What is a Solar Inverter and How it Works?

In any solar system, inverter plays an essential role like a brain. The main function of this is to alter DC power to AC power which is generated from the solar array. It allows for monitoring the system so this system operators can observe how this system is working. If you are considering a solar panel system for your home, one of the key decisions you make is the type of inverter to install. Inverters convert direct current (DC) energy which is generated from the solar panels into usable alternating current (AC) energy. After the panels themselves, inverters are the most important equipment in the solar power system. The inverter gives analytical information to assist in identifying operations & maintenance to fix issues of the system. This article discusses an overview of a solar system.

What is a Solar Inverter?

Definition: A solar inverter can be defined as an electrical converter that changes the uneven DC (direct current) output of a solar panel into an AC (alternating current). This current can be used for different applications like in a viable electrical grid otherwise off-grid electrical network. In a PV system, it is a dangerous BOS (balance of system) component that allows the utilization of normal AC powered apparatus. These inverters have some functions with PV arrays like tracking of utmost PowerPoint & protection of anti-islanding. If we are using a solar system for a home, the selection & installation of the inverter is important. So, an inverter is an essential device in the solar power system.


Solar-Inverter
solar-inverter

Solar Inverter and It’s Working

The working principle of the inverter is to use the power from a DC Source such as the solar panel and convert it into AC power. The generated power range will be from 250 V to 600 V. This conversion process can be done with the help of a set of IGBTs (Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistors). When these solid-state devices are connected in the form of H-Bridge, then it oscillates from the DC power to AC power.

Solar-Inverter-Working
solar-inverter-working

A step-up transformer is employed so that the AC power can be obtained & can be fed to the grid. A few designers have started designing inverters without transformer which have high efficiency as compared with the inverters which have a transformer.

In any solar inverter system, a pre-programmed microcontroller is used to execute different algorithms exactly. This controller increases the output power from the solar panel with the help of the MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracking) algorithm.

Types of Solar Inverters

The classification of solar inverters can be done based on the application which includes the following.


Types-of-Solar-Inverters
types-of-solar-inverters

String Inverter

This kind of solar panel is arranged in the form of a string and many strings are allied to a single string inverter. Every string holds the DC power where it is altered into AC power used like electricity. Based on the installation size, you may have many string inverters where each string gets DC power from some strings. These inverters are good for installations where the panels are arranged on a single plane to avoid facing in different directions.

String inverters can also be used with power optimizers as they are module-level power electronics that are mounted at the module level, consequently, every solar panel has one. Manufacturers of the solar panels use power optimizers with their devices & sell as one solution called a smart module so that installation can be made easier. Power optimizers give many benefits like microinverters, but they are less expensive. So it can be a good choice among using inverters like strictly string otherwise micro inverters.

Central Inverters

These are related to string inverters however they are larger & support additional strings of solar panels. Rather than running strings openly to the inverter, the strings are allied together in a general combiner box so that the DC power runs toward the middle inverter wherever it is transformed to AC power. These inverters needless connections of components, however, they need a pad as well as combiner box as they are suitable for huge installations through reliable production across the array.

The range of these inverters is from MWs to the hundreds of KWs and they handle up to 500kW for each area. These are not used in homes but used generally for huge commercial installations & utility-scale solar farms.

Microinverters

These inverters are a good choice for commercial as well as residential purposes. Same as power optimizers, these are also module-level electronics because one inverter is mounted on every panel. Microinverters alter power from DC to AC exact at the panel, so they don’t need a string type inverter.

Also, due to the conversion of panel-level, if the performance of panels is shaded then the residual panels won’t be exposed. These inverters monitor the function of every single panel, whereas string inverters illustrate the act of every string to make the inverters good at installation By using these inverters there are many benefits as they optimize every solar panel independently. It transmits more energy particularly if you have an incomplete shade situation.

Battery based Inverter

The growth in battery-based inverters is increased day by day. These are uni-directional and include both an inverter & battery charger. The operation of this can be done with the help of a battery. These inverters are separate grid-tied, grid-interactive and off-grid, based on the UL design & rating. The main benefit of this is, they give nonstop operation for critical loads based on the grid condition. In all occurrences, these inverters handle power between the & the array while charging the batteries, and they monitor the status of battery & controls how they are charged.

Hybrid Inverter

This inverter is also known as a multi-mode inverter and allows plugging batteries into the solar power system. It interfaces the battery through a method known as DC coupling. Electronics manage the charging & discharging of the battery. So there is a quite incomplete choice on these inverters.

Advantages of Solar Inverter

The main benefits of solar inverter include the following.

  • Solar energy decreases the greenhouse effect as well as abnormal weather change.
  • By using solar products, we can save money by reducing electricity bills
  • The solar inverter is used to change DC to AC and this is a reliable source of energy.
  • These inverters empower small businesses by reducing their energy needs & requirements.
  • These are multifunctional devices as they preprogrammed to alter DC to AC which assists large energy consumers.
  • Easy to set up & more reasonable compared with generators.
  • Maintenance is easy as they work well even with usual maintenance.

Disadvantages of Solar Inverter

  • The main drawbacks of solar inverter include the following.
  • This kind of inverters is expensive to afford.
  • Sunlight is necessary to generate sufficient electricity.
  • It requires a huge space for installation.
  • It requires a battery to work at night time to provide proper electricity to the home, commercial, etc.
FAQs

1). How long should a solar inverter last?

A lifespan of solar inverter ranges from 10 to 20 yrs

2). Are solar panels AC or DC?

Solar panels generate DC

3). Can I use a solar panel without a battery?

Yes, it is not necessary for everyone

4). How do you reset a solar inverter?

By turn on and off the inverter for 30mins

5). What is the best thing to clean solar panels with?

The best way to clean the solar panels is by using a pipe & a bucket of soapy water.

Thus, this is all about the working of solar inverter. It is an electrical device, used to convert DC to AC where DC is generated from a solar panel. It controls the solar system’s voltage to achieve the utmost power available known as MPPT (maximum power point tracking). So this MPPT reports the system working & performance with the help of an inbuilt function like a Bluetooth, screen, otherwise the internet. Here is a question for you, what are the applications of a solar inverter?

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