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How to connect a power inverter to a solar panel?

How to connect a power inverter to a solar panel?

In this article I will explain how to connect an inverter to a solar panel, as we already know the inverter is a device necessary to convert the direct current produced by solar panels into alternating current to be used in our homes.

A typical and usual configuration of a solar installation is to have the panels connected to batteries and the inverter, and together produce the energy for which the system was designed. However, batteries are not really necessary for the system to work properly since an inverter can connect directly to the solar panel and make the devices that are connected to it work correctly.

Related: What is the inverter of a solar panel for?

How to connect a power inverter to a solar panel?

Connecting solar panels to an inverter is relatively easy and universal wiring is often used for all solar panels. Below are step-by-step instructions on how to connect solar panels to an inverter:

1.- First step

First of all, you have to check the type of panel you are using. In case of having more than one solar panel, they will be connected in series or in parallel . Series connection of panels increases system voltage and maintains current, keeping amps stable. A parallel connection keeps the voltage constant, however, it causes an increase in amps.

2.- Second step

The inverter must then be connected to the appropriate input. The positive cable of the solar panel should be connected to the positive terminal of the inverter, and the negative cable to the negative terminal of the inverter.

Remember that these elements will be connected to others, forming a solar kit . Once the entire system is set up and connected, the panel and inverter must be tested. We must make sure that all the cables that make up the installation are adjusted, otherwise, it could cause problems as if it were a solar panel without voltage.

The connection between solar panels and inverters is relatively simple, however, if you have to make connections of several panels and inverters, you will have to have experience connecting. However, for a domestic installation it would be enough to read the manufacturer’s manual to carry out the installation.

3.- Solar panels and off-grid inverters

Solar panels can be connected to an inverter, whether it is on the grid or off the grid. If on grid, the inverter will get power from the solar array or from the grid. If the solar production is low, the inverter switches to the public electricity network so that the devices that are connected to it can continue to work.

An inverter can also be connected in an off-grid configuration as explained above. Once the panels produce the necessary energy, the inverter will run the appliances that are connected.

A solar panel and inverter can work off-grid, however there is not much point in doing so. The main reason is that the panels cannot provide power at night or when it is cloudy or raining, the devices connected to the installation can only work while there is sunlight. In addition, the production of solar panels is not constant, it fluctuates depending on the angle of the sun, weather conditions, orientation and inclination of the panel. It should be noted that some appliances do not work well when the power supply fluctuates .

Assume the following example, a 600W solar panel and a 1000W inverter, load 500W into the system. It is 2:00 pm and the panel is producing 500 W, but suddenly the sky becomes cloudy. The panel output drops to 480E and the inverter and load shut down instantly due to lack of power.

This would not be a problem if the solar system was connected to the grid . Therefore, in places where the electrical network is remote, for example, caravans or cabins, a backup battery bank is essential . This battery bank will need to be sized appropriately for the inverter and solar panel.