Entering into solar energy means ordering all the elements that will make up your entire solar installation. You have read and learned all about the essence of this renewable energy, solar panels. Now it's time to move on to the next component of your solar system: the inverters. Since there's so much to consider, we've put together this 24V Inverter Buyer's Guide to help you through every stage of the buying process.
24V inverters are less common than 12V inverters, and most people choose them when they need to power 3000+ watt appliances from their solar system. As you read this 24 Volt Inverter Buyer's Guide, you'll understand the basics of 24V inverters, their best uses, the role they play in your system, and relevant considerations in the buying process.
The first thing you need to know before buying an inverter is what they are and what they do.
A power inverter is a device that converts low-voltage DC (direct current) power to standard household AC (alternating current) power. This energy conversion allows you to use electricity to power everyday appliances. Inverters do not produce power on their own. They get power from other electrical sources that produce DC, such as batteries or solar panels. The DC power supply must provide enough voltage to meet the power demands of the appliances.
Just like solar panels, inverters have different voltage and wattage ratings. The input voltage of the inverter varies depending on the design. However, 12, 24 and 48 volts are the most common options. 12-volt inverters are commonly used in small systems such as RVs, while 24-volt and 48-volt inverters are a popular choice for home power systems.
There are mainly two types of solar inverters: pure sine wave inverters and modified sine wave inverters.
Pure sine wave inverters produce the same power as utility companies. Its output voltage comes in the form of sine waves, a very harmonic and smooth waveform with little distortion. Since the current gently rises and falls below zero, they are perfect for running the most sensitive electronic devices. Pure sine wave inverters are more expensive and are often combined by homeowners with modified sine wave inverters in a large solar system.
Modified sine wave inverters are more affordable and less efficient. Still, they are the most common among home solar systems. Modified sine wave inverters also produce power waves. The main difference is that the current takes the form of a sharp, square wave. You can power most electronic devices with modified sine wave inverters. However, they are not ideal for running delicate appliances that require a smooth, clean stream.
In this section, you will find explanations on the essential aspects that you should consider when buying an inverter.
The number of outlets you need depends on the number of appliances you want to work with the inverter. Most inverters come with dual AC outlets, but there are inverters with up to four outlets. Some inverters also come with USB outlets to avoid using adapters and large plugs to charge cell phones.
If the inverter's built-in outlets aren't enough, you can always connect a power strip to your inverter's output receptacle, and then plug your various devices into the power strip.
It is normal for investors to make a certain amount of noise. In most cases, it is the internal cooling fans that prevent heat build-up. You can also expect increased noise when investors maintain high returns for long periods of time. Still, most high-quality inverters are usually very quiet and their noise is tolerable.
If noise level is a primary concern for you, you can check the noise level of your inverter on the data sheet to ensure it is quiet. Also, you should install your inverter away from bedroom windows or places where you spend a lot of time.
Modified sine wave inverters may emit a vibrating hum when connected to certain appliances or devices, such as computers or hair dryers.