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Choosing The Right Solar Power Inverter

Buying a solar power inverter? Here's what to look for.

solar power inverter
A solar inverter is a required component in a solar energy system. It is the piece of equipment that converts the direct current (DC) output of the photovoltaic cells into alternating current (AC) which is the type of current supplied by electric utilities.

So what does the solar inverter do?

The output generated from a solar panel is commonly 12 or 24 volts of direct current (DC). Most common appliances that are available in the market require a 110 or 240 voltage of alternating current (AC). The inverter takes the direct current and, simply put, runs it through a transformer. It is almost as though the inverter is tricking the transformer into thinking it is getting AC current by forcing the DC to act in a way similar to AC.

The inverter runs the DC through two or more transistors that are rapidly turned on and off feeding two different sides of the transformer to mimic alternating current.

The DC electricity produced by the PV cells has no wave form. It is closest to a direct line (hence its name, direct current.) To become AC, the DC current must take on a sine wave form (on an x-y graph, the sine wave rises from 0 to a positive point, then back down through zero to a negative point and back up to 0. This is known as one cycle or a hertz - a regular sine wave has 60 hertz per second meaning that the sine wave continues to repeat itself 60 cycles every second. The alternating current used by a city electric grid is a true sine wave. It runs smoothly up and down in an arced, wave-like motion. The role of the inverter is to give the DC current "sine wave form". Inverters that produce a pure sine wave cost more than other types of inverters. Only higher quality solar inverters produce true sine waves.

The Digital Sine Process controller is the major component of an inverter and it works by accurately executing the algorithms that are required to charge the battery and generate power to provide electricity without any power losses by creating that true sine wave form. There are many available inverters in the market today. But, the best type is a But, the best and recommended type is a true sine wave inverter if you will be powering sensitive electronic equipment or your equipment is dependent on a steady flow of electricity. These true sine-wave inverters produce electricity that is identical in quality to the power that is derived in the main supply.

Another kind of solar power inverter is a modified sine wave inverter. A modified sine wave moves from the positive point in an X-Y graph to the negative point in the graph in a step like manner rather than in a smooth arc like true sine waves. The result of this is poor power quality unable to run all appliances.

The size of an inverter depends on the peak power of your loads. Adding up the wattage of all your appliances that you will be using at the same time, will give you an indication of the size of solar power inverter you will need. For the best results confer with a solar expert.

In the case of solar inverters you really do get what you pay for. It is important to spend the money on a true sine wave inverter. It will save your appliances and as well as your sanity. You want a reliable power source and modified sine wave inverters cannot deliver that-only a true sine wave inverter will provide a safe, reliable electrical supply. A high quality one, that still holds a decent price, is this one.

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