Solar Inverters: Brain of the Photovoltaic (PV) System


Solar panel systems are so cool, right? They are renewable, sustainable, and oh-so-worthy of your money.

Too bad not everyone can keep up with all the jargons.

In particular, one of the terms that intimidate newbies is the inverter.

What is the inverter? How is it important?

Brain of the Solar Panel System

Most providers would agree that the inverter is the brain of the solar panel system.

The inverter converts direct current (DC) into alternating current (AC).

Just like how the brain sends messages to your muscles, the inverter also delivers the AC to power the appliances in your house.

Why should inverters change DC to AC?

Let us first define DC and AC. No, they are not the rock band AC/DC.

DC is the electrical currents your solar panel can generate from absorbing sunlight.

To convert it into the usable current, the AC, you will need an inverter.

Inverters need to change DC to AC because most household or business equipment are powered by AC.

In addition, it’s also handy for you to know the AC output measurement of a PV system — in case you are shopping for one.

Why know the AC output measurement?

When shopping for PV systems, you might encounter two types of output measurements indicated on the solar panels: DC and AC.

Typically, most providers will put a DC output measurement on their panels. This will be a larger amount than the AC output measurement.

Now, since AC is what you really need to power house appliances, it’s worthy to take a look at the solar panels’ AC output measurements before buying the system.

If there’s no indicated AC output measurement, you can calculate it by multiplying the PTC measurement by the inverter’s efficiency.

The PTC or Performance Test Conditions is the measure of the solar panels’ output in real-world circumstances.

By knowing about the AC output measurement, you can make informed decisions on choosing the right PV system.

Knowing the AC output measurement will help you know if the system will cater to your household’s power demands.

Types of inverters

Similar to solar panels, there are different types of inverters.

  • Central inverters - these inverters draw energy from all the panels in your system, hence the name. It’s the most common type among the inverters, which you can see as that single box beside the breaker box.

  • Micro inverters - these smaller sized inverters are placed individually on the rear surface of the solar panels. With this setup, the solar panels can do their jobs individually.

  • DC optimizers - being known as the combination of the previous two, these inverters have the best of both worlds. DC optimizers are still similar to the micro inverters, as they are smaller and attached to the rear surface of the panels.

Their difference, however, lies on the fact that DC optimizers “condition” the DC and deliver it to a central inverter.

The best thing about DC optimizers is their function to monitor each panel’s performance.

Can solar panels work without inverters?

Yes, they can still supply electricity — given that your device uses DC.

Since some devices still use DC, such as batteries, you can carry on without inverters.

Some DC-powered devices are portable coolers, small calculators, and electric power generators.

Are you ready to take the next step?

Learn more about the right type of inverters for you by talking to us!

Just fill in the assessment form below, so we can start.

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