For a 100-watt solar panel, the ideal inverter size is within the 300 to 600-watt range, specifically a 12V DC to 220V AC model. This is crucial because the inverter serves as the backbone of your solar energy system, converting Direct Current (DC) from the solar panel into Alternating Current (AC). AC is the standard form of electricity used in household appliances, and it’s more reliable and efficient than DC.
The importance of AC over DC can’t be overstated. AC electricity is easier on your electrical equipment, reducing wear and tear and extending the lifespan of your devices. On the other hand, DC is prone to fluctuations that can put undue stress on your equipment, potentially leading to premature failure.
Inverters offer more than just DC to AC conversion. They are equipped with features that maximize the power output from your solar panel, ensuring you get the most energy possible. They also interface with the electrical grid, allowing for smoother integration of your solar energy into the existing infrastructure. Modern inverters even come with internet connectivity, enabling real-time monitoring of power production and system health via smartphone apps.
When choosing an inverter, it’s essential to match its capacity to your solar panel’s output. For a 100-watt panel, an inverter with a capacity between 300 and 600 watts is recommended. This ensures that the inverter can handle the power generated by the panel without causing inefficiencies or risking damage to your system.
What does a power inverter do?
The inverter is also known as the AC driver or Variable frequency drive. It is an electronic device that changes the Direct Current to the Alternating Current. The inverter device is also responsible for controlling the electricity’s speed with the torque for electric motors.
The device turns the direct current from the 100w Solar panel to the alternate current.
The alternate current or the AC is the most reliable source of the electric current as it reduces the pressure on the equipment and gives the full potential to the appliance to run smoothly.
The inverter is similar to your home power grid that you use to plug and run your home appliances and devices.
It powers all your electronic equipment as a standard DC power source. However, the AC offers more reliability and less electricity loss than the DC power source.
The inverter itself could not provide electricity. It entirely depends on the power supply from the DC source.
The input voltage, output voltage, and frequency of the electricity determine the power handling while using the device.
Power inverters are majorly used in the field where high electric current equipment is used.
The voltage-current passing through circuits needs to be moderated before reaching the electronic device. The high voltage direct current can damage your electronic device instantly.
Benefits of connecting the inverter to your solar system
1. Convert DC to AC power:
The primary function of the inverter is to convert the direct current to the alternate current. When you connect your solar panel to the inverter (directly connection possible through hybrid type solar inverter) or the batteries, the current flow from the solar panel is in the form of DC.
The DC is unstable and can go up and down frequently, adding pressure to the equipment. On the other hand, an alternate current smoothes out the direct current and moves the current flow back and forth.
2. Maximizes the Power:
The inverter is responsible for adjusting power output in the low voltage current receiving from the DC. It moderates the current and identifies the wrong peak in the string. It reduces the overall energy production of the system when the DC fluctuates.
3. Interface with the grid:
The smart inverter tracks the energy flow and works to reduce the load on the equipment. When there is direct current interference, the inverter monitors the change in the energy flow.
If the frequency lasts longer, the inverter holds the power distribution until the current is stabilized. It can support the grid system to run specific voltage, frequency, communications, and controls.
4. Power production report:
The inverter can track the power production and report to the owner frequently. Modern inverters come with internet connectivity and Bluetooth technology support that connects to the Smartphone and exchanges data.
The information shared by the inverter would be useful for identifying the flow of electricity in your solar panel grid. You can decide based on the received data and make your solar energy helpful system.
Solar panel owners can check the error codes, diagnose the issue, and get real-time power production information from the inverters. Various smartphone applications are available that make data reading easy.
5. Ensure Safe System operation:
The inverter works as a safety device that tracks the solar power generation system’s performance, and in case of an unexpected event, it shuts down the electrical arc.
The problem occurs when the system ages and materials degradation happens after using the equipment for several years. Inverters are programmed to identify the arcs and shut them down in time before they reach the point where the equipment can be damaged.
How do you find the inverter size for solar panels?
Generally, the inverter’s size is calculated based on the DC rating of your solar panel system. If you install the 10-kilowatt system, you must have around an inverter with 10000 watts, plus or minus a small percentage.
Your solar array size is a crucial loss on the power generation and maximum utilization of the connected equipment.
Your inverter will convert the direct current from the solar panel system; therefore, the inverter must have the capacity to convert the power into useful energy.
Your inverter must have the capacity to handle the load and avoid any damage to the whole system.
The inverter manufacturers generally list the size guideline on the specification sheet. You should select the compatible inverter that suits your solar panel system and can handle the devices.
Connecting the inverter to your solar panel system that does not support the voltage would damage the inverter.
Also, the manufacturer voids the warranty if the inverter is connected to the extensive grid system.
How to choose a 100-watt solar panel kit with an inverter?
Many manufacturers offer the complete kit of the solar panel with the inverter. You can check online and compare it with different brands. The complete package also helps you acquire the service at the best price.
However, buying a single piece of equipment could be beneficial if you want a customized solution.
The combined kit would have limited access to the equipment. So whatever is already in the pack, you have to satisfy with the given equipment.
In contrast, buying solar panel equipment separately gives you the advantage of selecting the individual parts per your needs.
You can also arrange the different setups, cables, and equipment that help you assemble the equipment in place.
However, you may need technical support to understand some of the equipment to ensure it is compatible with the system. For example, the connection cable must support the solar panel.
Follow the below guidelines while buying the 100-watt solar panel kit with an inverter.
Ensure that the quality of the product is high. The manufacturer uses the low price to attract more customers in most cases.
The low price indicates that the product is of low quality and cannot serve its purpose. Use the product from the brand.
The brand products are manufactured with rigorous testing, assuring high quality.
2. The capacity:
Solar panels would have capacity grading mentioned in the specification section. Check the details and understand how much energy the whole system can generate.
Compare that with your daily use or the need for energy for the particular device. If the system cannot fulfill your requirement, it is not useful, and you may lose money on it.
Always check the size of each piece of equipment packed in the package. The solar panel output is determined based on the size of the panel.
The more the solar panel assembles into one sheet, the more energy it can produce. Also, the panel’s size would give you a rough estimation of how much energy it could produce in a day.
You can calculate the final output by calculating the overall production capacity of the solar panel.
Also, when it comes to assembling the solar system in your home or commercial building, the size is essential as you may have limited space for the system.
The large size solar panel would be difficult to assemble; hence it would create trouble.
Eng. Matthew Joseph Nandirio is the Founder of walkingsolar.
After graduating from the University of Houston in 2002, matt started working as a Solar Electrical 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”.