Inverters

2017.01.25

Explaining all the basics of inverters; how they work, what different type there are, which are suited for you project, etc.

Inverters are an essential component to any piece of solar energy technology and are often considered to be the brains of a system, regardless of whether is a home system or part of a major solar power plant. Photovoltaic technology invariably produces DC electricity and, in most cases, conversion to a suitable AC voltage is required. The primary function of an inverter is to convert the direct current (DC) output into alternating current (AC). The choice of a suitable inverter for use in any solar plant or residential installation will depend on many things, including the system power, DC and AC voltage and the module types and orientation. A photovoltaic system inverter needs to be of a suitably high quality, and some of the leading manufacturers include SMA, Fronius, Kaco, Samil Power, Delta and Solar Edge.


Types of inverters

Some of the most common types are: string inverter, micro modular inverter, central inverter, off-grid inverter, battery inverter and isolated inverter. Solar panels are installed in rows, each on a string as it were. DC power is carried along this line of solar panels to the string inverter where it’s converted into usable AC power. The string inverter is designed to handle higher voltages in this way. However, two possible problems in using a string inverter is its performance issues in shaded areas and the inability to monitor the performance of individual modules of a solar plant. The micro modular inverter overcomes such problems by providing a small individual inverter for each module, thus providing a suitable output voltage along with detailed monitoring capabilities. Modules with such detailed monitoring capabilities built into them are often referred to as smart modules or power optimizers. The microinverter is a popular choice for both residential and commercial installations. For larger installations like solar plants, however, a central inverter is more suitable. Central inverters are much bigger than string inverters and can support more rows of panels. Instead of strings running directly to the inverter, they are brought together in a common combiner box that runs the DC voltage to the central inverter where it is converted to AC voltage. Central inverters require fewer component connections, but require a pad and combiner box. Advanced types of central inverter can ensure that optimal grid compatibility is maintained. An off-grid inverter is designed to provide a suitable AC voltage independent of the national electrical grid, meaning independent from external energy supplies. All energy produced has to be stored, as the off-grid inverter has no grid feed-in capabilities. The battery inverter falls somewhere between the central inverter and off-grid inverter. These inverters allow two-way grid communication, in addition to battery storage capabilities, for the maximum utilization of generated solar energy. The battery inverter carefully controls energy storage and grid input. The isolated inverter platform is a power board that runs from a dc input and provides a three-phase variable frequency and voltage to a three-phase motor or load. They generally have a galvanically isolated transformer, which ensures the output power circuit is electrically and physically isolated from the input power circuit. Insolated inverters are especially useful for modules that require earthing (grounding).


Finding the right inverter

Inverters have developed a lot from simply converting the electrical currents of a solar energy system. Inverters must continue to evolve and be cost-effective, while meeting the essential demands for a solar energy system. When choosing an appropriate module inverter, many factors need to be taken into consideration. But thankfully there is an ideal inverter for every system, and by checking the Solarodo.com marketplace, getting hold of precisely the right inverter is now be a simple matter - start browsing now."