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> Learning Center > How to Determine the Right Grid Tied Inverter

How to Determine the Right Grid Tied Inverter

By N. Olison – PV Power Contributor – October 27, 2009

Article Highlights:

  • First decide what your needs are for your system.
  • Make sure the inverter can provide for what your need
  • Research how efficient each inverter is.
  • Decide if you will be charging batteries as well as your home.

When determining the right grid-tie inverter for your system, you have to consider what you want to accomplish. A grid-tied photovoltaic (PV) system takes energy from solar panels as well as from the utility grid. Your inverter is going to be decided by how big the house is that’s powered, and how much energy it’s going to take to power all of the necessary appliances.  It’s important to know what the requirements are to your house.

Define What You are Looking for in Your System
If you’re in the market for a grid-tie inverter, then that means you’re looking to have your PV system interact with the utility grid. This allows you to either a) cut down on your electric bill or b) in the event you produce more electricity than you use, you can sell excess energy back to the utility company.

Make Sure It can Accommodate your Needs
Your inverter will have to match the voltage as your array of solar panels. If you’re using 24 volt solar panels, then you’ll have to use a 24 volt inverter as well. Also, it is imperative to know how much power is needed to run your household. Each inverter has built in limits that it cannot oversee. Buying an inverter that isn’t up to snuff means you can’t use the appliances that you want to.

Research the Efficiency of the Inverter
The efficiency of an inverter is determined by the percentage of energy in to energy out. So if an inverter works at 80% efficiency, 20% of the energy was lost before it could be put to use. The efficiency varies based on how much power the inverter’s providing. It’s operating at peak efficiency when it’s working at about 2/3rds of its limit. It is wise to choose an inverter that operates at a high efficiency according to how much electricity you will be using.

Will you be Charging Batteries as Well?
Using grid-tied inverters means that you have the option of charging batteries or not. The main difference between the two is that batteries allow for backup power in case of a power outage. A grid-tied inverter that doesn’t charge batteries is programmed to shut off with the grid and will not supply backup power. You should also take into account the cost of purchasing and maintaining the batteries.

Take Action!
After you’ve done your research, buy the inverter!  This is going to be a long term investment but the sooner your purchase your system the sooner you will start saving money.

Click Here to Read About Off Grid Inverters

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