Solar Inverter

Rising cost of electricity compels consumers to look for new sources of energy. Solar power installations are gaining popularity as an alternative to conventional supply of electricity since the recent technology allowed the process of converting solar energy into electricity to become widely accessible. When exposed to light, thanks to the photovoltaic effect, solar panels output direct current and voltage (DC). The DC power needs to be converted into alternating current and voltage (AC) by a solar inverter, before it can be used to supply the household appliances. An inversion is a process of DC to AC conversion, an opposite to rectification which is a process of converting AC to DC. The solar inverters are mandatory and indispensable elements of each solar installation for self-consumption and there are several solar inverter types one can come across.

Grid Tie inverter

The grid tie inverter, also known as a on-grid inverter, is used in the most basic solar power installations. The grid-tie inverter is an installer friendly device which must only be connected to the solar panels and the local electricity grid. The installation of a grid-tie system is a relatively quick and easy process because the system is not complex and pretty straightforward. As is its operation: as soon as solar panels start producing DC power with the first sunlight in the morning, the grid-tie inverter detects it, switches from standby mode into operation and converts the PV production into AC electricity.

The totality of the already converted PV production is injected (fed) into the local electricity connection and one of the following things can happen:

  1. If the solar production is lower than the consumption of electricity, local grid will provide the supplementary power to supply the loads.
  2. If the solar production is higher than the consumption of the electricity, the excess solar power which cannot be supplied to the loads is exported to the grid.

The process of exporting power to the grid may provide various benefits to the user, depending on the local regulations. The utility companies may be interested in purchasing electricity produced by solar installations (feed-in-tariff) or may simply subtract each exported kilowatt hour from the user’s electricity bill (net metering). One of the massive advantages of the grid-tie inverters is their impressive efficiency, which is achieved because the solar production undergoes just one conversion step (DC to AC) before it’s ready to use.

However, the overall efficiency of the basic grid-tie solar system can take a big hit in the event of a power outage, because during the outage the inverter must decouple itself from the grid and is therefore unable to serve its purpose. The totality of solar energy yield obtained during the outage is then irreversibly lost. Moreover, if the installation site is located in the area where export of PV production to the grid is not beneficial to the user or straight up prohibited, the financial benefits of owning a solar system will be questionable. The use of a energy storage such as solar battery would address those shortcomings.

Below is a schematic of a solar installation using Grid-Tie.

 

 

schematic_of_a_solar_installation_using_Grid_Tie

This is a schematic of a solar installation using Grid-Tie

 

Off-grid inverter

The off-grid inverter is capable of handling solar panels and a solar battery, and as its name suggests, it provides the renewable solar energy to the loads while not being connected to the grid.

An installation of an off-grid system is very different from installation of the on-grid one. The system is usually built using multiple components (solar panels, MPPT charger, battery, inverter) which need to work well with each other but also must be extremally carefully considered to fit the installation site. To give some examples:

  1. if the solar array is too small with respect to the battery, charging of the latter will take a very long time, or
  2. if the power output of the off-grid inverter is too low with respect to the loads on the installation site, it will lead to overloads and may even cause equipment damage.

In systems built using off-grid inverter the DC power generated by solar panels is used by a MPPT charger to charge the solar battery. Once the battery is full the off-grid inverter is able to tap into the renewable energy stored in the battery and supply the power to the loads. What is significant, the inverter will not be able to provide renewable power to the loads before the battery is full, which means that if the site requires power while the battery is charging, another power supply, such as a diesel generator, must be used. Moreover, the totality of solar production is being stored in and extracted from the battery which has a severe impact on the overall efficiency of the system, because of several conversion steps on the path from a solar panel to a load. While the solar batteries are obviously meant to be charged and discharged, heavy and frequent cycling will only cause them to expire faster.

Because of the shortcomings of both on-grid and off-grid inverters, a modern device which combines the advantages and addresses the flaws of both technologies had to be designed.

Below is a schematic of a solar installation using Off-Grid.

 

 

schematic_of_a_solar_installation_using_Off_Grid

This is a schematic of a solar installation using Off-Grid

Hybrid inverter

Hybrid inverter is the youngest solar power technology to date. Combining the advantages of the on-grid solar inverter and the off-grid inverter, the hybrid solar unit makes use of solar production in the most efficient way while intelligently managing the solar battery. There’s no longer need to install multiple solar system components as the “all in one” hybrid solar inverter houses an equivalent of skilfully combined grid-tie inverter coupled with a battery charger.

The operation of a hybrid unit is intuitive: the energy generated by the PV panels is used to, in the first place, supply the loads. This assures that when the site requires solar power, it is delivered through the shortest path, with high efficiency of an on-grid inverter. If there is a surplus of PV production, the surplus is used to charge the batteries. This guarantees that the batteries are used only when they are really needed, unlike in case of the off-grid inverter which cycled the storage virtually all the time. If the batteries are full, the surplus can (but doesn’t have to) be exported to grid.

This operation is possible since the modern hybrid solar inverters are installed in a similar way to on-grid inverter, measuring and compensating the real-time consumption of electricity from the grid while charging the surplus production to the batteries. The hybrid inverters come equipped with a separate output for essential loads, which means that in case of a grid outage, they can continue their operation and keep supplying the essential loads with power coming from the solar panels, supplemented with power stored in the battery.

The advantages of hybrid systems are not limited to grid connected sites, the most relevant solutions on the market allow the installer to replace the grid supply with a diesel generator, which can be controlled (start / stop) by the inverter. Nowadays there are several all-in-one hybrid inverters on the market, but the most advanced is the hybrid inverter from Imeon Energy.

Below is a schematic of a solar installation using Hybrid systems.

 

Below are yield curves that can help you to compare the yields of self-consumption installations with batteries according to the type of installation carried out (with hybrid inverter, with offgrid inverter on AC bus, with offgrid inverter on DC bus).

 

 

yield_curves_of_comparaison_of self_consumption_installations with batteries

yield curves of comparaison of self-consumption installations with batteries

Below is a table comparing ongrid, offgrid and hybrid inverters.

Grid-Tied Off-Grid Hybrid
Self-Consumption + ++ +++
Electrification of isolated sites +++ +++
Back-Up +++ +++
Yield +++ + +++
Battery Management + +++
Ease of Installation +++ + +++
Cost Savings + + +++
Price +++ ++ +

 

Solar inverter products by IMEON

Imeon Energy is a French manufacturer of hybrid inverters for self-consumption with storage. IMEON is a pioneer of all-in-one solar hybrid inverter systems that achieve an efficiency of over 95% and offer a longer battery lifespan through intelligent battery management.

The technology of IMEON solar inverters is the all in one answer for true multi-source energy management. IMEON hybrid solar inverter was specifically designed for any solar installation, regardless whether the system is foreseen for an off-grid, on-grid, back-up or a hybrid application. IMEON is a plug-and-play smart inverter which simplifies the installation process and reduces the overall setup time of a solar system. Energy independence is now achievable with IMEON ENERGY’s solution for self-production of solar energy.

IMEON is a result of high-level innovation. The phase coupling technology allows multiple sources of power (PV / batteries / grid) to be used simultaneously to supply the loads, therefore addressing the most apparent challenges of solar energy: intermittence and fluctuation. By supplementing one source of power with another, IMEON can guarantee an uninterrupted power supply accomplished with optimum efficiency.

With IMEON hybrid solar inverter there is no longer need for complex designs and intricate installations. The IMEON smart grid inverter adjusts itself to optimize the use of available sources of energy. Thanks to its innovative architecture, IMEON improves the battery lifetime and increases the efficiency of systems with storage by up to 30 %, which directly reduces the price of each kilowatt hour generated by the solar installation. Choosing IMEON means choosing a kWh that competes with one supplied by conventional means, allowing to reduce the electricity bill up to 100%

IMEON intelligently manages storage systems by limiting the use of the battery. The system uses only surplus of solar production to charge the batteries, and only discharges them when additional power is needed to compliment solar production. The IMEON smart grid solar inverter reduces the required storage capacity and extends the battery life span by minimising the number of charge–discharge cycles. The latter is a significant factor since the lifetime of solar battery is expressed as number of charge-discharge cycles that the batteries can sustain operating under certain Depth Of Discharge (50% DOD usually means that half of the battery’s capacity has or can be used). To give an example, a lithium battery reaches a lifespan of 3000 to 6000 cycles at 80% DOD while lead-acid battery has a lifespan of 400 to 800 cycles at 50% DOD for AGM and Gel type of batteries, and about 1000 to 2000 cycles at 50% DOD for OPzV and OPVzS types. There are many other factors which may affect the lifetime, such as high temperature, the smart battery management of the operating storage becomes therefore essential.

IMEON solar inverter can be coupled to lead-acid (Gel, AGM, OPzV, and OPzS), compatible lithium batteries (full list of compatible storage solutions can be found here) or compatible supercapacitor storage. While the lead-acid battery has been used with solar systems for several decades now, the lithium battery has become an industry standard for home solar self-consumption installation ever so recently, mostly due to a significant fall of their price. Prices apart, lithium is the most lightweight of all metals and brings a higher energy density to the table. The weight of lithium storage is about one-third of the lead battery making it easy to transport, install and handle. As indicated earlier a well-managed lithium battery can last years since it can sustain much larger number of cycles. What’s more the pertinent lifetime can be achieved while applying a higher DOD which means that the total size of the battery bank can be reduced. To understand that let’s refer to the example above – if the installation requires 8kWh of usable battery capacity, the installer could use a 10kWh lithium battery (80% DOD) or a 16kWh lead-acid battery (50% DOD) which means a total size difference of almost 40%!

More than your average hybrid inverter, each IMEON is governed by a custom operating system called OS. ONE developed by IMEON ENERGY. The operating system supports a wide range of applications the user can explore and use to further improve the performance of the solar installation. The applications make IMEON compatible with various peripheral devices such as batteries, modbus controllers or smart lights, enable advanced features such as forecasting of energy production, peak shaving or zero watt metering and, thanks to remote updates, permit addition of new functionalities, constantly evolving the behaviour of the unit even after the inverter has been has been installed.

 

imeon_solar_inverter

Imeon solar inverter

 

IMEON 3.6 solar inverter

IMEON 3.6 solar inverter is a hybrid inverter dedicated to solar self-consumption applications which require battery storage, whether it is a project of electrification of isolated site or a project involving the self-production of energy on site which is connected to the electricity grid.

 

Imeon_solar_inverter_3.6

Imeon solar inverter 3.6

 

IMEON 3.6 is a single phase 3kW inverter equipped with a built in 60A charger, which allows one to store the power generated by the solar installation in the battery. This inverter incorporates the OS. ONE operating system developed by IMEON ENERGY, which allows, through artificial intelligence algorithms, to optimize the yields of any solar self-consumption installation and to improve the lifespan of batteries. Because of its rated power, IMEON 3.6 is well suited for residential installations.

Below is a table showing the main technical specifications of IMEON 3.6 inverter.

GRID AC (ON-GRID & OFF-GRID)
Rated Output Power 3000 W
AC voltage/ Frequency (Input and Output) 230 Vac (±15 %) / 50 Hz , 60 Hz (±5 Hz)
Feed in to grid Programmable (yes by default)
Energy compsumption priopities Programmable (PV/ Storage/Grid)
SOLAR INSTALLATION
Maximum Input Power UP TO 4 000 WP
MPPT voltage range 120 V – 480 V
Maximum input current 18 A
Maximum efficiency DC to AC : >95,5% (94,5% EU)
BATTERY & CHARGE
DC nominal voltage 48 Vdc
DC range voltage 42 – 62 Vdc
Maximum discharge current 80 A
Maximum efficiency PV -> batterie : >94% / Batterie <–> AC : >93%
GENERAL
Operating mode Smart grid / Back up – UPS / Off grid / On grid / VPP Ready
OS / Processor OS: Linux Debian – CPU: ARM Cortex (Texas Instrument) 32 bits
RAM : 8 GO of storage – Artificial Intelligence Inside – IOT Ready
Compliance EN 62109-2 / EN 62109-1 / EN 62040-1 / DIN V VDE V 0126-1-1 (+VFR2019)
VDE-AR-N 4105 / CEI 0-21 / EN 50438 DIN VDE V 0124-100 / Synergrid C10/11 / TF3.2.1
AS4777.2 / AS4777.3 / NRS 097-2-1 / G83 / RD 1699
Guarantee 10 years (3) / Extension to 20 years (optional)

IMEON 9.12 solar inverter

The IMEON 9.12 solar inverter is a hybrid inverter dedicated to solar self-consumption applications which require battery storage, whether it is a project of electrification of isolated site or a project involving the self-production of energy on site which is connected to the electricity grid.

 

Imeon_solar_inverter_9.12

Imeon solar inverter 9.12

 

The IMEON 9.12 is a three phase 9kW inverter equipped with a built in 160A charger, which allows one to store the power generated by the solar installation in the battery. Just Like in case of IMEON 3.6, the 9.12 unit is running on the “OS. ONE” operating system developed by IMEON ENERGY, which allows, through artificial intelligence algorithms, to optimize the yields of any solar self-consumption installations and to improve the lifespan of batteries. Because of its rated power, the IMEON 9.12 is well suited for residential installations.

Below is a table showing the main technical specifications of IMEON 9.12 inverter.

GRID AC (ON-GRID & OFF-GRID)
Rated Output Power 9000 W
AC voltage/ Frequency (Input and Output) 3/N/PE; 230/400 Vac (±15 %) / 50 Hz, 60 Hz (±5 Hz)
Feed in to grid Programmable (yes by default)
Energy compsumption priopities Programmable (PV/ Storage/Grid)
SOLAR INSTALLATION
Maximum Input Power UP TO 12 000 WP
MPPT voltage range 380 V – 750 V
Maximum input current 2 ×18 A
Maximum efficiency DC to AC : >95,5% (94,5% EU)
BATTERY & CHARGE
DC nominal voltage 48 Vdc
DC range voltage 42 – 62 Vdc
Maximum discharge current 200 A
Maximum efficiency PV -> batterie : >94% / Batterie <–> AC : >93%
GENERAL
Operating mode Smart grid / Back up – UPS / Off grid / On grid / VPP Ready
OS / Processor OS: Linux Debian – CPU: ARM Cortex (Texas Instrument) 32 bits
RAM : 8 GO of storage – Artificial Intelligence Inside – IOT Ready
Compliance EN 62109-2 / EN 62109-1 / EN 62040-1 / DIN V VDE V 0126-1-1 (+VFR2019)
VDE-AR-N 4105 / CEI 0-21 / EN 50438 DIN VDE V 0124-100 / Synergrid C10/11 / TF3.2.1
AS4777.2 / AS4777.3 / NRS 097-2-1 / G83 / RD 1699
Guarantee 10 years (3) / Extension to 20 years (optional)

IMEON OS. ONE

IMEON hybrid solar inverters are equipped with a powerful built-in computer allowing them to optimize in real time the use of all the elements of the solar system to boost yields of the solar plant, self-consumption and self-production rates while maximizing the battery life. These advanced functionality was made possible thanks to the development of an operating system called “IMEON OS. ONE“, which utilizes artificial intelligence algorithms, by the IMEON ENERGY teams.

 

 

Imeon_Os_One_PC

Imeon OS-One PC

 

The user can access this operating system by establishing a direct, local connection to the inverter (via WiFi for example). The OS. ONE interface provides the access to inverter’s configuration menus as well as wide range of applications which are responsible for advanced functionalities such as production forecast, consumption forecast, charge control, communication with batteries, etc. …

The architecture of the OS. ONE has been designed with future evolution in mind. In vast majority of cases, the user who purchases an average solar inverter will remain with the same unchanged inverter till the end of its lifetime, for as long as the replacement is not absolutely necessary. At IMEON ENERGY we would like to keep the users interested in the operation of their solar power plants, as it contributes to popularization of renewable energy and helps to raise awareness of the general public. IMEON inverters, thanks to the OS. ONE, are capable of keeping up with the technology because the updates containing new applications, new functions and features for the inverter, are being frequently released by IMEON ENERGY’s developers. A user who decides to put an IMEON solar inverter in charge of his solar installation today will have a system up to date with the latest software for years to come!

Below is a view of the IMEON OS. ONE user interface.

 

IMEON_OS. ONE_user_interface

IMEON OS. ONE user interface

 

To benefit from all these advantages, the IMEON inverter must be connected to the internet via its WiFi or Ethernet connections.

For more information on IMEON OS. ONE, you can watch the video Below.

Below is a video explainning how to connect to Imeon OS.ONE.

IMEON ONLINE

In order to allow users to monitor the operation of their solar self-consumption installation remotely, the IMEON ENERGY teams have developed a monitoring platform called “IMEON ONLINE“. The IMEON ONLINE can be accessed from a computer, tablet or smartphone running any operating software simply via the web browser.

 

 

Imeon_online_pc

Imeon online pc

 

The platform provides different layers of access depending on who is using it:

  1. The IMEON ONLINE user interface: it allows owners of solar installation managed by IMEON inverter to access the plant’s performance data: production of the solar system, state of charge of the battery bank, distribution of energy flows (share of solar production consumed directly, stored or injected on the public network / share of energy consumption provided by the solar installation, batteries and the public network). The rates of self-consumption and self-production will be communicated to allow the user to become aware of his energy consumption habits in order to optimize the energy savings achieved by the self-consumption system. The user monitoring account must be created by the installer responsible for putting the system in place.

Below is a view of the IMEON ONLINE user interface.

 

IMEON_ONLINE_use _interface

IMEON ONLINE user interface

 

  1. The installer interface of IMEON ONLINE: it allows professional installers to manage the entire park of all the IMEON inverters they have installed, enabling them to effectively monitor their installations. IMEON ONLINE platform comes with a number of diagnostic tools such as the Timeline, which allow the installers to verify the status of the installation remotely, without the need of time-consuming visits at the site. If users grant the installer access to all the data, the installer will also have access to production and consumption information. The installer monitoring account must be created by the distributor who sold the solar inverter to the installer.

Below a video presentation of IMEON ONLINE

Below is a video explaining how to connect to the Imeon Online.

 

  1. The IMEON ONLINE Distributor interface: it is reserved for wholesale customers of IMEON ENERGY. The wholesalers can monitor all the inverters installed by all their clients. The distributor monitoring account must be created by IMEON ENERGY.

 

Virtual Power Plant

Virtual Power Plants (VPP’s) are likely to become the backbone of next generation electricity networks. The core concept of VPP is the reduction the dependency on, or complete replacement of centralised power plants by using a number of microgeneration plants instead. Supervised and controlled by a network operator these microgeneration plants could produce and share energy within the network. More than that, they could be used to locally provide network operators with features which are now hard to come by.

 

Virtual_power_plant

Virtual Power Plant

Centralised power plants have several major disadvantages:

  1. In vast majority of cases they run on fossil fuels, largely contributing to production of greenhouse gasses and reduction of ozone layer. The alternative, power plants running on nuclear energy produce relatively clean energy, but a failure of such a plant can be catastrophic in scale.
  2. One power plant provides electricity to a number of recipients (residential, commercial, industrial consumers), covering large areas, involving long transmission lines, going in many directions. Such topology makes it complicated to locally adjust any instabilities of frequency and voltage which can have negative effect on operation of certain devices, not to mention efficiency of power supply.
  3. As such the plant has a limited capacity for expansion, which means that natural economic growth of an area can leads to exceeding the plant’s capacity to provide power. This can lead to frequent load sheddings which can have a number of less than desirable consequences (picture a hospital without power).

 

 

VPP_interface

VPP interface

 

An alternative, Virtual Power Plant based on solar inverters with their dedicated battery storage could address many of these concerns and more.

  1. Solar energy is an unlimited clean resource of renewable power. There’s no need to tap into finite volume of fossil fuels, nor to put the neighbourhood at risk when using nuclear generators.
  2. Decentralised production and storage of electricity means that the stability issues can be addressed locally where they occur. Certain storage capacity in all batteries can be reserved for grid assistance services, namely sinking and sourcing energy in order to stabilise the voltage and frequency or offset energy consumption peaks.
  3. The Virtual Power Plant can be easily expanded, at reasonable costs, by using the already available rooftops, rooftops of newly constructed buildings as well as by addition of local ground-mounted structures.

The best solar inverters, such as hybrid solar inverters manufactured by IMEON ENERGY, are already prepared to be seamlessly integrated into the next-generation networks. Imeon inverters support wide range of remote configuration options, are compatible with Demand Response Enabling Devices (DRED), Modbus controllers, and diversified storage options.

The network operators may be interested in IMEON ENERGY’s own VPP online Platform, which provides multiple grid assistance features, such as Monitoring, Forecasting, Peak Shaving, with cutting edge billing based on Blockchain.

 

Smart Home

The Internet of Things (IoT) is an interconnected system of devices capable of exchanging information between each other. Using a phone to control your Bluetooth music speakers can serve as an illustration of such a two-device network, but the smart home system can consist of multiple various devices. This concept can be applied to residential solar installations and can bring many noticeable improvements to the table. The Imeon IoT inverter communicates with vast range of different devices and services gathering information and sending control commands to improve the performance of installation and to improve user’s experience with the product.

 

Imeon_Smart_home

Imeon smart home

 

 

Monitoring: by connecting your solar inverter to a monitoring platform one can supervise the performance of the solar system as well as consumption of the electricity of the equipped site. Imeon monitoring platform does not require installation of any supplementary software on your device and can be accessed on Personal Computers, smartphones or tablets running any operating system, simply from a browser.

Forecasting: using the data extracted from a weather service, correlated with information about past as well as real time production allows Imeon machines to predict the volume of solar energy production over the next twelve hours. This information is particularly useful to enable advanced features of the inverter, such as asset management.

Asset Management: think about solar production as an asset which needs to be used consciously to render the best results. If, for instance, the totality of your solar production would have to be stored in the battery, a big portion would be dissipated along the way, due to electrical conversion losses and losses related to the change from electrical to chemical form of energy. Better way would be to send solar power directly to the appliances, bypassing the battery whenever it’s possible but since most of the time we’re not at home during the day this is not always possible. Imeon IoT solar inverters thanks to the Forecasting service and several smart applications can control the appliances to find the best time to turn them on during the day, while charging the excess production to the battery.

Application of Artificial Intelligence: Imeon developers ambitiously went one step further, allowing multiple aspects of energy management to be handled by Artificial Intelligence. Thanks to that, two Imeon inverters configured in the very same way, can operate completely differently depending on the conditions on the installation site. Artificial Intelligence, through the machine learning processes, is capable of learning solar energy production and electricity consumption patterns, making predictions concerning use of solar energy and use of battery storage and adapting different settings of the inverter to optimise the efficiency of the solar system.

Imeon smart hybrid inverters, equipped with OS. ONE operating system, support a wide range of applications which allow communication with various devices. Weather it’s a solar battery which communicates with inverter over the CAN interface, external Modbus device which uses RS485 port, smart light setup or remote switches which can be controlled over WiFi or water heater which can be triggered via built in relay, IMEON provides a wide range of options to create a smart, energy-autonomous household.

Benefits of using IMEON Solar inverter

If you already know how a solar inverter works and what the various types of solar inverters are, here are the benefits of installing IMEON solar inverter:

  1. IMEON solar inverter can help you save on electricity bill. Each year the cost of electricity is rising by an unpredictable value. Investing in solar inverter protects you from the rising cost of electricity.
  2. Using IMEON solar inverter is eco-friendly and does not cause pollution.
  3. By installing IMEON inverter you can increase your self-consumption of electricity and with IMEON OS.ONE smart management system that accessible through Wi-Fi users can monitor their solar production and consumption wherever they are using devices connected to the Internet.
  4. An all-in-one inverter from IMEON is easy to maintain, easy to install, and more secure than other inverters.
  5. Many studies have found that homes equipped with solar power system have a higher selling value. Today, in some countries the demand for properties pre-equipped with solar power systems continues to grow.
  6. IMEON Solar Inverters have a warranty of up to 10 years.

Best solar inverter

To find the best solar inverter for your project, the first thing you can do is calculating how much power is needed for your home each day. To do that you can have a look at your electricity bill (note that winter and summer bills may be vastly different) or you can calculate the energy consumption of every appliance in your household in watts then multiply the result by how long you use it during the day to get a final result expressed in watt-hours or kilowatt-hours (kWh).

In the second step verify how many solar panels could be installed on your roof and the amount of energy (in kWh) which can be produced by solar panels. Multiplying the number of solar panels by their rated power will give you a first idea about the rated power of a solar inverter you may need. Check how the solar production corresponds to your daily consumption as it will affect the choice of the solar inverter later on.

In general, there are two methods of converting the production of your solar array into electricity, it can be done separately for each panel or globally for a chain of panels connected in a string. Each method has its own pros and cons, and requires different equipment:

  1. A micro inverter is installed directly on each solar panel in the array. It’s a solution foreseen for solar arrays suffering from uneven irradiance due to different orientation / tilt of the panels, shading etc. A group of micro inverters can optimise the overall production of such an array, however requires installation of multiple devices, which comes at a certain cost.
  2. String (or central) inverter is capable of DC/AC conversion of solar energy coming from multiple solar panels. A chain of multiple panels connected in series forms a string, hence the name. This type of inverter is very common, since vast majority of installation sites does not require any special measures to optimise the production.

Below is an installation using central inverter and micro inverter.

 

 

 

An_installation_using_central_inverter _and_micro_inverter

An installation using central inverter and micro inverter

 

IMEON solar inverter is a string inverter equipped with MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracking) solar charge controller meant for dynamics optimisation of the solar yields, or in plain English, for finding maximum power of the array in real time. The MPPT solar charge controller significantly outperforms PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) equivalents. IMEON 3.6 houses a single MPPT controller while IMEON 9.12 is equipped with two independent ones.

The relation between the number of panels you can put on your roof and your daily consumption should help to answer the question if you need the battery or not. If your daily production can be directly consumed by the appliances or if it’s interesting to export the surplus production to the grid, it may be compelling to consider battery-less solar system. If, however, you’d like to be able to use the solar production during the evening or night, without exporting it to the grid, or if you require battery backup for your essential appliances, you will need to consider addition of a battery. It’s worth noting that both Imeon inverters allow one to install them in grid-tie battery-less configuration first if it’s not clear if the battery is absolutely necessary. The energy storage can always be added later on. The best solar inverter should be able to intelligently manage the battery storage to avoid the wear and tear related to frequent and heavy use of the batteries. IMEON inverters achieve that by prioritizing the immediate, direct use of solar production and use the batteries and only store the production which cannot be used directly, for later use.

Another factor to consider is the AC connection: In a single-phase system, the current flows towards the load through the phase node and the return path is formed via the neutral node. A three phase systems have three phase nodes and a single neutral, therefore allowing higher power throughput, meant for heavy loads.

An average household usually requires power of several kilowatts. IMEON 3.6’s rated power output of 3 kW and single-phase AC input/output is very well suited for the purpose of electrification of family homes with 2-4kWp solar array fitting neatly on the same roof surface. IMEON 9.12 is a three phase 9kW unit meant for larger sites, with dual independent PV inputs capable of handling two separate PV arrays.

The best solar inverter must be able to keep up with future developments, both in terms of regulatory standards as well as new technologies. IMEON inverter is outfitted with an embedded Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) which allows IMEON solar inverter to adapt to its environment. Thanks to an integrated webserver, WiFi and gigabit Ethernet interfaces IMEON coexists and cooperates with many different devices, building blocks of Internet of Things (IoT), home automation, electric mobility, smart home systems, among others. An internal storage capacity of 8 GB is in place for future new applications and updates while the operation and performance are guaranteed by Texas Instruments ARM Cortex processor. IMEON ENERGY continues to develop the best inverters by developing new applications to optimize its inverters for self-consumption. Its intelligent Operating System, IMEON OS. ONE, accessible from any digital device, is responsible for oversight of the energy management. Its intuitive interface, developed in HTML 5, has different tabs that allow users to easily examine the essential information related to the solar installation. IMEON is the only inverter that comes with the ability to learn user’s power consumption habits and site’s solar production profiles through a machine learning process, to continuously improve the performance of the photovoltaic system.

 

Pure Sine Wave inverter

A pure sine wave and a modified sine wave the inverters are capable of supplying your household with AC power, what is the difference and why is it important?

Below is an exemple of a sine wave generated by pure sine wave inverter and motified sine wave inverter.

 

 

sine_wave_generated_by_pure_sine_wave_inverter_and_motified_sine_wave_inverter

sine wave generated by pure sine wave inverter and motified sine wave inverter

 

The first and most important difference between the AC signals produced by pure sine wave inverter (PSW) and modified sine wave inverter (MSW) is their shape, with PSW devices outputting smooth sinusoidal waveform and MSW devices outputting periodically choppy up and down voltage steps resembling a sinewave. While simple loads such as lightbulbs do not mind the low-quality AC input, the impact for other devices may vary. Some appliances will produce a humming noise, some will consume more power, other will simply refuse to work.

The second difference is the price. If you’re looking for a robust, cost friendly DC to AC converter meant as a supply for unsophisticated appliances you may want to consider the modified sine wave inverter. However, as the technology of pure sine wave inverters gets more and more affordable and as more and more devices rely on high quality AC signal to operate, it’s reasonable to consider using PSW inverters for your projects.

IMEON solar inverter being technologically advanced is capable of synchronisation with the grid to assure that all appliances in your home will receive the same AC signal. However, when IMEON is installed on an isolated site or during a blackout, IMEON will switch to grid forming mode and output a pure sinewave to power up your loads

Power inverter

A power inverter is a broad term which can be used to describe various devices, not necessarily related to solar installation. Wind turbines for example often employ AC/AC power converters which take the AC signal output of the turbine, convert it DC and then use a power inverter to produce an AC signal which matches grid’s frequency and voltage. A power inverter in the context of your solar installation, is a device that converts DC power coming from solar panels or solar battery to AC power which can be used to operate home appliances such as microwave, washing machine, TV, electric lights, etc.

By that definition the solar inverters manufactured by IMEON ENERGY are power inverters too! IMEON ENERGY produces two types of inverters, IMEON 3.6 and IMEON 9.12. Both of IMEON inverters are equipped with advanced Maximum Power Point Tracking and intelligent storage management system to get the most out of the DC side as well as efficient DC to AC converter.

 

 

Imeon_Solar_Inverter

Imeon Solar Inverter

 

What to look for in the best solar inverter

To briefly sum up what to consider choosing the best solar inverter for your installation:

  1. Inverter’s power rating adapted to consumption of energy and surface available for the solar installation
  2. Management of the solar array well adapted to conditions on the site
  3. Micro inverters installation for complex surfaces with multiple possible shading areas if your budget allows it, or
  4. A central (string) Inverter with Maximum Power Point Tracking for surfaces which do not suffer from uneven irradiation.
  5. Inverter with integrated efficient battery charger if export to grid is not financially beneficial.
  6. An all-in-one solution will limit the complexity of the installation, therefore time required to put the system in place and, as a consequence, the total cost of the installation.
  7. Inverter which prioritizes direct use of solar production, since this is the most efficient way of using the solar energy produced by the array.
  8. Inverter compatible with multiple various energy storage technologies, which fit the requirements of your project as well as your budget.
  9. Inverter capable of intelligent battery management, oriented on prolonging the battery’s lifetime.
  10. Inverter which you can configure to best suit your application, whether your site is connected to the grid, waiting for the connection, about to be disconnected from the electricity grid, suffers from frequent power cuts, or which you can install as a grid-tie inverter and add storage later.
  11. Inverter which is can keep up with technological progress and regulatory requirements, which can seamlessly integrate software update without complex update procedures.
  12. Inverter with free of charge excellent remote monitoring platform, to allow detailed surveillance of your solar installation’s performance.
  13. Inverter which you can integrate with the already existing home automation technologies, such as smart lights, wireless relay switches and more.
  14. Inverter which is capable of intelligently adapting its settings in order to achieve the best performance results.

Choosing the right inverter for your project is essential, and smart hybrid inverters from IMEON ENERGY tick all the boxes!

Solar panels

A solar cell is essentially a photosensitive semiconductor which, thanks to its properties, is capable of producing electrical energy when exposed to light. When light particles called photons hit the surface of a solar cell they have a chance of exciting an electron which then travels inside the cell’s structure. The movement of electrons, which are negatively charged particles, causes a potential difference which we know as voltage. The effect of creation of electrical potential under exposure to light is called a photovoltaic effect and it has been discovered by a Frenchmen called Edmond Becquerel in 1839.

The solar panels are made of solar cells connected in series and in parallel. Looking at the materials used in the semiconductor production process we can distinguish:

  1. Solar panels that contain silicon
    1. Monocrystalline
    2. Polycrystalline
    3. Amorpheous
  2. Solar panels that do not contain silicon, and are built using:
    1. Cadmium Telluride,
    2. Copper, Indium, Gallium and Selenium, or
    3. Organic DSC which stands for dye-sensitized solar cell.

Below is a photo of the two most commun types of solar panels.

 

the_two_most_commun_types_of_solar_panels

the two most commun types of solar panels

 

Those silicon-free technologies, together with amorphous silicon panels belong to a category of thin film solar panels, and are made by various ways of deposition of a semiconducting material on a substrate (usually glass). Below is a table summarizing the advantages and disadvantages of each type of solar panel. This table is given for information only because currently almost the entire market has switched to mono and polycrystalline panels. There is no longer any real difference in price between crystalline panels and other types of panels).

Price Efficiency Availability Temperature coefficient Performance : diffused light
Polycrystalline
+++
++
+++
++
+
Monocrystalline
++
+++
+++
+
+
Amorphious
+++
+
+
+++
++
Other thin Film
+++
+
+
+++
+++

IMEON hybrid solar inverters are transformerless inverters and are therefore compatible with monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels.

 

Solar batteries

In a residential system intended for solar self-consumption, it is necessary to integrate solar batteries for two main reasons.

Firstly, the storage is used to compensate for the mismatch between the production of electricity generated by solar panels and the consumption of energy by the site. In vast majority of cases the solar array is producing power during the day, while the owners of the house where the system is installed are simply not there to consume it. The peak of solar production happens at noon, while statistically, the majority of electricity consumption happens either during the morning or during the evening. Solar battery is meant to store the solar electricity and to provide the renewable energy to the appliances when it’s needed, instead of when it is produced.

Secondly a solar system for self-consumption without the batteries is completely useless in case of electricity outage. The grid-tie inverters are coupled to the household’s electricity connection in order to transfer the renewable energy to the appliances over the already existing electrical lines (such connection is called AC coupling). In case of an outage, blackout or a load shedding event, the inverter is required to decouple itself from the grid, to protect the workers, who may be in the field doing maintenance, from electrocution. While the inverter is decoupled, there is no path between the solar photovoltaic array and the appliances, the inverter is therefore unable to transfer the renewable power to the loads. Inverters capable of handling solar batteries are capable of acting as an emergency power supply during such events. More advanced inverters, such as IMEON, retain the capability to send the solar production to the loads even while decoupled from the grid.

There are many types of batteries available on the market but the most frequently used are lithium batteries and Gel and AGM batteries. Each type of battery is suitable for different projects and offers different advantages to its user.

 

Gel and AGM batteries

AGM (absorbed glass mat) and gel (gel electrolyte) are lead-acid batteries. Their mature technology is well known and has been used for decades, with a car battery being perhaps the most prominent example. While the technology is certainly not a new one, it is still widely used for solar installations dedicated to the electrification of isolated sites and to photovoltaic self-consumption. These types of batteries have different advantages compared to lithium batteries such as:

  1. A lower price per kWh of storage. To put it plainly, the lead-acid storage is cheaper than its lithium-ion equivalent.
  2. Significant know how. Because the technology has been used for decades the manufacturers as well as professionals such as solar installers have got the time to collect experience and familiarize themselves with its particularities.
  3. The offer on the market is wide. There are multiple manufacturers on the gel and AGM batteries in the world, which not only makes the technology accessible worldwide but also contributes to driving the costs down.
  4. Easy pairing. Unlike their lithium equivalent, the lead-acid batteries do not built-in battery management system (BMS) and do not require communication between battery and the inverter. This means that theoretically any 48V gel and AGM battery can be coupled with any 48V battery charger built for the purpose.

 

Gel_Battery

Gel Battery

 

Gel and AGM batteries cannot be discharged as deeply and quickly as lithium batteries. The battery lifespan is expressed as a number of charge-discharge cycles the battery can handle before it requires replacement and the number of cycles varies significantly in function of depth of discharge as well as in function of the currents the battery is subjected to. IMEON inverters however are capable of significant improvement of the lifespan, by prioritizing the direct consumption of renewable energy and storing only the excess power in the batteries, therefore limiting the charge and discharge currents the battery needs to withstand, as well as the number of daily charge – discharge cycles.

 

Lithium battery

The lithium battery is currently used in a large number of solar self-consumption projects. The reason for it quite simple, during last decade (the text is being created in April 2020), an impressive increase in lithium-ion battery production volume has led to an 85% decline of prices, making the application of the technology in solar self-consumption market a viable and affordable option. This type of battery has different advantages compared to AGM or gel batteries such as:

  1. A longer service life. The lifespan of the battery is measured in charge-discharge cycles, modern lithium batteries, when handled correctly can deliver six thousand cycles before requiring replacement.
  2. Higher energy density. The lithium batteries are lighter and more compact than their lead-acid equivalent, making them easier to transport, handle and operate as well as saving the precious surface on the installation site.
  3. The possibility of being charged and discharged more quickly. Because if its chemical properties the lithium batteries support higher currents than their lead-acid equivalents (here we’re talking of two batteries of the same capacity).

 

Lithium_Battery

Lithium Battery

 

However, the lithium battery requires the communication between the inverter and the battery via a CAN protocol, it’s therefore not possible to directly couple any lithium solar battery with any solar inverter. It is not advisable to use the lithium storage for electrification of isolated sites, since the battery is best used on sites where an occasional charge from the electrical grid is available.

 

Questions and Answers

Is solar energy reliable and powerful enough for my home or business?

The simple answer is yes, there is a right system for any household. It’s certainly possible to select a system configuration which will suit your needs, and in case you are working with limited roof space or restricted budged, you may want to consider a hybrid system which, when the solar energy is scarce (for instance during winter months), will supplement solar production with power coming from the electricity grid. Such a setup will offset your electricity bill rather than completely replace your power supply.

Do I have to go off the grid when I switch to solar energy?

No, you don’t. Generally speaking, there are two solutions for grid connected installations to choose from:

  1. a basic grid-tie inverter which will simply convert the solar production and feed it into the grid.
  2. a hybrid system which will send power to your appliances and store the excess solar production in the batteries for use during evening, night or during blackouts.

What happens in a power cut?

That depends on the type of your solar inverter. If you have a basic grid-tie inverter with no batteries, the inverter will simply disconnect itself from the grid, in order to protect whoever is working on the powerline. If you have a hybrid solar inverter, the inverter will still disconnect itself from the grid, but will also you its battery to power your essential loads connected to the separate backup output.

What is net metering?

Net metering allows one to export the solar production to the grid. The number of kilowatt-hours exported is deducted from the number of kilowatt-hours consumed during the month on the electricity bill.

What is Feed in Tariff?

It’s similar to net metering, being a scheme allowing reimbursement for energy exported to the grid. The difference is that the Network Operators fix a purchase price of each exported kilowatt-hour, which can be higher or lower than the price a user pays for the electricity.

How much will I really save on my electricity bills every month?

It’s not a straightforward question, and it depends on multiple factors such as:

  1. size of your solar installation,
  2. the time of the year,
  3. the weather conditions,
  4. if you use solar batteries or not,
  5. your electricity consumption,
  6. your daily consumption pattern,
  7. the availability of local energy export reimbursement schemes.

Is a 100% energy autonomy achievable? Yes, certainly. The best way to find out is to contact your local installer.

How soon will I notice a difference in my electricity bills after switching to solar energy?

The solar panels are producing as soon as the site is commissioned for use by your installer. If no lengthy post-installation administrative paperwork is needed in your area (your installer will tell you if it is) you can see the difference from day 1.

How will I know if my property is a good candidate for solar panels?

Best way to check is to ask your installer for a visit. In best case scenario you should have roof surface facing sun at noon (south or north, depending on the hemisphere) but it’s not a hard requirement since there are workarounds which allow to install panels on roofs facing east and west, as well as on the ground. The installation area should be free of shading, but even when that is not possible to achieve it does not exclude your property as a candidate.

Will installing solar panels damage my roof?

If the roof is in a good condition the installation will not damage it when installed properly.

How are PV solar panels attached to the roof?

Most commonly using rails and brackets which provide secure attachment and even distribution of the array’s weight across the surface.

Do I need a south facing roof?

No, a solar inverter such as IMEON 9.12 comes with dual MPPT’s which allow efficient and independent management of arrays facing east and west for example.

Can I install solar panels on my property myself?

You certainly shouldn’t. Improper installation, effectuated by an inexperienced person can lead to all kinds of headaches.

How many solar panels are needed to power a home?

To determine how many solar panels are needed in a home depends on how much energy you consume and on solar irradiation of your area. The best way to determine how many solar panels you need is to get in touch with a photovoltaic installer to make a complete study.

How long do solar panels last for?

Most manufacturers guarantee solar panels performance over 25 years. But that does not mean that panels cannot be used anymore afterwards. Usually, solar panels that have aged 25 years have lower efficiency, but will continue producing electricity.

How long do solar panels take to install? Do you have to rewire my house?

Residential installations, done by an experienced team can take one or two days to complete. You may need to do some rewiring if, for instance, you have specific requirements for backup circuitry and it cannot be achieved with the existing wiring.

Will my solar panels generate electricity during cloudy, rainy, or snowy days?

Yes, they will, but they will not output the same energy as if during nice cool sunny days. The output of a solar panel directly depends on the number of photons which hit the surface of the photovoltaic cell which means that if the panel is shaded or partially covered by the snow, much less photons are penetrating the atmosphere to reach it. What’s more the angle and orientation of the panel play a role here. That’s why the production of electricity, even during sunny days, varies between summer and winter since the position of the sun is not the same.

Can solar panels work when there is no sun?

The concept of solar panel is to generate power from the sun, if there is no sun, the solar panel cannot work produce electricity. However, electricity produced by solar installation can be stored in solar batteries, it’s therefore possible to use renewable energy at night.

Do solar panels need a lot of maintenance?

Solar panels generally require very little maintenance. Tempered glass used on solar panel’s surface is designed to withstand rough conditions such as hail. Most solar panels do not have to be cleaned at all times, but if weather conditions or dust cause the PV production to decrease, you can hire a professional to clean your panels or clean them by yourself.

How big is 1 kW solar panel?

There are several types of solar panels, depending on the number of solar cells they are built from:

  1. 60 cell panels, with power output of about 270-300W, and size of 1m x 1,6m
  2. 72 cells panels, with power output of about 350-400W, and size of 1m x 2m

While the 96 cells panels exist, they do not seem to be as popular as the 60 and 72 cell models, it’s therefore very likely that your installer will propose you one of the latter.

While the panels themselves will take up around 6 square meter surface they do require free surface around them to allow access for installation of another row or future maintenance, so general rule of thumb is that you’ll need about 10 square meters of roof surface per each kW of installed power.

How long will it take for solar panels to pay for themselves?

It depends on many parameters:

  1. Cost of electricity in your country
  2. Cost of the photovoltaic system
  3. Irradiation in your area
  4. Size of your installation
  5. Government financial aids

Imeon Energy engineering teams have developed a new way to manage the flow of energy oriented on achieving highest yields, the way to improve the life time of batteries and have put an embedded Artificial Intelligence to work to fine tune your installation. The ROI will in any case be the best.

What size solar panel system do I need for my home?

To determine how many solar panels are needed in a home depends on how much energy you consume and on solar irradiation of your area. The best way to determine how many solar panels you need is to get in touch with a photovoltaic installer to make a complete study.

How many solar panels are needed to produce 1 kW?

If a single solar panel has a rated power output of about 200 or 250 watts, then to produce 1 kW it may take about 4 or 5 solar panels. Some modern solar panels are capable of achieving higher output power, reaching even above 400W therefore the number of solar panels really depends on the chosen brand and type. It’s necessary to consider the realistic generation output. Efficiency of PV panel, efficiency of inverter and wiring losses all combined could decrease the base value.

How many solar panels will my home need?

The number of solar panels you’ll need will depend on the power output your installation requires and is probably limited by the surface you have available for the installation of the array. The below table sums up approx. size of the panel and the required surface.

Solar system size Number of panels Surface (in m2)
1kW 4 10
2kW 8 20
3kW 12 30
4kW 16 40
5kW 20 50

How does the MPPT work?

In broad strokes an MPPT regulator continuously looks for a voltage and current value which will return the highest power. For instance, it may be interesting to slightly lower the load (current) of the panels if it significantly improves the voltage and thus increases power output.

How does solar energy benefit the environment?

Conventional power plants produce the electricity by burning fossil fuels or by using nuclear reactors to produce heat which drives steam turbines. Avoiding the use of fossil fuels directly leads to reduction of CO2 emissions and reduction of greenhouse effect. While the generation of atomic energy is relatively clean, each failure of a nuclear reactor has a catastrophic consequence which can irreversibly damage the environment, as shown by examples of Chernobyl and Fukushima power plants.

What is the function of solar inverter?

The main function of solar inverter is to convert the direct current (DC) generated by solar panels or coming from solar battery to alternating current (AC) which can be used for powering home appliances.

Do I need an inverter for my solar panel?

Yes of course! A solar inverter is the only device capable of converting DC generated by the PV panels to AC for home appliances.

What is the purpose of the inverter in a solar PV system?

The purpose of solar inverter is to convert the direct current (DC) generated by panel solar or coming from the battery to alternating current (AC) for powering home appliances.

What is the meaning of hybrid inverter?

The hybrid or a smart inverter is a next generation multitasking solar inverter designed to work with solar arrays batteries and an AC source such as electricity grid or a diesel generator. The device manages energy flows with respect to the consumption of the site. It arbitrates between storage and real-time solar energy consumption and can operate in off-grid or on-grid sites, installations which are meant for self-consumption or backup.

Can I use an inverter to run the microwave?

That depends on your inverter and your microwave. The inverter can run any home appliances within its power rating, meaning that a 500W inverter will not be able to supply a 5kW loads by itself.

Can a power inverter run a fridge?

That depends on your inverter and your fridge. The inverter can run any home appliances within its power rating, meaning that a 500W inverter will not be able to supply a 5kW loads by itself.

Why is it called an inverter and not converter?

An inverter is a type of a converter meant for DC to AC conversion. Converter is a broader term which covers more devices, a rectifier is a different device than an inverter and they are both a type of a converter.

What is the difference between a rectifier and an inverter?

An inverter and a rectifier perform opposite functions in electronic circuits. Both act as electric power converters, a rectifier changes current and voltage from alternating (AC) to direct (DC), while an inverter converts DC to AC.

Can DC be converted to AC?

Absolutely yes! With a device called inverter you can convert DC (Direct Current) to AC (Alternating Current)

Why there is no DC transformer?

Because DC only produces a constant magnetic field. If there is no change of magnetic field, it’s not possible to induce current in the secondary wiring of the transformer.

How much does it cost to replace a solar inverter?

Each inverter has a different lifespan. Inverter, in its essence, it’s an electronic power supply, handling voltages and currents of your solar installation. Like any electronic device it is prone to wear and tear due to heavy exploitation of its components. In some cases, inverter may need to be replaced. The cost depends heavily on the type, rated output power, and varies brand to brand. If you’re not a professional installer do not attempt to replace the unit on your own – contact your solar installer instead.

Do I need solar battery?

That depends mostly on the objectives you have for your solar installation as well as availability of energy export reimbursement schemes such as feed in tariffs or net-metering. If you don’t experience problems with power cuts and have a possibility to export the totality of your solar production to grid and deduct each exported kilowatt hour from you monthly energy bill then it makes very sense to invest in a solar battery. However, if exporting power to the grid is not an option and you’d like to benefit from solar energy in the evening, because this is the time when you consume electricity the most, then equipping your home with solar inverter and batteries might be for you.

The sites which suffer from frequent power cuts as well as sites which do not have access to public electricity grid do require battery support. Any inverter must physically disconnect itself from the grid when if the grid goes down and it’s not possible to supply power to the loads if there is no grid and no solar battery.

What type of inverter do I need for my solar battery?

A hybrid inverter is without a doubt the best choice for solar battery. IMEON hybrid inverters deliver the high efficiency of a grid tie inverter combined with the benefits of an off-grid battery inverter, including backup power supply feature.

Tu understand it consider a typical off-grid installation. During operation, the MPPT charge controller would use the solar power coming from the photovoltaic array to charge the battery. Only then, when the battery is fully charged it would be discharged to supply the loads. No solar power would be sent directly to the loads without passing through the battery, which means would cause heavy efficiency drop because of several conversion steps along the way.

Imeon hybrid inverter would do the opposite – it would supply the loads efficiently with power coming directly from the PV array first (like a grid-tie inverter would do), and only when the solar production is not sufficient it would use the energy stored in the battery.

This will not only increase the efficiency of the overall system but also prolong the battery’s lifespan since the battery would be cycled less, and with lower currents.

Can any inverter work with any solar battery?

The short answer is no.

Lead acid batteries need to be matched with the battery inverter in terms of voltage and size. In practice you cannot couple a 24V battery with a 48V charger. Size wise, the battery needs to have an appropriate capacity to support the charge and discharge currents the inverter will subject it to. Exceeding manufacturer’s requirements in that regard may lead to premature retirement of the battery caused by deterioration of electrolyte or irreversible damage caused by high temperature.

Lithium batteries on the other hand have built in Battery Management Systems (BMS). The BMS is responsible for supervision of the battery’s condition, security, and communication with the inverter. It’s a common misconception that it’s the inverter that charges a lithium battery, in practice it’s the lithium battery’s BMS which allows the inverter to effectuate the charge. Lithium batteries, most often than not, communicate with the inverter over CANBUS, using device-specific CAN communication protocol. Since there is no industry-standard, the battery and the inverter must undergo a matching process, which involves various specific compatibility tests and efforts. Simply put, the engineers must make sure that when the devices talk to each other, they speak the same language. That’s why you can only use inverter with compatible lithium batteries.

How many years does a solar battery last?

The lifetime of solar battery is expressed as a number of charge-discharge cycles that the batteries can sustain operating under certain Depth Of Discharge (50% DOD usually means that half of the battery’s capacity has or can be used). To give an example a lithium battery reaches a lifespan of 3000 to 6000 cycles at 80% DOD while lead-acid battery has a lifespan of 400 to 800 cycles at 50% DOD for AGM and Gel type of batteries, and about 1000 to 2000 cycles at 50% DOD for OPVZ and OPVZS types. If a battery use can be limited to 1 cycle per day, and if the DOD factor is known, it’s not difficult calculate the projected lifetime.

Can you charge a battery with a solar panel?

Yes, it’s possible to charge your solar battery with your solar panels. The power generated by panel will be use to charge your battery, with use of charge controller.

Can you hook up a solar panel directly to a battery?

Hooking up a solar panel directly to a battery is not possible. To charge the battery, an MPPT

Can you store energy from solar panels?

Yes, the simplest and best way for homeowners to store solar power’s energy is to use a solar battery. A solar battery collects energy from solar panels during the day and allows to use solar-generated electricity at night.

Can we use solar energy without batteries?

It is possible to use solar energy without battery. You can use an on grid or grid tied system. The solar panel will absorb the sunlight, then the solar inverter will handle the DC to AC conversion. If there is any excess production, it will be exported to the grid network according to local regulation. It’s worth noting that this system will not be operational during the night nor during blackouts.

Can you keep solar lights out in the winter?

All Solar lights work in winter as long as the Solar panel receives enough daylight to power up the batteries to a point that the light can function assuming no faults.

Do indoor lights charge solar panels?

Any solar cell will generate electricity in any light, but the amount of generated electricity depends on the colour of the light. The daylight (preferably direct) is better because it contains more UV which is to put it simply is more energetic and can give a proper kick to electrons inside the photovoltaic cell. If you’re just checking the system you can bend a bright desk lamp (preferably halogen) to shine on the cell.

How does an inverter for solar panels work?

When exposed to light, solar panels will output direct current and voltage (DC) which needs to be converted into alternating current and voltage (AC) by a solar inverter, before supplying the household appliances.