So you are thinking about installing a solar system – you’ve got us smiling.
Welcome to the world of renewable energy, where you can sleep soundly at night knowing your heating or cooling system isn’t going to send you to the poorhouse.
You can also enjoy knowing that you are doing your part to combat climate change, improve your carbon footprint, and transition to the new way of powering your household. There's a lot to look forward to in this space, and you’ve made the transition at a good time.
Essentially, this converts direct current (DC) electricity into alternating current (AC) power. Solar panels are built to turn sunlight into DC energy, but your home needs AC to run all of your lighting and appliances, so the inverter is an essential part of the setup. There are many different types of inverter on the market, though, so which one should you be purchasing with your system?
Your inverter should be aligned with the DC rating of the solar system itself, so if you have a 6 kilowatt (kW) system, you will need an inverter that is around the 6000 W mark to match it. It is perfectly fine if your inverter is slightly smaller or larger, but you want it to be about the same size as your system so that all of the DC being produced can be transformed into usable AC electricity for your home.
This is a good question as it ties into not only the inverter size but how many panels you are going to need on your roof to power your home fully. At the very least, you will need a 1500 W inverter and a 1.5 kW system, but this is only an entry point and designed for small homes with minimal electricity usage.
There are also two figures you need to consider: continuous power and peak/surge power. The continuous power rating is for the watts that your inverter will be supplying around the clock to power your home. Peak/surge is the rating required for starting up the bigger appliances like your fridge or air-conditioning, which can require 3-7 times the wattage.
You can use devices like smart metres to determine your home’s power needs, both continuous and peak/surge, and align that data with the system you need to purchase. This is also a golden opportunity to get to understand your energy usage so you can make small changes that will make a big difference to your electricity bill as well.