Photovoltaic solutions are becoming increasingly popular as the Clients’ expectations in this respect are soaring. We have decided to take up the challenge and expand our product portfolio with solar inverters. What are they and what do they do?
In this article you will find out:
- what is a solar inverter,
- how a solar inverter operates,
- what models you can find in our online store.
What is a solar inverter? A few words to start with…
A solar inverter (also known as a photovoltaic inverter) is an essential element of each solar power station. It looks like a home switchboard with fuses and is often mounted in a garage or a utility room. It converts direct current produced by solar panels into alternating current in our sockets. Why convert current at all? Only after the current from photovoltaic cells has been converted to the voltage of 230V (adjusted to a regular household grid), is it possible to use it to supply power to household devices.
What exactly does a photovoltaic inverter do?
A solar inverter combines the features of three different devices. Its basic function is to convert direct current into alternating current, but it can also have a series of extra functions (it depends on the manufacturer). A Green Cell inverter, available in our online store, provides a continuous power supply in the event of a blackout or when access to the electric grid in impossible, it stores energy, which means it can be used to charge batteries, and it has the function of Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) – which helps optimise the operation of the whole photovoltaic network, and in the event of a breakdown it can automatically disconnect the whole system. An MPPT charging controller makes it possible to make the most of the power obtained from solar panels. Thanks to the advanced electronics the controller is compatible with extensive off-grid solar systems, without compromising efficiency or safety.
The Green Cell inverter has a system of safeguards, which will protect the device from overvoltage, short circuit, overcharge and discharge as well as reverse polarity, thus making sure you can use it safely at all times.
Types of solar inverters – how to pick one to match your solar installation?
Breakdown by grid type
There are a few inverter types. Make sure the one you choose matches your installation. You can choose between:
- a string inverter – it converts energy from all panels, and you only connect a single device to the whole array,
- a string inverter with optimizers – each panel needs a device that optimizes the functioning,
- a micro-inverter – if solar panels are large, you attach a separate inverter to each of them, which instantly converts DC into AC.
Breakdown by solar system type
Depending on the type of your solar system, you can pick an on-grid inverter, an off-grid option or a hybrid version. The first is synchronised with the grid, which means energy can be sold e.g. with a two-way meter. An off-grid option is not synchronised with the public grid, which means it cannot supply energy to it. Nevertheless, this model can be used to charge batteries when there is a surplus of solar energy in the system. A hybrid inverter can operate in either of the abovementioned modes thanks to an integrated battery, which has the function of an energy buffer. This means part of the energy from the inverter is stored in the battery, when the demand for power is lower than the generated amount. When there is a shortage of power, the inverter will draw it from the battery.
Breakdown by installation size
You can distinguish between single-phase inverters (for smaller installations up to 2-3 kW) and three-phase inverters (for larger solar systems).
Parameters you want to remember
It’s good to distinguish between inverter power and panel power. The former is the actual power with which the inverter will convert the current from the panels into the one you can use at home. Panel power is provided under specific conditions (the so called STC – standard test conditions, defined by certifying entities). The energy provided by solar panels may differ depending on the weather, time of day, temperature and solar irradiance.
The energy output should be close to the inverter power most of the time, which affects the performance of the panels. In order to avoid energy losses, you should make sure the panels do not generate higher power than that of the inverter.
Start voltage and maximum voltage
Start voltage is a decisive factor when it comes to switching on the panels in the morning and switching them off after sunset. Thanks to this figure you know the minimum voltage that gets the inverter going. Inverters with lower start voltage will be more effective on cloudy days. It’s also good to note maximum voltage – it defines the number of solar panels you can arrange in an array (it helps you optimise the cost of the wiring and necessary safeguards).
When choosing an inverter, please note its efficiency. Weighted average efficiency for various loads is listed in the data sheet under the heading of “EURO.” It’s good to pick an inverter that makes the most of the energy provided by the panels. The best devices can obtain and convert up to 92-98% of the energy from the cells. You should keep in mind that with load under 20-30% of the nominal power, the efficiency of the inverter will drop.
Our portfolio of photovoltaic devices has recently been expanded to include solar inverters. Explore the range of available devices in our store. If you’re thinking of buying solar panels, you will definitely need an inverter. Choose reliable equipment and go for Green Cell solar inverters!
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