With the number of appliances that need electric power increasing at home, a steady supply of power is required. Sometimes the constant flow of power is not available, especially if you are solar energy. To ensure the appliances are always powered, devices like the UPS inverter and a solar inverter are installed in your solar PV system. What are these devices, and how do they work?
A UPS inverter stands for Uninterrupted Power Supply. From the Name, this device keeps the appliances powered even during a blackout. While on the other hand, a solar inverter converts DC into AC.
In this article, we will discuss how this device works and if you can use both devices simultaneously. Stick around.
What is the difference between a solar inverter and a UPS inverter?
An UPS, which stands for Uninterrupted Power Supply, stops any power interruption when powering an appliance in case. This blackout. These devices are primarily used in computers. In case of a sudden blackout, the computer will shut down safely. A solar inverter on the other only converts DC into AC.
Both UPS inverters and solar inverters can convert DC into AC. Although these devices are similar in some ways, these devices are different. A UPS inverter will power a device for about 10-15 minutes to enable the appliances to shut down safely.
For this reason, a UPS inverter system is used in IT appliances like a computer that a sudden blackout can damage. Other differences between the two systems are discussed below.
The type of appliance you want to protect will determine the system you install in your solar PV system. A UPS inverter can hold a backup charge for 10-15 minutes. For this reason, it is used with devices such as a computer. The system powers the computer for those minutes, enabling you to shut down the device safely.
A solar inverter, on the other hand, can hold power for hours. It enables a solar battery to charge and power devices like bulbs and other electronics.
If you come from areas where solar energy is not reliable, you should consider using a solar inverter compared to a UPS. You can use a solar inverter to power the whole house, while UPS is ideal for electronics like computers.
A UPS inverter is a direct connection. You do not need a lot of wiring, as is the case for the inverter. An inverter has to be connected to a solar battery and the panel. You, therefore, need some knowledge to do so. You will also need to check if the amount of distilled water is adequate if you are using old versions of solar inverters.
An UPS inverter is continuously charged and discharged even when there is no sunlight energy.
Generally UPS are expensive compared to Solar inverters.
Other differences between a UPS and inverter include;
- In case of sudden power interruption, an UPS will transfer the role of charging a device to the battery within 10minutes while an Inverter will take at least hours.
- Standby inverters and grid-tie inverters are the types of solar inverters, while for UPS inverters, we have offline, online, and line interruptive.
- UPS inverters have independent input; therefore, they do not have a voltage fluctuation. On the other hand, solar inverters have voltage fluctuation.
Do I need ups if I have an inverter?
Depending on the appliance you want to protect in case of sudden backup, you can have a UPS inverter and a solar inverter. For example, if you power your whole home, you will need a solar inverter.
However, if a computer can get damaged in case of a power outage, you should have a UPS inverter.
Can a solar inverter be used as a UPS inverter?
Although a UPS inverter can convert DC into AC, a solar inverter cannot be used as a UPS. A UPS inverter holds some charge for a few minutes to slow delicate devices to shut down safely. On the other hand, a solar inverter is used in the home system for appliances that cannot become defective in case of sudden power interruption.
Protecting your devices from sudden power interruptionn will increase their lifespan and efficiency by a long shot. There are two types of systems that can be used for this purpose.
A UPS inverter is helpful if you have devices that can get damaged in a sudden power outage. The system will provide backup power for 10-15 minutes as the device shutdown safely. A solar inverter, on the other hand, will convert DC into AC to power your home. Solar inverters will hold power for hours before the shutdown.
Eng. Matthew 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”.