here’s the complete series:

What are solar power systems and how they work?

What are solar panels?

What are solar inverters?

What are solar cables & wiring?

What are solar mounting & racks?

What is a combiner box?

What is AC and DC electricity?

*T&C where applies. The views expressed by the author, are of the author’s own and do not represent the opinions of any entity with which the author have been, am now, or will be affiliated.

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