How Solar Inverters Work
Solar inverters are something that many homeowners consider getting along with a solar energy system for their homes. They are an invaluable part of any system. Before you get this, you might want to learn about solar inverters including what they do and how they work.
What Are Solar Inverters?
Solar inverters work as part of the photovoltaic system. They convert direct current from solar panels to the alternating current your home uses. Inverters may not be all that visible compared to the panels, but they are just as important.
What Are the Different Types of Solar Inverters?
There are a variety of solar inverters on the market. You’d do well to find out about each so you can determine which would be the best for your needs.
An inverter system that is power optimizer-based features a string inverter and external MPPT unit, which is otherwise known as a power optimizer. Each of the solar panels will need one of these. You can bolt them to the rack that’s beneath every panel. The benefit of doing it this way is that each solar panel has a maximum power point tracker or MPPT, meaning that if there’s a power drop with one panel it affects just that one instead of the entire system. With power optimizers, you have panel-level monitoring and are able to see the output that each panel gives off. They give you better shade tolerance than you’d have with a string inverter and they cost a little less than microinverters.
There is a drawback with this type – you need to arrange your panels in strings and likely will have a minimum and maximum number of panels that you can connect into a string. This isn’t ideal if you have a more complicated roof layout that has several planes to it.
You can wire together your solar panels into one or more strings (that are sort of like a string of Christmas lights). The strings are connected to an inverter which then handles power output from them. It’s called a string inverter and is your least expensive option.
When you are working with a string inverter, there’s an issue in which you can have a power drop in one panel that makes power drop on the whole string. You might have a power drop when there’s a shadow from trees, birds, the nearby buildings and chimneys. It’s natural that many solar arrays will have shading for parts of the day. For this reason, you may experience reduced power collection with a string inverter. You also can lose power from a faulty panel which you can help prevent by using an inverter with an MPPT unit. This does let the invert extract more electricity from a string of panels that is shaded.
This type of inverter is small and self-contained. You mount it underneath your solar panels. Conversion from DC to AC power happens on your roof, then a wire that comes from the solar array brings the AC power to the electrical panel. This doesn’t include a central inverter. Most microinverters manage output for only one panel at a time. Some manufacturers sell ones that can manage multiple panels at a time. Each panel is completely independent from the others, so this means that the microinverter array offers the best shade tolerance.
When you use a microinverter, you have maximum flexibility with the layout of your system. You can have a fancy roof or the most basic one. You don’t have to arrange your panels into strings and this makes for easier future expansion to using your solar for heat pumps and electric cars.
What Do Solar Inverters Do?
Since your house cannot use DC (direct current) power directly, you’ll need something that converts the power from the solar modules into AC (alternating current) power. This is especially the case in North America. This is because the electric grid uses 60 hertz of AC, meaning that the electricity switches direction at a speed of 60 times per second. Your solar inverter works to convert the only thing that your solar panels produce, DC power, into AC power.
If you’re ready to take the leap and give solar energy a try at your home, look no further than Solar Panels Perth. We carry a wide range of solar inverters and many other equipment and parts for your solar needs.