Why Do Solar Cells Need an Inverter?

Why Do Solar Cells Need an Inverter
Photo by dcbel

Saving the environment and cutting energy costs can be accomplished by installing solar cells in your home or business.

You can also use them to power part of your electrical needs, and a solar cell doesn’t produce enough electricity to power an entire house.

It needs to be connected to an inverter to convert DC to AC. The cell-generated DC into an AC can power lights, appliances, and other electronics. 

The different types of inverters available include string inverters, central inverters, microinverters, and DC-AC converters.

In addition, if you’re looking to incorporate solar energy into your home, you’ll likely have the option of installing solar cells.

You can install solar panels on your rooftop, and these technologies convert the energy in sunlight into electricity, which you can then use to power appliances around your home.

For example, solar cells can power televisions, microwaves, electric kettles, etc. Both options require an inverter before you can distribute the electricity, and this article will tell you more about why solar cells need an inverter.

It means you’ll need to decide what type of inverter you want to use to ensure the safety and convenience of your family members during all seasons.

This article discusses what you need to know about solar cells and why solar needs an inverter. 

Table of Contents

What is a Solar Cell?

A solar cell is a semiconductor device that converts light energy into an electric current. Bell Laboratories invented it in 1954, and it was only widely used when it was developed for space-based applications such as satellites. Here on Earth, however, it has been slow to take off because of its high cost.

In recent years, though, there has been a surge in interest in using Solar Cells, and they generate clean energy at home and lower your electricity bill.

Furthermore, solar cells absorb sunlight and convert it into electricity through the photovoltaic effect.

Most installed Solar Cells these days are made from crystalline silicon or thin-film panels, and these thin-film panels convert light to electricity via the photovoltaic effect. 

Additionally, each type of panel has its advantages and disadvantages. Crystalline silicon is more efficient but also more expensive than thin-film technology.

Thin-film panels don’t last as long as crystalline silicon ones, but they’re cheaper to manufacture and install.

What Is An Inverter?

An inverter is a device that takes power from a DC source, such as batteries, and changes it into AC power.

Some people use small, portable inverters to convert their car’s battery into 120VAC power. There are two main reasons we might want to connect our solar panel directly.

We might want to connect it to something that operates on the regular household current. Those reasons include:          

  •  Some devices (like lights or fans) run more efficiently on AC than on DC.
  • You can operate something when there is no sun available – like during rainy weather or at night. 

For example, you could hook your solar panels to a 12-volt fan. The fan can help you cool off in your tent even when it’s raining outside. You could also plug in some Christmas lights to enjoy them after dark!

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So Why Do Solar Cells Need An Inverter?

So why do solar cells need an inverter? If you’re producing more electricity than you currently use, you’ll want to send it back into your home’s power grid.

You can sell it for a profit and make money. Whether that profit is worth, your time and money (and equipment) depend on how much sunlight strikes your panels. 

It also depends on what time of day it is. The less sun, or insolation, available and the time of day, say 10 AM vs. 4 PM, the less money you’ll make.

However, if you’re in California and have a good amount of sunshine all year round, that’s great! But if you live in Seattle, where it rains most days, don’t expect to get rich quickly.

While sending energy back into your home’s power grid, there is something you should note. Remember that most homes are wired with only one circuit breaker per room. That means connecting too many devices can overload circuits or trip breakers—not good! 

Getting an inverter makes sense if you live off-grid, with no access to public utilities, and want to use renewable energy as part of your everyday life.

But even here, other options like solar-powered generators or installing batteries exist. This helps you store excess energy for later use.

As you can see, understanding when and why to use an inverter requires some research. And once you know whether or not you should buy one, select which model is suitable for your needs.

Can AC Solar Cells Work Without An Inverter?

AC panels are excellent. However, they need help from a DC to AC inverter to work with modern grid power systems.

Solar electricity generation employs photovoltaic technology. These panels produce DC power when exposed to sunlight, so what does that mean for you? If you want to use your solar energy at home or go, you must convert it.

This means It will have to be converted into a usable household current. Now, this is where your grid-tie inverter comes in, and it converts your DC output from your panels into a standard AC that any appliance can run off. Moreover, most homes already have an inverter built right in! 

You’re using one of these when you plug something like a cell phone charger into a wall outlet.

Instead of powering one device at a time, the difference is that it can do so much more. It means that your new solar installation will be feeding energy back into the grid. 

Why Are Solar Inverters Essential?

Solar inverters are essential for two main reasons. The first is obvious; You can’t access your electricity through standard outlets in your home, and you need a device to convert DC power into AC power.

The second reason is less apparent; it provides a soft start and stops functionality. These functions are vital for protecting you and your investment in solar panels.

When you switch from one energy source to another, there needs to be a seamless way to control those shifts. Otherwise, something will break (usually in the wrong way). 

Solar Inverters are required because they control the transition between sources of energy. Now let’s dive into why they’re essential! We’ve talked about how solar inverters allow you to use solar power around your house via standard electrical outlets. 

Consequently, these devices won’t work on a direct current provided by solar panels without an inverter.

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When using non-grid-powered devices such as fridges, freezers, and other appliances like computers or televisions on DC, only their motor or battery tends to overheat faster than average, which may cause severe damage. That’s not good!

Can solar cells be connected directly to an inverter?

Solar cells produce DC, and most homes have AC power. Inverters convert direct current (DC) electricity from a solar array into alternating current (AC) for your home. You may be wondering why you can’t just hook up your panels directly to your inverter.

After all, you can charge some batteries with DC power from a car or boat. The short answer is that both can create DC power but at different voltages. This means if you hook them up directly, they could cause damage to each other.

To charge batteries using a car battery and hook it up directly to another device, you must change its voltage, and you can do this by using a voltage regulator.

However, you would fry your device without one and possibly start an electrical fire! If you connect two power sources of different voltages, they will pass through until something gets fried.

For example, say you connect a 12-volt car battery to a 9-volt flashlight, and nothing happens because there’s no difference in voltage between them. Now, you connect those same two devices plus an 8-volt TV remote control. 

You’d notice nothing happens again because there’s still no difference in voltage between them. Now add in a 3-volt AA battery: boom! All three devices now share 3 volts of energy because AA batteries produce less energy than their larger counterparts.

How is the inverter connected to solar cells?

The primary function of an inverter is to convert direct current (DC) from your solar panels into alternating current (AC).

This makes it easier for your home to use. Many homeowners want to know how their battery storage system and a backup generator will work.

They want to know how it would work with their DC-power inverter. The good news is that there are two easy ways to connect them, depending on your goal. In some cases, it might make sense to have a microinverter for each solar panel.

This means it connects directly with the panel and converts power for only that panel, rather than converting power for every panel in a string.

This method is more efficient than one large inverter because it allows panels to operate independently. 

This makes it easier to manage your energy production. However, it also means you’ll need multiple inverters if you add new panels later.

You may also consider installing a central inverter for multiple solar arrays, and it can be if you don’t plan on expanding your system later.

Also, utility rules require larger systems to be installed with centralized inverters. Keep in mind that cost should not be your primary concern when choosing between microinverters and central inverters. Instead, focus on what works best for your homeowner or business owner’s needs.

Different Types of Inverters

Inverters convert DC (direct current) electricity into AC (alternating current). In a photovoltaic system, these devices change the direct current produced by panels and then charge controllers into usable power in your home.

Furthermore, there are two main PV inverters: microinverters and central inverters. Microinverters require each panel to have its unit; central inverters have one large inverter per array.

The downside of microinverters is that they add another component to your system, which would increase overall costs for some users. 

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Centralized systems are more common, but their larger size can be more expensive than microinverters.

First, we need to know about three different types of inverters and they include grid-tie inverters (GTI), modified sine wave (MSW), and pure sine wave (PSW). 

A GTI is precisely what we just described above. They take DC input from your solar panels and turn it into AC power, which feeds directly into your breaker panel and everything else in your house.

MSWs take that same input but provide utility-grade alternating current (AC) instead. It isn’t as smooth as pure sine wave voltage.

However, they are still adequate for most applications. It would help you know more about which type of inverter best suits your needs.

What is a Solar Inverter Charger?

Solar inverters are electronic devices used to convert direct current into alternating current. It would help if you had microinverters to convert DC power from a photovoltaic (PV) module. They are DC-to-AC converters and are more common than central inverters. 

The main reasons for using microinverters over central inverters include higher reliability and electrical safety. However, suppose you use a central inverter with several PV modules.

If you also have large loads such as air conditioners or refrigerators connected to your system. In that case, you may consider using a central inverter instead of multiple microinverters. 

However, If you decide on a central inverter, you will still need some protection device, which will serve as a safety net if more PV modules fail.

How Does A Solar Inverter Convert DC to AC?

A solar inverter converts direct current (DC) from a photovoltaic module into alternating current (AC). The grid uses AC power, which is easily transmitted and distributed over long distances.

Solar inverters are designed to be compatible with crystalline silicon, thin-film thin-film, er semiconductor-based PV modules. 

Silicon panels produce direct current (DC), which must be converted to alternating current (AC) for most household appliances.

The conversion can occur in your home with a DC-to-AC converter, and it can also be at a central location using an off-grid system.

Furthermore, Solar power systems that use batteries as a backup use DC electricity since batteries also operate on DC.

For example, you could charge a car battery with 12 volts of direct current from a solar panel. To use it in your car, you must first convert it to 120 volts of alternating current. As a result, this would require an inverter, which changes DC into AC.

Some minor electrical devices,s laptops, and cellphones,s charge directly from 12-volt battery packs without conversion through an inverter.

However, these devices cannot handle much energy and will not work well if they have to power more oversized items such as electric tools or appliances. To learn more about how solar panels work, read our page. 

Conclusion

Inverters convert energy from DC to AC, and you can use them to convert the power generated by a photovoltaic (PV) cell into household electricity. They are commonly used with other PV system components, such as batteries or capacitors.

The most significant advantage of using an inverter is converting direct high-voltage current to low-voltage alternating current, making it easy for home appliances to use.

Inverters also reduce wear and tear on household appliances using DC power rather than AC power (standard in most utility grids).

Overall, converting electricity from one form to another makes for easier management of stored and harvested energy.

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