Solar panels aren’t the only component that you should be thinking about when you evaluate your solar system equipment. Solar power inverters play an equally important role in a solar system: they convert the electricity your solar panels create into a form that can be used by the appliances, lighting, and other electronics that are in your home. Once you understand how solar inverters work, and the different types of inverters available for solar, the EnergySage Solar Marketplace can help you compare solar quotes with different inverter types
Choosing the best inverter option for your home
Become energy self-sufficient
Living off the grid and being self-sufficient feels good. For some people, this feeling feeling is worth more than saving money. Energy self-sufficiency is also a form of security. Power failures on the utility grid do not affect off-grid solar systems.
On the flip side, batteries can only store a certain amount of energy, and during cloudy times, being connected to the grid is actually where the security is. You should install a backup generator to be prepared for these kinds of situations.
Solar Charge Controller
Solar charge controllers are also known as charge regulators or just battery regulators. The last term is probably the best to describe what this device actually does: Solar battery chargers limit the rate of current being delivered to the battery bank and protect the batteries from overcharging.
Good charge controllers are crucial for keeping the batteries healthy, which ensures the lifetime of a battery bank is maximized. If you have a battery-based inverter, chances are that the charge controller is integrated.
Without a battery bank (or a generator) it’ll be lights out by sunset. A battery bank is essentially a group of batteries wired together
DC Disconnect Switch
AC and DC safety disconnects are required for all solar systems. For off-grid solar systems, one additional DC disconnect is installed between the battery bank and the off-grid inverter. It is used to switch off the current flowing between these components. This is important for maintenance, troubleshooting and protection against electrical fires.
How solar inverters work in a PV system
When the sun shines on your solar photovoltaic (PV) system, electrons within the solar cells start to move around, which produces direct current (DC) energy. Circuits within the cells collect that energy for you to use in your home.
This is where your solar inverter comes in. Most homes use alternating current (AC) energy, not DC, so the energy produced by your solar panels isn’t useful on its own. When your solar panels collect sunlight and turn it into energy, it gets sent to the inverter, which takes the DC energy and turns it into AC energy. At that point, your solar electricity can power your appliances and electronics or, if you’re producing more electricity than you need, it can feed back into the grid.