Ultimate Guide to The Types of Solar Inverters

When deciding to use solar energy, it is crucial to acquire the proper apparatus. Solar panels are the most essential piece of solar equipment, as they are the ones that will generate your electricity. Nevertheless, the solar inverter is the next most crucial piece of equipment. Only some homeowners are familiar with solar inverters and their function in a solar panel system.

types of solar inverters

Solar inverters transform solar panels' direct current (DC) energy into alternating current (AC) compatible with the electrical grid and most household appliances. This article explains what a solar inverter is and the different types of solar inverters, including on-grid, off-grid, and hybrid solar inverters. Besides, owning a Jackery Solar Generator for off-grid use is highly recommended since it adopted pure sine wave inverters to provide smooth and constant electricity.

What Is A Solar Inverter?

Solar energy does not provide electricity in a format that could power your devices. Solar inverters convert the energy produced by solar panels into a form that can be utilized.

Direct Current (DC) electricity entails a unidirectional flow of electric charge. However, electricity that operates on an alternating current (AC) basis is characterized by a shift in the direction of the current flow.

The electric grid in the United States employs 60 hertz alternating current, which means that the electricity switches direction 60 times per second.

When the sun's beams strike photovoltaic (PV) panels, they cause the solar cells' electrons to move. This movement is in a single direction, which generates DC electricity. The circuits within your solar panels capture this current and send it to the solar PV inverter, which converts the DC to AC electricity.

On-Grid Solar Inverters

Anti Islanding Protection is an additional safety feature of on-grid solar inverters. This feature enables the home solar panel system to shut down the power supply in the event of an electrical arc. On-grid solar inverters primarily consist of string, microinverters, and power optimizers.

Types of On-Gird Solar Inverters

Pros

Cons

String / Central Solar Inverter

- Lowest costs

- Standard inverter

- No shade

- Commonly used

- Overall production decreases

- Can not monitor each panel

- Affect by solar panel facing directions

Micro-Inverter

- No shade influence

- Monitor individual solar panel

- Easy to satisfy increasing power needs

- Good for panels facing different directions

- Higher initial costs

- Not suitable for direct-sunlight rooftop

Power Optimizer

- More efficient than string inverter

- Less expensive than micro-inverter

- Monitor individual solar panel

- Higher initial costs

- Not suitable for direct-sunlight rooftop

String / Central Solar Inverter

String inverters, called central inverters, are today's oldest and most prevalent solar inverter. They connect a series of solar panels to a single inverter, which converts DC input into AC output.

string inverter

In the United States, string inverters are the cheapest option. Traditionally, a solar installation company would recommend a string inverter for your system if your roof received limited daytime shading and did not face multiple directions.

Your solar panels are arranged in groups connected by "strings," you can connect many strings of panels to a single, centralized inverter that transforms the DC electricity generated by the panels into AC electricity that can be used in your house or place of business.

Pros:

  • Since string inverters are the most established form of solar inverter, they are also the most dependable.
  • String inverters are also positioned centrally on the side of your home or close to a ground mount, which facilitates monitoring, repair, and replacement of the inverter.
  • After decades on the market, string inverters have ironed mainly out their flaws. They are the most affordable solar inverter option.

Cons:

  • Despite their dependability, string inverters are less effective at optimizing solar energy output.  
  • String inverters only monitor the entire system, as opposed to monitoring at the panel level. It can be a disadvantage when diagnosing solar production issues.

Micro-Inverter

Microinverters are tiny power converters built into each solar panel. Imagine that there are mini-currency exchanges on every adjacent street corner.

microinverter

It allows each panel to operate at its optimum performance independently of its neighbors. Even if the panel next to it is shaded by a tree branch for most of the day, all other panels can convert at total capacity. Any decrease in efficacy affects only one solar panel.

Additionally, microinverters allow you to monitor the efficacy of each solar panel. It helps identify problems with a single panel so they can be rectified before they affect the overall system's productivity. This type of solar inverter can be more expensive than string inverters, but it can pay for itself over time by allowing the system to generate more energy overall.

Pros:

  • The power output of the solar panel system will not be diminished by adjacent tree shade.
  • Individual panel monitoring is available.
  • Installing a second central inverter is more complex and costly than accommodating growing power demands.
  • Applicable to rooftops where solar modules may face a variety of directions.

Cons:

  • Microinverters are the most expensive solar inverter option.
  • Because microinverters are installed on the rear of each solar panel, it is more challenging to repair or replace any defective microinverters.

Power Optimizer

On the back of each solar panel are power optimizers, which operate with a string inverter to convert DC to AC. Each solar panel's direct current (DC) electricity is conditioned before being sent to the string inverter, turning it into alternating current (AC) electricity.

power optimizer

Much like micro-inverters, power optimizers consist of a component (the "optimizer") positioned beneath and embedded within each solar panel. These inverters do not convert direct current to alternating current (AC) on the premises; instead, they optimize the current before sending it to a central inverter.

Envision yourself skipping the line at the bank's foreign exchange counter. It is slower and more convenient than having a local exchange office a few steps from your home, but there is no waiting at the central office.

Pros:

  • Because power optimizers can condition the DC electricity generated by each solar panel, they can reduce the impact of shading on individual solar panels.
  • Unlike with a traditional string inverter setup, the output of the entire string will not drop if one solar panel is partially shadowed.
  • In addition to system-level monitoring, power optimizers offer panel-level tracking due to the string inverter.

Cons:

  • Power optimizers are more expensive than string inverters but less costly than microinverters.
  • Future expansion of your solar panel system will necessitate the installation of additional power optimizers and possibly other string inverters.

Off-Grid Solar Inverters

The off-grid solar inverter extracts energy from the power bank whenever there is a power outage at night or when sunlight is unavailable. It then converts the DC from the battery into usable AC and supplies it to the residence to power electrical appliances.

Off-grid systems utilize batteries to store solar-generated energy. Plans must be sized and designed to accommodate various requirements throughout the year, particularly in the winter when fewer daylight hours exist.

If you have a nomadic lifestyle or reside in a remote place without access to a stable and cost-effective grid, off-grid solar can be a fantastic method to meet your energy needs. There are two varieties of off-grid solar inverters: pure sine wave inverters and modified inverters.

Types of Off-Gird Solar Inverters

Pros

Cons

Pure Sine Wave Inverter

- Smooth and regular waveform

- Suitable for most appliances

- Higher efficiency

- Relatively cost, but is cost-effective in a long term

Modified Inverter

- Less expensive

- Easier to produce

- Not as smooth and constant waveform

- Not suitable for most appliances

- Lower efficiency

Pure Sine Wave Inverter

Pure sine wave inverters can generate more reliable, quieter, and interference-free electricity for operating appliances and electronics. As their name suggests, pure sine wave inverters generate current as a pure sine wave. Jackery Portable Power Stations offer a selection of pure sine wave inverters with varying capacities to accommodate your solar installation and energy requirements.

The sine wave power inverter generates an AC (alternating current) output waveform nearly identical to the sine wave produced by utility companies. A pure sine wave inverter's output waveform is a seamless curve replicating the natural waveform of utility company power, resulting in a stable and damage-free power supply ideal for powering sensitive electronics.

Pure sine wave inverters are preferred for various applications, including residences, RVs, boats, solar power systems, and more, because of their high-quality and dependable power output.

Pros:

  • A pure sine wave inverter generates a waveform comparable to the utility grid's smooth, regular waveform, which appears flawless.
  • Pure sine wave inverters are considered superior to other inverters for various electronic products, including delicate equipment such as medical devices, refrigerators, air conditioners, and specific motors.
  • Pure sine wave inverters convert DC power to AC power more efficiently than modified sine wave inverters.

Cons:

  • Pure sine wave inverters are typically more expensive due to their sophisticated technology and ability to produce a higher-quality AC waveform.

Modified Inverter

In inverters for modified sine waves, the polarity abruptly changes from positive to negative. The wave has a stair-step, square pattern with alternating polarity when viewed from above. This choppy wave can hurt more delicate and sensitive apparatus.

You cannot use a modified sine wave inverter to power medical equipment like a CPAP machine. Additionally, in many instances, devices connected to a modified sine wave inverter will emit a murmur. However, modified sine wave inverters are typically sufficient for essential appliances and devices.

Pros:

  • Since modified sine wave inverters are simpler to design and manufacture than pure sine wave inverters, they are frequently less expensive.   

Cons:

  • It produces an AC waveform that is not as smooth and constant but instead stepped or blocky with abrupt voltage level variations.
  • Modified sine wave inverters may only be suitable for some types of electronic equipment, as the stepped waveform may cause some of them to emit whirring or humming sounds, operate less efficiently, or cease functioning entirely.
  • Less efficient than a pure sine wave inverter.

Hybrid Solar Inverter

Hybrid inverters combine the best features of different solar technologies into a single, more efficient package. When the power goes out, these systems are programmed to detect the voltage drop and either convert the electricity for use in appliances, send it to the grid, or charge a backup battery system.

Many are highly programmable, allowing you to select the optimal periods to use power from the grid, solar panels, or backup battery (if available).

Hybrid inverters are the best option for systems that require secondary battery storage, like the Tesla Powerwall. They are also effective for off-grid applications.

Types of Inverters

Compatible with

Power Storage

Power Transfer

Price Range

On-Grid

On-grid solar power systems

No solar energy is stored.

The extra power is sent to the electric grid.  

A 3kW On-Grid Inverter costs about Rs. 30,000- Rs.40,000.

Off-Grid

Off-grid solar power systems

Solar energy is stored in batteries.

Power is not transferred because it is not connected to a grid.

A 3kW On-Grid Inverter costs about Rs. 20,000- Rs.30,000.

Hybrid

On-grid & off-grid solar power systems

Solar energy is stored in batteries.

The extra power is sent to the electric grid.

A 3kW Hybrid Grid Inverter costs about Rs. 60,000- Rs.70,000.

Jackery Solar Generators with Pure Sine Wave Inverters

Pure sine wave inverters produce equal or higher quality power than our power grid. Although modified sine wave inverters are less expensive, their output quality could be improved.

As a result, modified sine wave inverters can cause compatibility issues with specific appliances. The motors, pumps, and compressors operate hotter and wear out faster. Specific sensitive devices like computers can be damaged or rendered inoperable.    

How Does A Jackery Solar Generator Work 

Jackery Solar Generators utilize an intelligent BMS system and pure sine wave inverter to safeguard charging devices with twelve layers of protection. The unmatched cooling system and as many as nine temperature sensors assure an industry-leading dissipation efficiency rate of 30%.  

how jackery solar generator works

The Jackery Portable Power Station is a battery-powered inverter generator with an AC outlet, DC carport, and USB charging connections, allowing you to power appliances such as a refrigerator, coffee maker, and CPAP machine.  

The Portable Power Stations include an integrated inverter, making them the ideal combination of power, convenience, and durability.  

The Jackery Solar Panels transform sunlight into electricity, while the Portable Power Station stores and transmits the energy for later use. A portable power station comprises a battery-powered inverter and an MPPT charge controller.  

Jackery Solar Generators with Best Pure Sine Wave Inverters  

Jackery Solar Generators are the optimal, secure, and lightweight power solutions. The large and small solar generators offer various charging capacities for multiple appliances, including CPAP machines, laptops, refrigerators, and sump pumps. They are portable generators, small enough to transport while enjoying interior and outdoor activities.

Jackery Solar Generator 500

Jackery Solar Generator 500 is a solar system comprised of an Explorer 500 Portable Power Station and a SolarSaga 100W solar panel. It converts solar energy into electrical power using solar panels and stores it in a mobile power station for later use. This solar generator is a reliable and environmentally friendly reserve power source for campers, RVs, and emergencies.

Jackery solar generator 500 with pure sine wave inverter

Jackery Solar Generator 500 converts solar energy into stable pure sine wave power for standard electronics and small appliances such as lamps, laptops, phones, and refrigerators. Jackery Explorer 500 Portable Power Station has 1 * AC outlet, 2 * DC ports, 1 * carport, and 3 * USB-A ports for charging low- to high-powered devices.

Unlike traditional gas generators, a quiet home generator won't disturb your slumber. Solar Generator 500 emits less than 37.9dB, making it an ideal investment for outdoor living as a silent generator for camping or RV use.

Product Specs

Capacity: 518Wh Capacity, 500W Inverter, 1000W Surge

Output Ports: 1*AC output (110V, 60Hz, 500W Inverter, 1000W Peak), 2*DC Outputs ( 12V⎓7A), 3*USB-A outputs (5V⎓2.4A), 1*Car Port (12V⎓10A).

Recharging Methods: Explorer 500 + 1*SolarSaga 100W = 9.5H, Wall charging for 7.5 hours, and automobile charging for 7.5 hours.

Design: The same size as a basketball, the Explorer 500's sturdy handle makes it a portable and dependable option for camping, road vacations, RV use, and home backups. The SolarSaga 100-watt solar panel is lightweight, foldable, and portable with an easy-carry handle, weighing only 9.1 pounds.            

Customer Review 

“I charged it for a while using the wall charger and traveling in my car. It functions properly on the vehicle's unregulated 12v power. I tested the inverter overcharge protection on a small refrigerator and found it to work as expected. ”

Series

Capacity

AC Output

Inverter

Appliances

Jackery Solar Generator 500 

518Wh

500W Inverter (1000W Peak)

Pure sine wave inverter

Light(5W): 82.9H

Blender(300W): 7H

Space Heater(300W): 1.5H

Coffee Maker(550W): 0.8H

CPAP(28W): 14.8H

TV(60W): 7.5H

Types of Solar Inverters FAQs

The following shows the frequently asked questions about types of solar inverters:     

What size of inverter do I need for my off-grid solar system?

In a power outage, an off-grid system has no grid fallback. Your inverter should be 40% to 50% larger than your peak power requirements. This is because certain appliances (refrigerators, water pumps, power tools, etc.) are reactive loads that require more power than their rated power to initiate and operate.  

Appliances

Inverter 500W

Inverter 1000W

Inverter 1500W

Inverter 3000W

LED TV (100W)

Electric Fan (60W)

Laptop (150W)

Refrigerator (100W)

 

Vacuum Cleaner (700W)

 

 

Electronics (phone, tablets, 25W)

A Jackery Solar Generator may be your best option for backup power. Due to their durability, portability, and safety, Jackery Solar Generators can be used indoors and outdoors to provide electricity for various electronic gadgets.

Estimating the electricity required is essential before selecting a suitable solar generator for your off-grid cabin. Choose solar generators from Jackery with capacities ranging from 240Wh to 3000Wh based on your needs. Here's how to calculate the charging duration for your appliance:

Working time = power station capacity*0.85 / your device’s operating wattage

For example, using a Jackery Solar Generator 240 (293Wh capacity) to charge a 5W light bulb will last 40 hours (240Wh*0.85/5W).

jackery solar generator for off-grid

Which types of solar inverters help save my electricity bills?

Compared to all types of solar inverters, the off-grid solar inverter is the only form that can eliminate your electricity bill, as it makes your solar panel system self-sufficient. No longer are you dependent on a utility grid.

Jackery Solar Generators combine solar panels and a power station to store power and charge appliances with limitless and environmentally friendly energy. Choosing one for off-grid and on-grid use is prudent, as Jackery Portable Power Stations can be recharged via electrical outlets, carport, and solar panels.

Final Thoughts

Your budget, the amount of space available, and the location of your system will determine which of the types of solar inverters is optimal for your system. To maximize the return on your investment, you should also size your system to satisfy your electricity needs during peak demand.    

This article explains what a solar inverter is; 3 types of solar inverters: on-grid, off-grid, and hybrid. For off-grid living, however, having a Jackery Solar Generator with a pure sine wave inverter is highly recommended to meet all your power requirements. Depending on the system's needs, pure sine wave inverters are compatible with nearly all off-grid solar power system varieties.


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