SMA Solar Inverters

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SMA Solar Inverters

What people generally understand about Solar PV Systems is limited to 2 things: solar panels which receive the sunlight and the batteries that store the excess energy gathered for future use.  This is a brief and basic overview of how various types of PV systems operate effectively and efficiently

There are a number of components that are essential to making your home or commercial solar system operate effectively.  There are many ways to combine it:

  1. Solar modules, generate DC power.  Depending on the type of system you choose, this DC power is either fed into an Inverter for conversion to useable AC power, or a to a charge controller, which controls and directs this DC current to a battery for storage.
  2. Charge Controllers control the amount of DC current obtained from the Solar PV and regulate the rate at which this DC current is fed to the batteries.  It is then stored for future use.  It is essential to regulate the current, and to ensure your batteries are charging effectively.
  3. Inverters basically convert DC energy to useable AC energy.  The source of the DC current is either direct from the panels, or from the batteries.  Depending on the type of system used.
  4. Batteries. These store power for future use.  Sizing of batteries is critical, and will depend on individual needs and circumstances

Why do we need inverters?

Although DC current can power some appliances, AC current is required to power most appliances, pumps and other equipment we normally use on a daily basis.

What are the different types of solar inverters?

  1. String Inverters. Solar panels are installed in rows, each on a “string.” For example, if you have 25 panels you may have 5 rows of 5 panels. Multiple strings are connected to one string inverter. Each string carries the DC power the solar panels produce to the string inverter, where it’s converted into usable AC energy. In the event of a power outage, these types of inverter cease to function.
  2. Off grid Inverters. These are similar to the above, with the difference being that they are connected to battery storage.  During power outages, the inverter draws DC current from the battery, which is then converted to AC power.  These Inverters run independently from the grid
  3. Hybrid Inverters. A very common method nowadays is to combine the benefits of both of these two types of inverter to enable generation of Solar Power, regardless of grid conditions.  When the grid is down, you are able to draw DC power from both the solar panels, and the battery.  Generally, this is a quite expensive way of providing your own energy independence, but is favored by many isolated facilities
  4. Micro inverters. These convert DC current to AC current at the panel level.  While string inverters reflect performance of each string, micro inverters monitor the performance of each panel. Thus, if one panel is performing at a lower level, other panels will not be affected.  Micro Inverters are normally tied to the grid, so will cease to operate during power outages.  There are however, some “hybrid” alternatives available.

To know which type of system is best suited to your needs, you can contact us!

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