Inverters:What does an inverter do?

An Inverter gives the user the ability to use power from a DC (direct current) source like your batteries and convert it to AC (alternating current) like your household grid. This will give you the ability to turn on your residence lights, run your microwave, play your stereo day or night and without a generator. On a grid-tied solar PV system, it would give you power during a power failure.

What inverter is right for me?

Choosing the right inverter is determined by the appliances you plan to use.

  • A weekend cottage that runs a few lights, low power tv, radio (no fridge). Suppose you have two or four PV modules and a small battery bank, this will generate 200 Watts peak poewr and 1000 W/hrs of energy per day.
  • A seasonal cottage that requires refrigeration and limited water pumping. You can use a small inverter for 1,500 Watts peak power and up to 2,000 Whrs per day of energy. You may need a PV array of approximately 500 watts Peak.
  • A large system designed for full-time residence with all high efficiency appliances including a home-theatre, dishwasher, natural gas clothes dryer, washing machine, central vacuum, and a electric refrigeration. A PV array of 2000 Watts peak or higher dependent on load, will need an inverter between 2,500 Watts to 4,000 Watts peak output or larger. It may need to be larger depending on final peak load. These are just examples. Please contact us to have your needs calculated.

Chargers:What does a charger do?

The function of an battery charger is to recharge batteries in the least amount of time without overcharging. A good charger should monitor the level of charge and reduce the amount of current as it approaches full charge. It maintains the battery at a full charge without bubbling away the hydrogen in the electrolyte.

Controllers: What does a Controller do?

The key to extending battery life in a solar system is to protect the batteries from both a complete discharge and overcharging. A charge controller is a power system component whose functions include regulation of solar charge current, and in some cases to provide low battery protection.

A charge controller, or regulator, prevents overcharging by limiting the current flowing into the batteries. They are analogous to a switch in the charging circuit which opens when the batteries have reached a 100% state of charge. A good regulator will also provide a float current to keep batteries topped up.