Is it smart to invest in a solar inverter for your home?
Posted by Tina Kassaeian on
Many people all around the world these days are concerned about green energy and thinking about building a solar home. One of the most critical questions that can come to our mind is: Is it worth investing in solar inverters, and if so, what is the best option?
In this post, we will discuss Solar Inverters and all their ins and outs.
What is a solar inverter?
Solar inverters, commonly referred to as PV(photovoltaic), are essential components of the solar energy system. A solar inverter is a type of power inverter that is useful for converting a solar panel’s direct current(DC) output into a utility-frequency alternative current(AC).
Why a Solar Inverter is an essential component of a solar energy system?
Solar panels, which are made of crystalline silicon semiconductor layers, absorb light and photovoltaic cells receive solar energy from layers. The energy bounces off of electrons as it moves around and leads to produce an electric current known as direct current. Contrary to direct current, most home appliances operate on alternate current. This is the part that Inverters play a significant role and take the variable DC output from the solar panels and transform it into an alternate 120/240V or current output.
What are the different types of Inverters?
Now that we have discussed the importance of an Inverter and how it functions, you should know different types of inverters to be able to choose the best option for your own solar home. Generally, Solar inverters are classified into three broad types:
1- Stand-alone inverters
Inverters that operate independently from the grid or other sources are known as stand-alone inverters or "Off-Grid mode inverters." These inverters are primarily used in isolated systems and draw their DC energy from batteries charged by photovoltaic arrays. Due to their inability to synchronize, which is the process of matching the phase and nominal frequency (50/60hz) of both AC sources, these inverters cannot be connected to the utility grid. When it comes to the advantages and disadvantages of this type of inverter, stand-alone inverter advocates mostly talk about the lower price and stable frequency. However, you should bear in mind that by installing these types of inverters, you should also think of separate battery chargers, Charge controllers and regulators.
2- Grid-Tie inverter
Grid-Tie inverter or Grid connected serves two primary purposes:
1) supply AC power to AC loads from storage devices (DC sources)
2) input excess power into the grid.
Moreover, for safety concerns, grid-tie inverters are built to automatically switch off when the utility supply is cut off; therefore, they don't offer standby power when the utilities go off. Grid - Tie inverter also has the ability to synchronize the current’s frequency and phase to meet the utility grid.
The power from DC sources is transferred to the utility grid by raising the voltage level of the inverter voltage. This type of inverter can act as a virtual battery, storing excess energy in the grid for later use.
There are three main categories of Grid-Connected inverters:
1- Central Inverters
Strings of DC sources are fed into a main central inverter, and the range of power ratings is up to 100MW. The main downside of these traditional inverters is they only have one MMPT for the whole system, and any single failure point affects the entire system.
2- String Inverters
Each string of DC sources is connected to one inverter, and then the outputs of all inverters are combined and sent to the grid. These Inverters have better MPPT capability, but they are smaller than the traditional central inverters.
3- Micro Inverters
In a micro Inverter, each DC source is connected to a microinverter, and the output of all these micro inverters is combined and sent to the utility grid. In this system, each module has an MMPT, and that is the reason they have higher flexibility and monitoring level compared to other versions.
3- Hybrid Inverter
Last but not least is an intelligent and super efficient Inverter known as Hybrid Inverters. Hybrid inverters make it possible to store extra solar energy in a battery system for later use. Hybrid inverters perform the same functions as standard grid-tie solar inverters, but depending on the application, they can operate in one of many other modes. One of these modes is battery backup mode, which offers a level of backup power in the event of a blackout. The majority of hybrid inverters may run without a battery and perform the same tasks as grid-tied solar inverters by exporting extra solar power to the power grid.
In comparison to more complex battery storage systems, which frequently call for multiple inverters, hybrid inverters are typically much less expensive and easier to install because they combine all the essential features for solar and battery storage into a single straightforward plug-and-play inverter.
Currently, one of the most efficient Hybrid inverters in the market is DARFON H5001 Hybrid Inverter, a transformerless inverter with an internal distribution box. The Darfon inverter is made to support large loads and facilitate installation by integrating quick-disconnect terminals, PV and battery disconnects, AC breakers, and battery and generator contactor. You can connect up to 6.5 kW of solar panels with the Darfon H5001 without having to buy extra battery chargers and solar charge controllers, thanks to the dual MPPT. It is worth mentioning that numerous applications, such as off-grid, self-consumption, net metering, backup, and time-of-use optimization, are supported by the Darfon H5001.
What size inverter is suitable for a Solar Home System?
There are many various sizes available for solar inverters. The size you select will depend on the wattage (or amps) of the device you intend to use (find the power consumption by referring to the specification plate on the appliance or tool). Inverters are rated in watts, just like solar panels. Your solar inverter must be able to manage the entire amount of power your array generates because it converts the DC electricity coming from the panels. You should generally match the wattage of your solar panels. Therefore, you will require at least a 3000-watt inverter if your solar panel system is 3000 watts. An important piece of advice that can help you to find a suitable Inverter is to purchase a larger model than you anticipate needing (at least 15 percent to 20 percent more than your largest load). Let’s briefly discuss to help you better understand how to calculate your required power and find the best solution which tailors for your specific needs.
Imagine you want to power a medium-sized microwave oven, some lights, a 50 inches TV and an air conditioner.
A 2370 W inverter would be sufficient for this application. Still, you should consider getting a larger one because there will probably come a moment when you wish you had bought a bigger model.
Inverters are essential parts of each Solar PV System, and Darfon hybrid inverter is one of the best options which is designed to make installs easier and be versatile enough to be used off-grid, grid-tied or even as a string inverter. If you still have some questions in your mind, don't worry! Choosing an inverter for your home involves a number of considerations and being overwhelmed is completely normal. Fortunately, we have a lot of experts in our team that they can assist you in choosing any equipment you may require, including inverters!
The content of this page is intended for informational purposes, and any system designed or installed will require further supervision of experts and engineers.