How to choose inverters for homes and properties. Inverters convert the solar battery output into 110 or 230-volt alternating current. It is all-but-essential to use one. Using only 12-48 volts is too limiting for all but basic cabins.
Two Outback Power inverters are interconnected. Pic: Outback Power
User only inverters marketed as sine-wave (not modified sine wave etc). High-quality sine wave inverters produce electricity that is ‘cleaner’ than the average grid supply. Other types do not. They may wreck sensitive electronics. There are two main types of sine wave inverter:
Those transformer-based are bulky and heavy. This is rarely an issue for homes and properties. Their major plus is inherent overload capacity. Tools and domestic appliances draw two/three times they’re running current whilst starting. Transformer units handle this with ease. Some produce twice or more their output rating for 30 minutes or so.
Transformer-based inverters up to 1500 watts will run from 12 volts. Those for up to 3000 watts require a 24-volt inverter. Anything over that needs 48 volts.
A few (such as the Outback Power units shown) can be parallel-connected if a higher output is required. This ability is uncommon. If you need to do this, obtain written assurance.
Switch-mode inverters are smaller and lighter. Few, however, have overload capacity. Most only sustain their rated output for a few seconds. The better quality units sustain 80% (of rated output) for constant use. Some, however, may only sustain 50%. Switch-mode inverters work best for loads that draw no excess starting energy. These are rare. Air-compressors draw many times they’re running current whilst starting.
In Solar Books opinion, the best inverters for home and properties are those transformer-based.
Inverters involve complex technology. Our book, Solar Success explains inverters for homes and properties. Solar That Really Works! does likewise for boats, cabins and RVs. The top-selling Caravan & Motorhome Electrics covers inverters in detail. All our books are in digital or print versions. Digital ones can be bought right now. Click on a title (above). Print versions are stocked by all Jaycar stores in Australia and New Zealand and most Australian book shops. They are also available via email (and post) from booktopia.com.au