Inverters Grid-Tie 

The inverter is perhaps the most important part of any solar system connected to the grid; it can be considered the brain of the system. The inverter determines the voltage at which the system switches on and off. It determines when the solar panels receive enough light in the morning to start sending energy to the grid and it also determines wh...
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  • String Inverters
    String Inverters
    The solar panels in a grid-tie systems are connected to a Central or String Inverter to convert the voltage from the solar panels to a voltage compatible with the electric grid. A grid-tie string inverter must include the following characteristics for safe operation and comply with UL guidelines. The inverter must have a main switch to completely shutdown the entire system, it must have a Ground Fault Detection and Interruption (GFDI) device and an Arc Fault Detection and Interruption (AFDI) device. The inverter must be shut off for 5 minutes after the voltage in the utility grid drops. String inverters can be ordered in 240V, 208V and 277V configurations; some units are field configurable adjusting to single phase and three-phase systems. All central inverters feature a display that will show various production values such as daily generation, cumulative generation, current voltage, etc. Some inverters feature a series of LED lights in the front face that will alert the user when something is not working and needs attention from a technician. The inverter is the device that decides the main functions of the system such as when to start operations in the morning. It is very important to select the right inverter in order to ensure the best performance of the system during its 30-year life cycle. All inverters are designed for outdoor use; however, they should always be installed in a cool and well ventilated location and never in direct sunlight.
  • Microinverters / Optimizers
    Microinverters / Optimizers
    The use of microinverters allows for more advanced monitoring capabilities as well as for a more flexible installation. As opposed to string inverters, you will have one microinverter per solar panel and each pair of solar panel+microinverter is independent from the rest of the system. Microinverters pose an unique advantage when there is shading from nearby objects like trees and buildings. Microinverters can be found in 240V configuration for single phase systems and 208V for three-phase installations. Similar to central inverters, they comply with all UL safety regulations. Microinverters do not have moving parts, switches or buttons. They are outdoor rated and are usually mounted under the solar panels. They do not feature independent displays; however, the system needs to be supplied with a display monitor that will allow you to keep track of your systems performance. The monitor will also allow you to check the systems performance remotely via the internet. One feature that is only available with microinverters is the capability to monitor the performance of each panel individually. The visual interface makes it very easy to identify when a solar panel has been disconnected or is not performing at its optimum capacity. Microinverters are also recommended when the solar panels are installed in challenging locations, for example a roof top with skylights, chimneys, vents, pipes, antennas, etc. In these types of scenarios, the solar array needs to be broken down into smaller sub arrays, a task that is simplified by using microinverters. The smallest string inverter available is 2000W, if a smaller grid-tie system is needed, microinverters are the best option.
  • Battery Backup
    Battery Backup
    The inverters listed in this section are designed to be connected to the utility grid and also have a backup energy storage. These inverters tend to be less efficient than conventional grid-tie inverters (without backup power capabilities) and should be considered as an inverter for power backup with ability to connect to the grid and never as an inverter for interconnection with backup storage capability. In other words, if the backup power is not required, we recommend using a conventional grid-tie inverter. When the utility grid fails, the system is disconnected from the network and activates the battery bank to power your home. If a power outage occurs during the day and the panels are generating energy, they will be used to recharge the batteries. If the outage occurs at night , the batteries will be recharged immediately once the grid power resumes. When the batteries are fully charged, the excess energy produced by the solar panels will be sent to the utility grid via a bidirectional meter. The kWh generated and supplied to the grid will be taken into account as a credit on your next electricity bill. The operation mode in these inverters can recreate two scenarios. The most common scenario is when the energy stored is used during emergencies only. In this case, it is very important that the batteries are always fully charged, therefore the batteries will charge from any available source of energy, whether it is the solar panels or the grid. The second scenario is when the inverter can be operated in "off-grid" mode. In this mode, the batteries are charged only from the renewable energy source and the grid connection is optional for overcast days or when additional energy is needed.
  • Inverter Accessories
    Inverter Accessories
    Most grid-tie inverters offer the possibility to monitor your solar system remotely via the internet, this is not a feature available in the inverter's factory settings but can be easily enabled by purchasing the necessary accessories. Once the inverter is properly connected the the existing network it will be accessible remotely and production values will be available on any computer. Some inverters allow to be configured remotely and sometimes even wirelessly. Mayor inverter brands offer remote LCD displays that show real-time and cumulative production readings of the solar system. The display can be conveniently mounted in common areas like the kitchen, living room or garage with the purpose of visually monitor the performance of the solar system and immediately identify any faults. This is highly recommended when the inverter is mounted on a location that is not visited in regular basis like a storage room or the roof in order to notice if the PV system is not performing as it should.

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