Best Inverters & Inverter Chargers: All You Need to Know
Posted by Tina Kassaeian on
More people than ever before are utilizing Solar Power Storage Systems thanks to the growth of clean energy because they offer a durable, effective, and adaptable way to power numerous pieces of equipment. Regardless of your intentions of becoming self-sufficient, you will require an energy source, an effective battery bank, and a solar inverter. Solar power Inverters can be incredibly helpful in various settings, whether you are a camper, live off the grid, or need backup power.
This article covers everything you need to know about inverters and inverter chargers, including the best brands available in Canada. If you're thinking of buying one of these devices, this article will help you get started.
Solar Power System in a Nutshell
Having a Solar Power system and producing your own clean energy is an important task that you should do thorough research before investing in. All components and equipment you need on the roof of your residential or commercial building, RV, camper van, or boat to install a solar power system are worth investigating. This is because they work together to produce power as efficiently as possible. As a result, a malfunction in one of these components will drastically reduce the efficiency of the entire system.
Every Solar Power system has four crucial components: 1- Solar Panels 2- Solar Inverter 3- Battery Bank 4- Solar Charge Controller. In our previous blog posts, we discussed in detail about:
- Different types of solar panels and provide a thorough 101 Guide for solar panel buyers.
- Different types of solar batteries (Deep cycle batteries, LiFePo4 batteries, Lead Acid and AGM batteries)
- Why you need MPPT Solar Charge Controller for your grid tie or off grid solar system and Introduce the best solar charge controller in Canada currently available on the North American market
- What are inverters, some basics about Solar inverters (Such as Hybrid Inverter, Micro Inverter, grid tie inverter and pure sine wave inverters)
Of all the components of a grid-tied solar system, the solar inverter is the most complex and, regrettably, also the most susceptible to malfunction. This is not unexpected given that inverters are typically installed outside in harsh weather, such as rain, snow, humidity, and excessive heat while producing thousands of watts of power for up to 10 hours each day. For this reason, it's crucial to utilize a high-quality inverter, specifically in Canada, which experience harsh weather conditions in some area for more than six months a year.
In this article, we want to focus on factors that you should consider when you want to buy inverters, some important features you should check in any solar inverter’s spec sheet and review the best off grid inverters in Canada.
What are the differences between an Inverter and an Inverter charger?
In order to get familiar with Solar Inverters and Inverter charges, we should first discuss some basics: AC and DC power. Your typical household electronics are powered by AC. As a result, everything plugs into a wall socket uses AC power.
On the hand, batteries hold DC power, which is the sort of power. DC power is used by anything that plugs into a USB port or cigarette lighter and by automobiles to power their electrical systems. Everything that has a battery internally uses DC power. Additionally, you can use DC power to run custom electronics like vent fans, water pumps, and lights.
Converters and inverters are devices that allow switching between two types of power in everyday life:
- Converters: Turn AC to DC power
- Inverters: Turn DC to AC power
In this regard, a converter is needed to get city power into your battery bank and an inverter to run household AC electronics. Inverter chargers combine converters and inverters into one compact device.
Moreover, with no exhaust emissions, fuel, or noise to contend with, an inverter charger is a quieter option for gas generators. The solar inverter charger enables you to operate the generator less frequently, saving gasoline, even during protracted outages when you might occasionally need to run it to replenish the batteries.
What Factors should you consider when choosing a solar power inverter?
Manufacturers generally provide you with a datasheet or spec sheet of the product you want to buy, and these documents have complete detailed information about that product. Reading this technical information for a general customer without any technical background or experience is impossible. We will review essential factors you should check in any spec sheet of the Inverters or Inverter chargers before buying them. In this regard, you won’t need to read through those confusing tables, figures and pages to find the best option which fits your needs.
Both inverters and inverter chargers draw current from batteries to power devices. Still, only inverter chargers can connect to AC sources, transmit AC to devices, charge batteries, and switch to battery power when AC power is unavailable. An inverter that is not an inverter charger can recharge batteries by running an automobile instead of connecting directly to an AC source.
Inverters are typically powered by 12V batteries. There are also heavy-duty inverter chargers that use 24V, 36V, or 48V batteries for applications requiring larger wattages. Ensure the input voltage of the inverter you select is compatible with your batteries.
On the other side, North American homes receive 120 volt AC power from the electrical provider. Make sure your inverter's output is compatible with 120V service if you live in North America to power your gadgets, tools, or small appliances.
Continuous Power vs. Peak
Numerous machines, devices, and pumps need transient power spikes to start up, run, or do both. This indicates that additional temporary wattage is needed over the inverter's continuous power rating. Find an inverter or inverter/charger that can offer up to 200% of its continuous power rating during times of high power consumption.
Heavy-duty inverters have DC input terminals that can be directly wired to connect to batteries. Batteries can recharge when there is access to shore power thanks to inverter/chargers that are connected to both the batteries and an AC power supply.
The lifespan of your inverter is increased with multi-speed cooling fans, which reduce heat accumulation.
3 Phase Inverter Charging
The innovative 3-stage charger used by Inverter Chargers recharges batteries more quickly while safeguarding them from overcharging, over-discharging, and unintentional depletion.
Continuous Output Rating
Find out how much power each connected gadget needs in general. The combined wattage of all the devices that will be powered simultaneously must be greater than the inverter's or inverter/charger's output rating.
Resettable Circuit Breakers
Defend your inverter/charger against overload or charger malfunction harm.
Think about whether you require any of these extra characteristics when purchasing an inverter or inverter/charger to safely and effectively power your equipment:
- High Initial Power
- USB Ports
- Pure sine wave output
- UL Certification
- Remote Control Capabilities
Four Best Inverters, Hybrid Solar Inverters and Inverter charges in Canada
Many famous brands currently on the market produce inverters for solar panels, such as SMA, Darfon Solar, Victron Energy, MasterVolt, Sterling Power and Fronius. Although having various options can be in users' favour because they have multiple options, sometimes it can be confusing. This section will review the best inverters in Canada to make this decision easier for you.
One of the businesses producing high-performance solar inverters for residential, commercial, and utility-scale grid-tie systems, as well as modest residential and large-scale off-grid solar systems, is renowned solar inverter maker SMA.
SMA has a variety range of inverters, including Sunny Boy (Single Phase residential Solar Inverters - 1.5kW to 6.0kW), Sunny Tripower Smart Energy (Hybrid Inverters - 5.0kW to 10kW) and Sunny Island (Off-grid multi-mode Inverter chargers - 3kW to 6.5W+). Based on our customers and experts in Volts Energies, the best SMA inverter is the Sunny Island Model.
SMA's Sunny Island (SI) inverter, highly recognized in the off-grid solar industry, is one of the few high-end off-grid inverters with a track record of long-lasting dependability. Sunny Island SMA Inverter is one of the most powerful multi-mode inverters with an IP54 weather rating.
The IP54 certification indicates that the SMA inverter can be deployed outside in relatively exposed areas. Most rival inverters in this class are only IP20 rated; thus, they may only be installed indoors or in well-protected environments.
The Sunny Island inverters also have a great monitoring system. SMA's free cloud-based monitoring platform is called Sunny Portal. Once you master the somewhat challenging menu and charting interface, it offers a fantastic insight into the functioning of the solar system and offers more information.
On the plus side, the SMA inverter has cutting-edge active cooling technology, which enhances performance and dependability in hot environments. Simple off-grid homes all the way up to massive microgrids for business enterprises and isolated towns can be powered by the Sunny Islands.
Darfon Solar Inverter
Darfon, a Taiwan-based company with global offices in the United States, is one of the high-quality brands among American solar direct Inc. Darfon is dedicated to producing a user-friendly, dependable, and efficient solar power solution, from its micro inverter to its web-based monitoring system.
Darfon’s H5001 hybrid inverter is the best stacking inverters for 240V among stacking solar inverters which can also function as a string inverter. This all in one solar inverter can support loads up to 5.5W off-grid and 7kW grid-tied. The transformerless H5001 has a built-in distribution box with breakers, disconnect switches, and generator support circuitry to make installation easier.
The price of a hybrid inverter is more than twice as much as a string inverter's. However, if you consider the total cost of the system, the inverter makes up a very minor part of it. The most expensive part of a hybrid system is the battery.
Some people find it difficult to pay the increased expense of batteries. Therefore, using the H5001 as a string inverter to create an energy storage-ready system makes sense. The H5001 is simple to install and setup, which is a feature installers like.
- PV Operation Voltage Range 120 to 500VDC
- Manage and monitor the system via the control panel
- Two MPPTs
- Output to Grid: 5000W, Output to Load: 5500W
- SGIP Compliant
- Compatible with various battery chemistries
- 5-year standard warranty with 5-year extension option
MasterVolts is a trustworthy and cutting-edge autonomous power solution. Electrical energy management, conversion, and storage are MasterVolt's areas of expertise. The first authorized distributor of MasterVolt products in Canada is Volts Energies.
Among different types of products, MasterVolt PowerCombi and MasterVolt AC Master are a quite famous sine wave inverters. These models have far better efficiency compared to similar products from other brands, such as Magnum inverters and Fronius inverters.
The MasterVolt AC Master is a sine wave inverter that converts 12 or 24V battery voltage into 230V 50/60 Hz or 120V 50/60 Hz grid power. It is reasonably priced and perfect for recreational and semi-professional applications. The AC Master series is easy to install and generates its full output even in the most challenging conditions.
Pure sine wave technology offers an exceptional power quality that guarantees the proper operation of delicate equipment. Any irritating humming and buzzing noises are eliminated by using high-frequency switching technology.
- Sensitive equipment is protected by pure sine wave technology.
- Delivers the maximum output at high peak power in the most difficult circumstances.
- A system that automatically conserves energy for longer runtime.
- Compact and lightweight construction cut down on installation time.
- Functioning that is dependable and secure; protected from overheating, overloading, short circuits, and high or low battery voltage.
- A fan has variable speeds for efficient power.
- A remote control option is offered for instantly turning off the inverter and all associated equipment.
Victron Energy Inverters
Victron Energy, a Dutch company that manufactures power conversion equipment, is well recognized throughout the world for its high-quality, reasonably priced solar controllers and its dependable off-grid battery inverter/chargers.
The MultiPlus and Quattro series of higher-power Victron solar inverters and inverter/chargers, as well as a variety of smart energy management tools, have just begun to compete with products in the booming home battery storage market. Victron products have traditionally been made with off-grid installations in mind, but with the introduction of the Multiplus II, it seems that the company is placing more of an emphasis on home batteries or hybrid systems.
Victron inverter is performing well in off-grid power systems, but in the hybrid inverter market is still developing with more functionality to manufacturing the best all in one solar inverter charger like Darfon’s H5001 model.
Victron has many options for different purposes, and it's most likely famous for having a wide range of options for every possible need. Victron Energy Inverter/Charger Multiplus Compact and Victron Energy Quattro series are the two famous models currently in Canada’s market.
In this article we review some important factors for you must know before buying any solar inverters and also introduce four top inverters in Canada which is all available at Volts Energies. If you have any further question about "How to Calculate Inverter Size" or need any additional information about grid tie or off grid inverters, feel free to contact our team of experts.