A solar inverter is a device that converts the direct current (DC) electricity generated by solar panels into alternating current (AC) electricity that is suitable for use in most homes and businesses. It plays a crucial role in a solar power system by ensuring that the electricity produced by the solar panels can be used to power appliances and devices that run on AC power. The AC voltage varies depending on the standard set in each country, from 110V to 240V. In Australia, the standard is 240V.
When sunlight falls on the solar panels, they generate DC electricity due to the photovoltaic effect. However, most electrical appliances and the power grid operate on AC electricity. Therefore, a solar inverter converts the DC power from the panels into AC power that matches the local electrical supply.
Modern solar inverters employ advanced electronics to perform this conversion process efficiently and accurately. They also incorporate various control mechanisms to optimise the power output and ensure the safe and reliable operation of the solar power system.
Solar inverters typically come in different types, such as string inverters, microinverters, and power optimisers. String inverters are commonly used in residential and commercial installations, where multiple solar panels are connected in a series (string). Microinverters and power optimisers, on the other hand, are used in systems where each solar panel has a dedicated inverter, providing individual maximum power point tracking (MPPT) and increased energy harvest.
In summary, a solar inverter is a vital component of a solar power system that converts the DC electricity generated by solar panels into AC electricity, allowing us to use solar energy to power most of our basic electrical appliances.