What are solar panel inverters? What do they do?
What are solar panel inverters?
A solar inverter or PV inverter is a critical component in a Photovoltaic system. Solar panel inverters are used primarily to change the direct current to an alternating current via an electrical switching process. You could think of inverters used with solar panels as electronically synthesized alternators.
Types of Solar Panel Inverters
There are three type of solar panel inverters
- Stand-Alone Solar Panel Inverters
- Synchronous Solar Panel Inverters
- Multi-function Solar Panel Inverters
Stand-Alone Solar Panel Inverters
Stand alone inverters are often used in isolated systems where the inverter draws its DC energy from batteries charged by photovoltaic arrays. Many stand-alone inverters also incorporate integral battery chargers to replenish the battery from an AC source, when available. Normally these do not interface in any way with the utility grid, and as such, are not required to have anti-islanding protection.
Surge Compliant Stand Alone Inverters
It is important to always make sure the buy quality electrical equipment for obvious reasons for the home. Equipment such as automatic washers, dryers, and dishwashers which require a surge to start up, which your inverter must be able to supply otherwise it will not be able to power these electrical appliances.
Synchronous Solar Panel Inverters
The term Synchronous Solar Panel Inverters arises from the synchronous dynamic that such a system creates between the utility company and a personal solar panel installation. Synchronous Solar Panel Inverters allow power generated by your solar panels to be stored in a battery. If there is an excess (meaning you did not use as much power as you produced), the power is sold back to the utility company at the Export Tariff rate.
Multi-Function Solar Panel Inverters
Multifunction Solar Panel Inverters combine the best of both worlds, and they are usually the best choice for your solar panel system. While more expensive, multifunction inverters may be your best choice. Contact your solar panel dealer for more specific information on Multifunction Solar Panel Inverters.
True and modified sine wave inverters
Inverters convert a direct current to an alternating current using an electrical switching process. This means that most inverters are used to make a AC current.
The alternation takes the form of a sine wave, which is the ideal wave to transmit the AC power.
There are two types:
- Modified Sine Wave Inverters – Because modified sine wave are not alternating perfectly the stepped waveform of the modified sine wave inverter causes it to buzz irritatingly. Bare this in mind when thinking about buying one.
- True Sine Wave Inverters – These are very efficient and have a very accurate aveform. A little more pricey than a modified sine wave inverter because of the reduced noise.
If your interested in reading more, take a look at our post about top brands of solar panel inverters.