Inverter Options

Changing Solar Energy into a usable form with an Inverter

Are you looking for an inverter? There are many questions that need to be answered when buying an inverter. Not all inverters are created equal. The main question that people ask is "Is it a pure sine wave unit or a modified sine wave unit?" There are other advantages that need to be looked at.

Since this is probably the most expensive item you will need to purchase for your solar system, don't undersize the inverter just to save a little money.

There are many models of inverters on the market that have a built in load transfer relay. This is very useful in backup power applications. As opposed to a straight DC to AC inverter, an AC input connection connects to your house circuit panel. The AC output connections are then connected to a subpanel that provides power to critical loads inside the house such as, audio/visual systems, kitchen appliance outlets, refrigerators, and some lighting circuits.

Water pumps cannot be run on this circuit without alterations, because most well pumps run on a 220-volt system.

As long as grid power is available, the power will come into the house via power lines, but if there is an interruption in the power from the grid, the transfer relay switches to the battery powered inverter output and the house's power needs are fed by the battery bank. The transfer happens quickly enough that most appliances, even computers, won't be affected by the switch.

Some inverters include a built in battery charger. This system monitors the battery bank and keeps it fully charged when the system is on the grid, and the switch is turned to grid power. You need to be careful using this type of charger, as it may overcharge the batteries and damage them.

Some inverters come with a separate generator start relay. This may also include a second AC input just for the generator. This can be programmed to start when grid power fails or if the battery charge is low. Since this generator is only used to charge the batteries, it is more economical than having a generator-only system.

Most inverter manufacturers offer a remote display panel. If your inverter and battery bank are in a remote area of the garage or in a small crawl space, it would be handy to keep this panel in an area of the house that it would be passed several times a day, so you can keep an eye on your system.

Make sure, when you are shopping for an inverter that you ask questions and find the features you want in your system.



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