What is a photovoltaic inverter?
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To harness sunlight to generate clean energy to power the home, photovoltaic panels alone will not be enough. And, any solar kit will need at least one other key component: the inverter. Aside from the storage batteries, which will also be needed when it is expected to be supplied 24 hours a day, a home installation without an inverter simply will not be able to use the energy captured. This is the key but, so that there is no doubt, at Ecoinventos we take a look at what an inverter is and why it is essential to take advantage of solar energy.

What is the inverter of a solar system used for?

Are you looking for your computer, television or refrigerator to run on electricity obtained from energy from the sun? You therefore need an inverter in your home installation. Because? Because, as has been argued, for any electronic device to work, it is essential that the energy generated by solar panels passes through from direct current to alternating current, with which household appliances, electronic devices, etc.

For this conversion to be possible, any solar installation, regardless of its size, will need an inverter which, of course, can be of different types depending on several variables. Among them, a fundamental element is whether the solar installation is connected to the electricity grid or off the grid.

Types of inverters available.

Without getting too technical, it is necessary to grasp the type of inverters available so that anyone considering switching to solar power has at least the basics of which one may best suit their needs.

Therefore, apart from the larger alternatives and the different classifications that can be made of the inverters depending on their power, operation or system configuration, among others, for home use, it would be necessary to start with a distinction Starting point: on the one hand, there are inverters for installations without connection to the grid and those for connected kits.

Thus, for off-grid installations, we would be faced with independent investors with connection to photovoltaic panels and batteries for domestic storage. Thus, the inverter would take the energy from the battery bank and, from there, convert it for consumption at home.

In the case of solar installations connected to the electricity grid, the inverters would become interactive, to function as energy management brains which, as required, would provide energy for the consumption of the panels, the grid or, if included. in the installation, the batteries.

Within this second typology, the most common for domestic use are investors or chain investors chain. They are distinguished by centralized equipment that converts the captured energy for its use. Among its disadvantages, that if a panel is not sufficiently exposed to the sun or functions poorly, it will be the power of the inverter.

With the previous alternative are the micro-inverters, which are connected to a single panel and, therefore, would offer a decentralized solution that would alleviate the investor’s problems chain. However, they are generally more expensive than the previous ones.

Finally, there would be what is called power optimizer. In this case, it is a hybrid investor who takes the best of one and the best of the other. In other words, it works with the panels individually, although unlike the previous case, the energy is still managed centrally.

Solar inverter
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Location and power of the inverter.

Regarding the first question, there is no single answer. However, the ideal would be for the inverter to be located in an easily accessible place to be able to service the device but which, in turn, is not within the reach of those who might be at risk with its handling, such as minors. .

Apart from the above, it is necessary to take into account during its installation its proximity to the electrical panel, as well as to the solar panels. Additionally, this device tends to heat up, so any option of boxing it in an area where heat, instead of dissipating, accumulates, will not be recommended. Precisely for the same reason, if it was planned to place it next to a heat source, it would be better to reject this idea.

In addition to the above, other aspects must be taken into account, such as the noise that this equipment can generate during its operation. Therefore, a living room, bedroom or space adjoining the previous ones will not be the most comfortable for the inhabitants of the house.

Finally, a last aspect which always worries. In addition, it is not uncommon for it to do so, as it is crucial for the optimal operation and use of a home installation.

What size inverter do I need?

Well, the one whose wattage is suitable for your solar photovoltaic system. It is not easy. However, this is essential, because those who estimate low will not have enough energy to meet their consumption needs. Therefore, before taking any measurements, carefully weigh the size of your panels and inverter. If in doubt, you can check here how to calculate the size of your solar installation so that it is exactly what you expect.