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Solar Panel Inverters

Learn more about what Solar Panel Inverters do

What are solar panel inverters? What are they good for?

Solar Panel inverters are used primarily to change direct current to alternating current via an electrical switching process. You can think of inverters used with solar panels as electronically synthesized alternators.

Types of Solar Panel Inverters

There are three types of solar panel inverters:

  • Stand-Alone Solar Panel Inverters
  • Synchronous Solar Panel Inverters
  • Multi-function Solar Panel Inverters

Stand-Alone Solar Panel Inverters

Stand Alone solar panel inverters function to change direct current (DC) from a battery to Alternating Current (AC). Stand alone inverters, which range from around 100 watts to as much as 8000 watts, are used to power a vast variety of personal or small business projects. Lower watt stand-alone inverters are often used to power laptop computers, whereas high-watt stand-alone inverters could be used to help power an entire household. In order to calculate what class of inverter you need for use with your solar panel, you will first have to determine the maximum sum of all of the Alternating Current loads in your project (or home).

How to calculate the wattage you need from your stand-alone solar panel inverter

  • AC-Load Dryer
  • +AC-Load Laptop
  • +AC-Load Iron

  • =Total AC Load

This is the wattage you need from your stand alone solar panel inverter.

You can usually find the wattage rating on your home appliances by checking the power cable. The sum of these wattage ratings is what you need to determine the wattage you need from your solar panel stand-alone inverter.

Surge-Compliant Stand-Alone Inverters

It is important to purchase a quality stand-alone inverter that has a built-in ability to surge if you are using heavy equipment, power tools, or automatic washers, dryers, and dishwashers. These appliances and equipment require a surge on start up, which your stand-alone inverter must be able to supply if you are planning to use these appliances.

Synchronous Solar Panel Inverters

The term Synchronous Solar Panel Inverters arises from the synchronous dynamic that such a system creates between the utility company and a personal solar-panel installation. Synchronous Solar Panel Inverters allow power generated by your solar panels to be stored in battery. If there is an excess (meaning you did not use as much power as you produced), the power is sold back to the utility company at the same rate at which you are charged!

On the other hand, if your solar panels are unable to provide you with the power you need, your Synchronous Solar Panel Inverter will allow the utility company to supply power to make up the difference. The advantages of a Synchronous Solar Panel Inverter are many, as you can see. This Synchronous Solar Panel Inverter system is quite useful - your batteries will provide you with energy during the utility company's power outages, and on bleak, rainy days, you won't have to worry about your solar panels performance, because any power you need will be supplied by the utility company via your Synchronous Solar Panel Inverter.

A final advantage of Synchronous Solar Panel Inverters is that you will not have to precisely calculate your Alternating Current load in order to set up the system. It is only necessary if you want to have complete reliance on solar panel in most scenarios, but if you are comfortable with buying a steady but small portion of power from the utility company, a rough estimation of wattage from your solar panel system should suffice with the Synchronous Inverter.

Multifunction Solar Panel Inverters

Multifunction Solar Panel Inverters combine the best of both worlds, and they are usually the best choice for your solar panel system. While more expensive, multifunction inverters may be your best choice. Contact your solar panel dealer for more specific information on Multifunction Solar Panel Inverters.

True and Modified Sine Wave Inverters

An inverter converts a direct current to an alternating current through a delicate electrical switching process. This process makes an inverter function as a synthesized alternator, which are typically used to produce AC current by creating a smooth alternation, similar to a pendulum gently swinging. This alternation takes the form of a sine wave, which is the ideal wave pattern for transmitting AC power.

Modified Sine Wave Inverters

Modified Sine Wave inverters are better in typical solar applications when electric motors are not involved. They are not quite as efficient as true sine wave inverters, but you'll find that they are much more affordable. Unlike true sine wave inverters, modified sine wave inverters produce a stepped waveform, which isn't really a sine wave at all.

Because the current is not alternating perfectly, the stepped waveform of the modified sine wave inverter causes the inverter to generate an irritating buzz. Take this into careful consideration when purchasing an inverter.

True Sine Wave Inverters

True sine wave inverters are very efficient and have a very accurate waveform to the true sine wave. True sine wave inverters are a little more pricey than modified sine wave inverters because of the reduced noise and their strong compatibility with certain devices, such as electric motors. This is the better option if you value silence, or want optimal performance from electric motors, such as those found in an electric water pump.




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