A solar power inverter is an integral part of any usable solar power system. It’s basic function is to convert DC electricity to AC electricity.
Today, most homes and appliances that use solar power energy rely on solar photovoltaic panels to generate power. The solar photovoltaic panels that power homes are usually set up on the roof of the home. Solar photovoltaic panels convert light into DC or direct current electricity. Unfortunately, nearly all homes in the U.S. use AC or alternating current electricity. In order for the house to actually make use of the electricity generated by the solar panels, the electricity must somehow be converted to AC current. This is what a solar power inverter does.
There are two main types of solar power inverters.
Mod sign wave solar power inverter –
These are the cheaper and least powerful type of solar power inverter. They have a history of overheating and can very easily damage the sensitive electronic components found in many of today’s high end appliances. They should NOT be used to power any sensitive appliances such as digital clocks, TVs, dvd players, and so on.
True or pure sign wave power inverter –
These are a better quality converter and the one you should get if at all possible. They output “cleaner” AC power than the mod sign wave solar power inverter and can be used to power practically any appliance that requires AC power.
You’ll find many solar power inverter models around at many different price points from as low as $49 to $1000 or more. If you’re building your own solar power system, a good power inverter will probably be one of the more expensive components that you have to buy. But this is also one area where you don’t want to be cheap. Luckily, solar power is becoming more mainstream which means that more companies are entering the arena. This means that, if you’re willing to search for deals, you can often find weekly or daily specials from many of the quality manufacturers and retailers.
While the solar power inverter is primarily for translating DC power into AC power, there is another type that is called a grid interactive. The grid interactive solar power inverter basically splits the AC power that it generates. It sends part of it into your home but it sends the excess, leftover energy back into the grid where it could be stored in batteries.
Buying a power inverter is not a one size fits all proposition. You have to take into account your individual power needs to decide how powerful an inverter you should buy. This means computing the total wattage capacities of all appliances you intend to run off of your solar power system.
You also need to decide if you should plan for overflow capacity, in which case you’ll probably want to get an inverter that has backup batteries where you can store excess capacity.
Also important is buying a power inverter that is robust enough to handle surges and prevent accidental overloads that could potentially damage batteries or appliances.
Buying a solar power inverter is a big decision, so spend your time carefully evaluating your options. Don’t rush into buying the first one that looks good.