Solar inverters are made to change DC current voltage from photovoltaic arrays into AC which in turn powers home appliances and some of the utility grids. It is very popular now as electricity cost is rising and helps conserve energy for the future. The solar panels and solar inverter fit together like a kind of puzzle. It is programmed to hook up to a specific no. of solar boards. The cost of the inverter is 10% of the cost of solar board. But they don’t last as long as solar panels. An adequate no. of solar panels are needed. More or less can affect efficiency. The types are mentioned below:
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- Stand Slone Solar Inverter
In these there may be no connection to a solar panel. Photovoltaic batteries are charged directly and get DC power from PV batteries or engine generators or wind or hydro turbines. Some bring together vital battery chargers to refill the battery coming from AC source wherever this can be done. Also because these inverters are isolated from their utility grids. They don’t reqire anti-islanding protection.
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- Grid Tie Inverters
They match the phase along a utility charged sign wave. They also turn off during power losses to help with safety. Here, they don’t help during emergencies of this sort. It is good for a home which is powered by a utility grid to take advantage of net metering. The G.T.I is fooled that a utility grid is still functioning even if it is turned off due to load circuits that resonate in the electrical system.
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- Battery Backup Inverters
These get energy from batteries and manage the charge through on board chargers and bring the surplus energy to your utility grid. These supply AC power to selected areas which require energy during a power cut. These should be installed with an anti-islanding protection. Inverters not only convert DC to AC for application. They are also being used various otherwise.
- String Inverters
Solar panels are installed in rows, each on a “string”. If you have 25 panels you may have 5 roes of 5 panels. Multiple strings are connected to one string inverter. Each string carries the DC power that the solar panel produces to the string inverter where it’s converted into usable AC power which is then consumed as electricity. Depending on the size of the installation, you may have many string inverters and these would be receiving DC power from a few strings only. String inverters are commonly used in residential and commercial applications. A popular inverter over central inverters in micro utilities. String inverter can also be put together with what you call power optimizers. Power optimizers are module level powered kind of electronics. This means that they have to be put in a module level, so that each solar panel has one. P.O offer benefits similar to micro inverters but they happen to be less expensive and so this can be for you a good option between using strictly string inverters or micro inverters.
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- Central Inverters
They are similar to string inverters but much larger and can support more strings on the panels. In this type of inverter, instead of may strings running directly to the inverter, the strings are connected together in a common sort of combiner box that runs in the DC power to the central inverter where it is converted to AC power. They are best made for large installations with regular production across the array.
- Micro Inverters
These are good for residential and commercial installation. These also happen to be module level electronics, therefore on each is put in one panel. P.O. though do not convert DC to AC which is done by M.I. right at the panel and so you don’t require a string inverter. Due to the conversion at the panel level is one or two panels are shaded or produce less electrical output than other panels then the other panels continue to still work at their optimal level and remain unaffected. Systems which have micro inverters can be more efficient, but these often cost more than string inverters.
- Battery Based Inverter/Chargers
They are becoming more important today. They are bi-directional in nature. They include a battery charger and inverter. They require a battery to work. They can be grid interactive or stand alone grid type or off gris depending on the UL rating and design. So, here we gave you a rough route map of the various types of solar inverters available in the market. Have fun comparing and seeing what suits you best.
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