Inverters convert DC electricity into AC electricity and are used in both off-grid and grid-tie applications.
Solar panels, and most small wind turbines, produce DC electricity. That electricity is used to charge a battery bank in off-grid solar systems or, for grid-tie systems, it is sent directly to a grid-tie inverter, which feeds electricity directly to the electric grid.
Browse our wide selection of off-grid and grid-tie solar inverters below. We also offer marine/mobile, micro and hybrid inverters, which are capable of working both as an off-grid and grid-tie solar inverter.Read more +
Since each inverter needs proper disconnects on the AC and DC side, people often choose the simplicity of one of our self-contained Inverter Power Panels. By mounting one to four inverters on a power panel, that's wired with the appropriate disconnects, you have yourself a safe, pre-wired inverter system - which can save time and costs of hiring a professional electrician.
Choosing the right inverter for your off-grid solar system will be based on accurately calculating your electrical loads and usage patterns. The size off-grid inverter you need is based on your 'peak load' requirements - all the AC loads that could be turned on simultaneously.
For example, if you will be using the 1500 watt microwave, while also running 100 watts of lighting and running a refrigerator that will draw 500 watts of power, you will need an inverter that can handle at least 2100 watts (1500 + 100 + 500). Once you have identified a minimum wattage, you will select an inverter that has the same nominal voltage as your battery bank (12, 24, or 48 VDC).
Grid-tie inverters connect directly to the utility grid and do not require batteries. A battery-less system is much less complex (and less costly) than a system with batteries. The one drawback is that a grid-tie solar inverter system without batteries cannot supply power to the home in the event of a power outage. For the safety of the workers working on the utility lines, the grid-tie inverter will shut down until power has been restored. If frequent power outages are not an issue, then a utility grid-tie system can be an excellent, cost effective option.
Furthermore, to qualify for most state rebate programs, you must be connected to the utility grid.
Sizing a grid-tie inverter can be a bit more complex than sizing an inverter intended to be used with batteries. Each inverter manufacturer offers a string sizing tool that will display the acceptable configurations for your PV array, based on the quantity and wattage of your solar panels. These string sizing tools also account for variations due to high and low temperature extremes.
Need more help understanding string sizing for inverters? Please give us a call at 877-878-4060.
Hybrid inverters are intended to hook directly to the utility grid AND can still allow a battery bank to provide backup power in case of a power outage. These inverters are typically at least 2500 watts and can operate with 24 or 48 volt DC battery banks. Some inverters are now being made to work with Tesla's Powerwall battery.