What are the basic functions my solar power inverter performs?
- Power maximisation – Solar panels all have a “Maximum Power Point”, a performance curve where they produce the most power under a given set of circumstances. Inverters are equipped with Maximum Power Point Trackers which continually hunt for this sweet spot and maximise the energy available from your solar array.
- Conversion – Solar panels produce Direct Current (DC) electricity with most solar arrays producing around 200-600 Volts DC. In New Zealand, we use power as 240V AC, so the second function of an inverter is to convert the direct current (DC) electricity to alternative current (AC) electricity.
- Regulation – As sunshine, solar output and grid conditions vary an inverter will regulate and synchronise all these variables so the power quality is within specification and power harvest is maximised. Regulation also includes monitoring and disconnecting the inverter and solar system from the grid if required for safety or other reasons, like malfunction.
- Monitoring – Inverters also measure and display information for you, so that you can check that your system is performing as expected or diagnose faults if they occur. Many options exist for accessing data including display screens on the inverter, web and smart phone based applications, monitors and more. Ask your installer to recommend appropriate system monitoring options.