What is a solar inverter?
A solar inverter is a specialized electrical component used in any PV system requiring AC power. The inverter consists of electrical circuitry like transducers and a micro-processor with built-in power control algorithms. The reason for using a solar inverter is to change the direct current (DC) electricity that is generated from photovoltaic solar panels into an alternating current (AC) that can be used by common home lights or appliances and the electricity grid.
Commonly available residential PV inverters can range in size to handle loads of a few hundred watts to 12,000 watts of DC power. Commercial inverters can handle up to 500,000 watts. Multiple inverters can be used to create systems of most any size.
One of the big issues for any solar power system is efficiency. The solar cells need to convert the sun's energy to electricity efficiently, and the inverter should produce as much power as possible with the minimum loss rate. Most manufacturers inverters today have from 1% to 5% power loss rates. To boost performance and energy production of distributed energy systems, a solar power optimizer might be a good solution. Maximum power point tracking is a technique used by solar inverters to get the most power from the PV array.
There are centralized inverters and micro-inverters that can be used for your particular solar project. Central inverters are typically less-expensive and have a 10 to 15 year lifespan and warranty. Although slightly more costly, Micro-inverters will provide maximum power production for each solar panel and have up to a 25 year lifespan and warranty. Micro-inverters are generally considered easier to install due to their plug-and-play nature.
Anyone considering installing a solar energy system for their home should consult a professional. There are many variables to consider, including choosing the right inverter. The experts at FreeCleanSolar are happy to offer assistance and answer any questions you may have.