Will Your DIY Rooftop Solar Energy System Need an Inverter? Posted on 27 Jan 07:00
When you look at a DIY rooftop solar energy system, all you typically notice are the photovoltaic panels themselves. You don’t see the string inverters or micro-inverters, so you may not even be aware that they exist.
Nevertheless, the unassuming little inverters are necessary to produce usable electricity from the power of the sun.
When designing your DIY solar kit or custom system, you will have to select the type of inverter you prefer for your photovoltaic panels. To understand the role of the inverter, it helps to understand more about how PV panels work to produce energy.
How Do DIY Rooftop Solar Panels Work?
Each photovoltaic panel contains dozens of solar cells. Each cell contains layers of oppositely charged silicon-based wafers designed to collect sunlight to generate electricity.
When the sun hits the PV panels, electrons in the solar cells are knocked loose. The electrons then travel between the layers of wafers, which creates a flow of electricity. Scientists call this process the photovoltaic effect.
How Do Inverters Interact with Photovoltaic Panels?
Now your DIY home solar panels are creating a flow of electricity. But solar cells produce direct current (DC) electricity, which is mainly used in heavy-duty commercial applications, not for home energy. Home electronics and appliances require alternating current (AC) electricity.
This is where inverters come in. They convert the panels’ DC power to AC electricity, which can then be used to power your home.
Choosing Inverters for Your DIY Rooftop Solar Panels
You can design your DIY home solar kit with either a string inverter or a series of micro-inverters. What’s the difference? And which type of inverter should you choose for your rooftop photovoltaic system?
Both types are reliable and effective, but each has its pros and cons.
String inverters are highly efficient and cost-effective, since a single unit can convert the electricity for an entire DIY rooftop array. However, with a strong inverter, the overall output of your home solar power system will be decreased if one of your photovoltaic panels has a problem.
For this reason, many solar do-it-yourselfers opt for micro-inverters instead.
With micro-inverters, each photovoltaic panel is wired separately to its own inverter. This can boost the overall efficiency significantly, as the system production is not affected if one of the solar panels is shaded or damaged.
The downside to micro-inverters is the cost. Since you need one for each photovoltaic panel, the price for your DIY solar kit may be slightly higher. However, enhanced energy production typically offsets the extra cost.
To learn more about inverters, photovoltaic panels and mounting systems, visit the Solar GOODs site today. Solar GOODs is your online energy independence superstore, providing all you need to design your DIY rooftop solar energy system.