One of the most common misconceptions about solar inverters is that they store energy or power.
Many people think that the solar inverter works for storing the power for later use when the sun is gone.
But do solar inverters store power? If not, then what is its main function? Let’s find out!
In this article, we will reveal whether the solar inverter stores power or not and its main function.
Do solar inverters store power?
No, the solar inverter does not store any power or energy. It draws its power from a storage battery source when it is not in use. However, it does not store solar energy or power from the storage battery source.
Simply, it cannot store any power or energy. It has only the ability to convert a type of electrical power to another.
Why do you need an inverter for solar panels?
The main function of the inverters is to convert direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC). But now, a question that might strike your mind is, why to convert the DC power to AC.
This is because modern electrical appliances depend on and work on AC power or electricity. But the solar panels produce electricity as DC power.
So, the electrical power produced by solar panels cannot be directly used to run most modern household appliances.
To transform the solar power source into a power source that is usable and adaptable for home and office electrical appliances, solar inverters are used to convert the AC power from the solar panel to DC to serve the home appliances.
Thus, for this reason, if you are using solar panels as the electrical power source of your house, it is required to use solar inverters along with them to make them usable.
What does a solar inverter do?
The solar inverter is one of the most significant parts of the solar power system. It converts the DC generated from the solar panel to the AC that the electrical grid uses.
In DC power, the electricity regulates a constant voltage in a single direction. Whereas, in AC power, the electricity flows in both circuit directions as the voltage changes from positive to negative.
Hence, the solar inverter regulates the flow of electrical power that the solar panel produces. The solar inverter converts the DC power generated from the solar panel to AC by switching the direction of the DC input back and forth.
Therefore, the DC power transforms into AC power. This AC power is utilized as the source of electrical power for most household electronics and appliances.
Can you use a solar inverter without a battery?
If you want to save the solar energy from the solar panel to use later, one of the preferable options is getting a solar inverter with a battery. However, there are many on-grid solar inverters without battery storage used by most people prefer ease and simplicity more than energy storage.
Solar inverters convert the DC power from solar energy to AC power without storing it for later use.
Hence, the electric grid and the appliances use solar energy as the power source when the system is active.
The off-grid solar inverters with battery storage are comparatively a bit more complicated than the ones without batteries. These solar inverters require a combination of battery storage and solar panel.
The excellent news is apart from this on-grid and off-grid solar inverter type; there is one more type of solar inverter that does both. These are called hybrid solar inverters. They are an all-in-one advanced interactive inverter that has the capability to integrate solar and battery technology.
That is why these inverters can provide power both with and without battery storage.
Though setting these hybrid solar inverters is not as easy as the on-grid solar inverters, if you want to get the service of storing the power from the solar panel along with the insurance that if the battery voltage runs out, still the inverter will function, this is the option for you. The hybrid solar inverter system requires multiple inverters and a battery charger to manage the grid connection and charge and discharge the battery.
The main function of a hybrid inverter is that it combines the solar inverter and battery inverter within a single unit. Though these inverters are not cheap but economical as they enable load-shifting as well as self-use of energy.
One drawback of hybrid inverters is that they cannot provide power during a power outage or blackout. They also have limited functionality and monitoring ability.
Can you store solar power without a battery?
If you are not looking forward to getting a hybrid solar inverter, instead want an option where you will not have to use any battery to store the solar energy, then Grid Inter-Tie can be a good option.
This system is achieved by net-metering. Through net metering, the surplus produced solar energy from the solar panel is transferred to the grid and then, your electric meter rolls backward. And then, during the nighttime, when the system does not generate electricity, the electricity from the grid can be pulled, and the electric meter rolls forward.
This is how the grid can be used to store the generated solar electricity.
So, now you know what the main function of the solar inverter is. And it should be crystal clear to you by now that solar inverters do not store power. However, it would help if you always remembered that for using a solar panel to run modern household appliances, a solar inverter is a must.
Otherwise, it will not work on your electronics and appliances. I hope I was able to help you clear out your confusion about the real function of the solar inverter.
Thanks for reading till the end!
Matthew Joseph NandirioMatthew Joseph Nandirio is the Founder of walkingsolar. After graduating from the University of Houston in 2002, matt started working as an electrical and electronic engineer for several multi-national solar energy companies. He has a wide range of experiences including solar system requirement analysis, planning, maintaining, debugging and even solar device development through research. He now shares his 20 years of expertise through his articles on the walkingsolar website. Further, he is also the author of two books on Solar Technology, “Solar Power for Villages” and “DIY Solar System for Dummies”.