Inverters can be smarter than you think
Solar inverter, also called the ‘brain’ of a solar system, will balance the consumption and supply of renewable energy for your household in the best way, so you can further increase savings on your energy bill.
Together with increasing interest in photovoltaic systems and energy demand management, there are more and more solutions available on the market. One thing that evolved throughout years is the role of inverter.
The basic function of inverter is to convert DC to AC. Thanks to that we can use the energy for supplying home appliances as well as send it directly to the grid. But the market of photovoltaic systems keeps on developing, pararelly with functions of its components. That’s why companies and research laboratories are teaming up to further develop solar inverters so energy can be used in a clever way. Not only the extra energy is stored for consumption later on, but this device can be “told” whether to use photovoltaic energy or not, when to store it, or save you in case of a power blackout.
The most visible trends on inverter market are:
1) Large market share of 3-phase inverters. It’s due to performance and price ratio of those components.
2) Higher DC input allowed. So far the most popular was the voltage of 600 V (approximately 12 modules in series). Nowadays inverters allow even 1000 V (equal to 20 modules in series). This means less connevctions, fuses and in consequence- 40% reduction of price on DC side as well as smaller energy losses.
3) Transformerless inverters. Most popular in Europe and after the change of law also in US. Transformerless solutions mean higher efficiency, lower costs of O&M and work much quieter.
4) S – size In the future, inverter market can be dominated by microinverters.
Microinverters’ software can be constantly updated and this eliminates the hassle of replacing the whole system when it is dated. Once installed, the inverter will create a ‘smart’ network with your PV and the grid. You are able to keep track of the production and consumption.
Apart from DC/AC conversion, the majority of normal inverters also include such functions as power optimization (i.e. thanks to MPP trackers). MPPT tracking will draw the maximum power from your PV panel, despite eneven shading, irradiance or electrical differences .
What’s also important is grid sincronisation, island performance protection and communication with storage system if installed. But smart inverters can do much more.
The smart inverters are being developed with better forecasting algorithms, load/demand planning etc. The inverter is controlled by a software platform which is user friendly. It also comes with a performance monitoring feature where you can keep track of the processes and energy source. Data is sent and received fast and the system is capable of real and reactive power support. With the smart inverter installed, technicians and installers are able to better diagnose problems and do small upgrades to the system.
Those inverters are also able to present performance date in real time, even when connection is lost. Quite a new function is voltage and current parameters adaptation which gives additional savings. Smart inverter instead of switching off when values are out of its tolerance (something that a standard inverter would do), adapt the parameters, increasing stability of the grid.
Hybrid inverters can operate both on and off the grid. This will enable smarter energy management. You have the option to store the extra energy to a battery bank for later consumption or sell the extra energy back to the grid and make some money to pay for your investment.
With hybrid inverters you can rest assured your household will have electricity during a blackout. In back-up mode, the inverter is able to switch from on-grid to off-grid when the system is facing an electric outage. You can rest assured that the system will handle the power fluctuations and overloading faults.
New solutions appear frequently on inverter market togerther with growing interest in pv plants, back-up implementation. They are also the answer to accurate data analysis demand and requirements of utilities. Components like this make the reliability of pv plants much better. Do you use such products? Present their advantages to your customers!
Do you already know which inverters to use for pv systems that you design? Check the full inverter database incorporated in EasySolar app! Also, read more about solar inverters on GreenMatch.co.uk
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