Unsure about what a Solar Inverter does, or what kind of battery you need?
To run a successful and efficient off-the-grid system, you’re going to need a good solar inverter, in addition to high quality batteries. The inverter turns the DC stream from the solar collectors into AC stream. At the same time the batteries will charge for later use. Without these components the solar panels don’t mean much in terms of delivering renewable energy.
Choosing the Right Solar Inverter
You’re going to find a wide range of solar inverters on the market. They are available in different sizes, prices and designs. But they also have several different features that set them apart. Some have 1 phase and others 3. At first this will all be a little overwhelming, because what does it all mean?
Let’s simplify the process and make it a little easier.
First, you need to calculate how much power you are using at peak times. Let’s assume you have 3kW of energy at peak usage, which means you’ll need an inverter that can provide an output of at least 3kW. Many home owners prefer installing a bigger solar inverter, just in case they want to upgrade their collectors or panels.
Newer models come with digital displays and 24 hour tracking possibilities. You can stay on top of the energy efficiency either through your smart device, pc or through the digital display.
As you can see, modern inverters have fairly sleek designs, and they can be installed indoors and outdoors. But what you want to look at is:
- Does the inverter provide the amount of energy you need?
- Can it handle the input current from the panels?
- Are you planning on upgrading later on? In which case you’ll need a bigger inverter
- How big is your budget?
The last thing you want to do is to be skimpy about paying for an inverter. These are components that work constantly, so they have to be high quality and they have to function at the highest level of efficiency.
Choosing the Right Solar Batteries
If you spend some time on solar power forums you’ll notice how people can differ. Yes, they can even have different opinions about solar batteries. Some only believe in lithium-ion batteries, while others only support AGM. If you want more specific details about your batter options, we suggest reading this article. But for this specific part of the off-the-grid guide, we want to focus on why they are so important.
Batteries supplement for two things. The first, the battery will be your source of power when the sun is not shining. How long you can use the battery during the night will depend on its charging capabilities, the discharge efficiency and the size. Secondly, the battery will make up for the lack of power during cloudy days.
The amount of batteries you’ll need will also depend on the size of the solar array and the type of batteries you choose. For example, you’ll only need one lithium-ion battery for an off-the-grid system.
Some Final Thoughts
Always approach an off-the-grid system as a very smart investment. You’ll be saving so much money while giving yourself so much independence. Can you really put a price on that?