So you have already decided to opt for the clean solar power system at your home or office. But before implementing the solar installation make sure that that you are going for the right solar inverter which is considered to be the heart of your solar power system. It is said so because a solar panel can convert the direct current into alternating current only with the help of an inverter. Not only this but a solar inverter reduces the user’s overall electricity consumption and the money spent on paying the monthly utility bill. So keeping up in mind its immense importance, we have aligned some important aspects to look for in a solar inverter.
1) Calculate your power requirements
Before buying a solar inverter you should know what are your power requirements. When there is a power cut determine what are the equipments that are necessary for you at such time. Then look for the power ratings of these equipments. For eg: you would want to use three ceiling fans(90W each), three tubelights(30W each), one CFL(15W), one laptop(70W) and one desktop(120W). Then your power requirement will be the sum of the watts of all the equipments i.e 565 W.
2) Determine VA rating of the inverter
Often VA rating and Watt rating are confused to be the same but they are actually not. Watt is the power drawn or supplied by an equipment. VA is the apparent power which is obtained by multiplying the Voltage and Current supplied by an equipment. The relation between VA and Watt is as follows – Power rating of the inverter (VA) = Total power requirement (Watt)/Power Factor (PF) of the inverter.
Check the PF of the inverter, generally, it lies between 0.6 to 0.8.
So applying the above, you would need an inverter whose VA rating lies between 706 VA to 940 VA (Approx).
If the amount of VA rating is less than your power requirement then your inverter will get tripped because of overload and nobody wants that to happen at their hour of need.
3) Check the certifications of the inverter
Certifications ensure that your solar inverter is not only safe but also at par with the standards set by the leading solar power generating organizations. There are some standards that are mandatory to have in the solar inverter while other standards are used to verify the various power ratings as promised by the manufacturer. All in all make sure your inverter is certified for the respective standards. Typically Solar Inverters should comply to several of the IEC standards and a few required certifications are stated here.
- IEC 62116- Anti-islanding
- IEC 62109- Safety
- IEC 61683- Efficiency
- IEC 60068- Environmental
- EN 61000- EMC
- IEC 60529- Ingress Protection
4) Servicing and maintenance
Generally, the lifespan of a good solar inverter is in many years, even when it is subjected to very harsh conditions. But to make sure that the inverter is working with its full efficiency, yearly servicing is required. This includes qualified technicians to check the proper connections between the cables and the removal of the worn out parts of the inverter.
Make sure that the company is always available for you when the time comes and always show support.
5) Support during Voltage variation
There are times when there are sudden variations in voltage such as low grid voltage. So at those times, it is important for the inverter to maintain giving continuous power supply to the household/workplace. For a good solar inverter, the voltage variation support should range from 120V to 280V.
6) Load Surge Capacity
Most equipments like AC, washing machine and pumps need inrush currents that can range from 3 to 10 times their steady-state currents. For eg – A 1KVA inverter with 3x surge rating can smoothly handle an AC or a washing machine than a 2KVA inverter with 1x surge rating. So it is very important for the solar inverter to have the surge capacity to handle such kind of sudden loads that is necessary for starting above stated electrical equipments.
Apart from all the above features that a solar inverter must have, you should always go for the one that has protections like – short circuit protection, battery protection, IP protection(for eg- If you are placing your inverter outside, please make sure you have at least IP 54 rating,though IP65 is the best option) and earth leakage protection. With these savior features put all your worries to rest and enjoy the clean solar power energy at your home.