In the 21st century, it’s almost impossible to go through life without seeing a solar panel. These photovoltaic devices appear benign as they rest on a residential roof. You may have seen grand arrays out in the desert too.
Each one of these panels generates electricity courtesy of the sun. There are other hardware sections besides the panels, however. Solar inverters are silent helpers in the pursuit of sustainable energy. Explore the world of solar inverters and how they make any panel thrive through the years.
Harnessing the Sun’s Energy
Before you can understand solar inverters, getting familiar with the entire system is necessary. Solar panels are the most obvious components. They rest on a roof or ground location. Wires from each panel or group connect into inverters. The energy, in turn, becomes usable electricity.
The resulting electricity enters the building or facility where it’s used through outlets and standard features. As long as the sun is shining, the panels and inverters work as a team. Most basic inverters work seamlessly with the panels to create constant energy.
Breaking Down the AC/DC Debate
From a layman’s perspective, it seems like solar energy doesn’t need an inverter. The sun’s energy might flow straight from the panel and into the building’s electrical system. However, inverters are necessary for AC/DC conversion.
The solar panels produce DC power. Electrons within the panels naturally create direct current. Your building’s outlets, however, require AC or alternating current. The solar inverters use their internal components to change DC into AC energy. You’re left with electricity that’s perfectly viable for each outlet.
Collecting the Energy
String and central inverters operate in the same manner. Central inverters are simply used for larger installations, such as commercial or industrial solar power. These inverters connect to a group or string of panels. The energy from the weakest panel makes it through the inverter and into the building.
These devices are actually effective ways to gather energy. The weakest panel may have an extraordinary amount of power based on the array’s configuration. Panels set in a similar grouping with no shading will benefit from string and central inverters.
Distributing the Energy
A more precise way to gather energy and convert it into usable electricity is by using microinverters. They don’t collect the energy and cast it into the inverter as string and central devices do, however.
Microinverters function with these steps, including:
- One microinverter is matched to each panel
- Energy from each panel gathers at the microinverter
- The AC/DC conversion occurs at the panel
- All of the energy enters the facility’s electrical system
It’s important to note that microinverters are more expensive because of their sheer numbers. String and central inverters take on groups of panels at a time. Microinverters require a 1:1 ratio to the panels.
Enhancing the System With Monitoring and Battery Storage
Many solar systems are becoming “smart” in this technological age. Some systems have a monitoring component where it reports the energy levels and offers alerts when necessary. Homeowners or business owners always know when the system is working at its best or worst.
Battery storage is another option that’s often requested. Systems with batteries can store some of the solar energy when the sun isn’t shining. This feature is perfect for areas that have cloudy conditions on occasion. The battery offers power when the panels cannot create the energy.
Working with solar professionals, such as the experts at Kurz, can make your solar array work in almost any orientation. Discuss inverter theory with these professionals too. When you understand solar power better than before, it only improves the customer experience as a result.