Solar panel inverters convert direct current (DC) into alternating current (AC). This is one of the most important components that you need for your solar power generator.
You can find three types of solar panel inverters:
- Stand-Alone Solar Panel Inverters
- Synchronous Solar Panel Inverters
- Multi-function Solar Panel Inverters
1. Stand-Alone Solar Panel Inverters
Stand Alone solar panel inverters has a range from as little as 100 watts to as much as 8,000 watts. Low wattage inverters can be used to power individual or small groups of appliances. At the high end of the scale, solar inverters can help power an entire home. In order to know what inverter specification you should use, you will need to first determine the total energy consumed by your household.
This information is easily available from your monthly energy bills. To arrive at the specification you need, please take into account the power loss through various photovoltaic components. Even if there’s no loss (which is impossible), it’s good to have some buffer.
When using inverters to power household appliances, it’s important to choose models that have a built-in ability to surge. Common appliances like dryers and clothes washers and other motorized equipment require a surge when you start then up. Thus your inverter has to supply this need.
2. Synchronous Solar Panel Inverters
Synchronous solar panel inverters are also called Grid-Tie Inverters. If you want to have a grid-tied solar power generator, a synchronous solar power inverter will suit you well.
This type of inverter takes the electricity generated by your solar generator and feeds it to the distribution panel in your home. The power is either used by the appliances at home or flows out to the utility grid. If you generate excess power, you are able to sell the energy to your utility company at the rate you’re charged.
When there is no solar energy available during cloudy days (and at night), the system seamlessly taps into the grid supply to make up the difference in power.
As such, you are able to use energy from the grid or from the photovoltaic panels. With this design, you will not need to worry about an increase in energy consumption. In case the solar panel system you design is a little too small, you can use the grid power to supplement your consumption.
3. Multifunction Solar Panel Inverters
Are you ready for what Multifunction Solar Panel Inverters can do for you? Let’s jump right in…
Multifunction solar panel inverters combine the best from Stand-Alone Solar Panel Inverters and Synchronous Solar Panel Inverters. They are of course more expensive, but these are the best choice for your solar energy panels.
This type of inverter allows you to generate excess power to be stored in a battery bank. As such, you are able to use energy from the grid, from the solar panels or from stored energy in the batteries. You can even connect a standby generator to the whole setup. Let me illustrate…
During the day, solar energy panels supply your household appliances with power. At the same time, the battery bank is charged up to store energy for the night. If there is surplus electricity, they can be sold to your local power company.
By evening, the batteries will be charged up. At this time, the inverter provides AC power to the house from the batteries. If the batteries are flat, the inverter taps into the grid to charge the batteries and power up the house at the same time.
If a standby generator is used, the inverter will synchronize its power so it can be added to an existing source of power. Many multifunction solar panel inverters are not as efficient as synchronous inverters because the system must have a battery. However, they offer functions that grid-tied inverters do not.