Grid tie inverters
Grid-tie solar power systems are popular with both homes and businesses, as they are connected to the electrical grid. This allows customers to export any excess solar power they generate to the grid, receive credits and use them later to offset energy bills. However, this is only achievable with reliable solar equipment, such as a good grid tie solar inverter.
How grid tie inverters work
PV modules use the solar power and turn it into direct electric current (DC). It can power lighting in your home and chargers for small devices, like a smartphone. But most home appliances function on alternating current (AC). This is where an inverter comes into play: it turns direct current into alternating. The efficiency of an inverter is close to 100%, which means that almost no electricity loss occurs while it's working.
DC-AC converting is not its only function. Solar grid-tie inverter also gives the owner an option to monitor the functionality of the whole system. Besides, inverters can act as power output maximizers: they track the voltage of panels and identify the optimum operational power for the whole array.
How is a grid-tied inverter different from an off-grid inverter?
You can’t use an off-grid inverter for a grid tie solar PV system. It can easily damage the whole system and here is why.
Unlike off-grid inverters, grid tie inverters have a special control device to match the inverter cycles with the utility grid cycles. They need to be in phase, otherwise the voltages will cancel each other out.
How to size a grid-tied inverter
The size of a solar inverter is usually measured in Watts. When purchasing a grid tie power inverter, you have to make sure it suits the size of your solar panel system. For example, if your solar panel array has a combined power of 5kW then a 5,000 W inverter should be just right for it. Consult with the grid tie solar inverter manufacturer when in doubt and read the guidelines. Keep in mind, that if your inverter is not sized properly for your system, in case of malfunctioning you might not be able to get compensation through the warranty.
How to choose the best grid tie inverter
There is a range of grid tie inverters suitable for different budgets and energy needs. When looking for one, consider the following things:
- Efficiency. This is how much power the inverter delivers from the batteries to your home under the perfect conditions. A good efficiency rating is from 94% to 96%.
- Self-consumption. It shows how much power the inverter will consume when idle.
- Temperature range. Inverters are sensitive to weather extremes. If possible, it is best to place an inverter in a garage or in another sheltered location, where it's safe from rain, snow and direct sunlight.
- Warranty. Normally, inverters come with up to a 10 year warranty.
A1SolarStore has a range of grid tie inverters for sale. You can purchase them online or by calling our toll-free number. Our managers will be more than happy to assist you with your purchase.