HOW SOLAR INVERTERS WORK?

Single Phase -3 Phase - String, Hybrid Or Battery Inverter

So what are Solar Inverters? What do they do and how do they work? And do you have single phase or 3 phase power at your home? So how are they different, and how will it affect the cost of your PV setup? Do you need a Hybrid Inverter , but would a String Inverter be best? So what is a Battery Inverter for, what does it do?

This is How They Work.

The DC volts made by your PV system is in fact fed into the PV converter, which “inverts” it. That means "flips it”, and so a low voltage goes to a much higher, 240 volts. While it does that, the PV inverter makes the energy nice and smooth. Which is then the same as what you get from your 240V mains plug. If not, then the appliances in your home may get fried. You can then use this energy in your home or send it out to the Grid. In this case, then you get some nice feed in tariff! We should say that the "PV inverter" used here could be in fact a Hybrid Inverter. Or then it could be a Battery Inverter too, as they both do the same thing.
how inverter work
Solar Panels Produce DC Electricity
SMA Inverters
Inverters Convert DC to AC
Battery Inverter
We Use Our Own AC Electricity
How Solar Inverters Work - Saving
We Save!

They Are Not All The Same

Yes, so there are a few types of converters, with some for “off-Grid” use too. But a home that's on The Grid does not use this kind. This set up in fact, runs only on a battery. Then there are the more common type that we call “Grid tied”. A Grid system is in fact what town people get on their home. These two types of unit are in effect, not the same in the way they do their business. But in this case we are only looking at Grid tie.

So What Type Of Connection Do You Have?

Some homes connect to The Grid by 3 phase power, but most are 1 phase. In effect this rules what type you need. In fact, to have more phases means that your home can get more energy from The Grid. If your home has a pool, then it often will have it. Or if you have ducted A/C or a workshop then it’s a good chance you will have 3 phase too.

A single phase inverter will cost less than a three. But a 3 phase home can have a single phase unit if they want. However it’s better to use the 3 though. As 3 phase power unit in fact, can deal with a big load better. As a rule, a 5kW unit is the limit, but with 3 phase you can go to 3 times that. You can ask Energex to go bigger than this, but it can take a while. But let us know if you do want to put up a larger kit, and we'll give you a hand.

More About String Inverters

A string inverter is in fact one of the best choices for those wanting to buy. The SMA Sunny Boy or Fronius Primo are two of the best, so there is quite a few out there. But a string inverter will not be the best choice all the time. If you have shade at your place, then you might want think about micro inverters. These are best for places that get a lot of shade, but its best to avoid shade if you can. If not, then you can try these but they cost a lot more. So the time it will take for the system to pay for itself will be longer. If a tree is shading, then its best to cut it down or trim it back. So in the long run, this can save a lot of money and less headaches too. But doing that is not always possible.

You might have heard the word “string” when others talk about PV solar? A “string” is in fact a group of panels that join up to an inverter. You can just have one, but mostly there are two. When on your roof they will point away from each other. All the panels in a “string” are at the same angle too, so they all work exactly the same. If one of the panels is not working, then this stops all the others in the “string” too. So shade is a “show stopper” for those that want to make PV power. When your panels make DC power, the PV inverter then turns it into smooth AC. This power is then ready for use by you in your home, or sold to the Grid.

Hybrid Inverters

These do the work of a string and a battery inverter, but all in one. These can turn DV volts into AC power you can then use in the home or sell to the Grid. You can then charge up or use the power in the battery if there is one. But you don't need to have a battery if you just want to put in a PV hybrid.
So the Fronius Symo Hybrid or Sungrow SH5K are out there, these are two that you can buy. And they will give some flex for when you go ahead and get a battery. But as these do more work than a standard unit they can have just a bit less out put. But it is only a small amount though.

So While We’re On The Subject, Is It Worthwhile To Buy A Hybrid Right Now?

No, don't get one, if you are not putting in a battery at the same time. But there are a few reasons why we say that. So first up, a hybrid will cost you more, maybe twice the price. And the tech moves at such a rate that what you buy now may not be good enough later on. So that's a lot of money to hang on your wall just for good looks. Its best just to wait a while until you are ready. If not, then you might find later on that your unit will not work with the new stuff.

So how would that be? Not fun, that is for sure. There are so many firms now all on the quest to find the "Holy Grail". So it’s hard to try and guess which one will rise above the others. It seems that lithium has the edge for now but who knows for how long? We have seen it before where a new guy comes in takes over. So after all that, it might be for the best to wait until you're ready to go.

What Are Battery Inverters?

A PV battery inverter will take stored DC power and then change it to AC. Just like what you get now from the mains, it’s the same, in fact. So with this new power source you can carry on with your life as you do now. While we are not talking about Off Grid PV Systems. They do in fact have a battery inverter as a main part of their kit.
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