When envisioning a solar-powered home, most people simply picture solar panels on a roof. While panels are indeed the most visible and important solar component, there are other things they need to produce power. One of the most important of these components is a solar inverter. What is a solar inverter, you may ask? Well, we are here to tell you.
Read on to find out what this instrument is, as well as why every solar system needs one.
A Solar Inverter Defined
Solar panels use the energy they collect from the sun to create direct current (DC) electricity. However, most households or businesses have appliances that require alternating current (AC) electricity. So, you will need something that can convert the electricity generated through the panels into AC electricity.
That is where a solar inverter comes in. This instrument turns DC electricity into AC electricity quickly and seamlessly, thus enabling you to power your home. Without an inverter, you would be creating an abundance of energy without being able to use it. If you don’t have a solar battery, this energy would only be wasted.
Therefore, solar inverters are not only useful but also quite necessary.
How Do Solar Inverters Work?
To be able to grasp just how indispensable inverters are, we need to break down the entire process of solar energy production. The process starts when sun rays hit the photovoltaic cells in the solar panels. The sun rays cause the electrons in the cells to rapidly move. Their friction, by extension, produces DC electricity.
Then, the solar inverter collects this energy and turns it into AC energy. The AC energy goes to your fuse box, and, from there, you can use it to power all your appliances.
Any excess power either goes into a solar battery so you can use it later or back into the grid. That depends on how your system is set up and whether you have a battery.
Where Does a Solar Inverter Go?
While solar panels need to go on the roof to be effective, inverters have no such requirements. In most cases, people put them on an external wall of their home. It can also go in your garage or a laundry room.
The latter two options are perhaps better, as being inside will protect the inverter from the elements. Additionally, it will ensure it is close to the power board and protected from the sun. That is the best choice for optimal performance.
Different Capacities and Sizes of Solar Inverters
Solar inverters can have varied capacities. The capacity depends on the size of the solar panels they are connected to. If you have a 5.0 kW power system, you will need an inverter of the same or similar capacity.
Calculating how large a capacity your inverter should have is pretty easy. You simply need to find out what the maximum amount of energy your system can generate is. Your inverter needs to be able to manage that amount, and preferably a bit more than that.
When it comes to aesthetics and size, there are many options to choose from. The smallest inverters are the size of a business suitcase. Bigger ones resemble overseas travel suitcases and are quite heavy as well. Some are neither here nor there, so you can choose one that fits your space best.
A Few Parting Words
As you have read, the question of what is a solar inverter has a simple answer. It is an instrument every solar household needs to use solar energy. Inverters are an indispensable part of your home’s solar system, and we hope our little guide helps you understand why.