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Why Do Solar Cells Need An Inverter?

December 20th, 2021 | By Roger Kuznia

solar engineer writing

When considering a solar addition to your home, it’s worth learning about the parts of your solar panel system. Inverters are a vital part of a solar system, converting solar energy into usable power for your home. Let’s take a look at what solar inverters do to help your home run with solar power.

What Is A Solar Inverter?

Solar inverters change the direct current (DC) electricity created by your solar panels into alternating current (AC) that can power your home. Your solar inverter is responsible for tracking the production of your solar panel system and directing energy into your home. 

Why Do I Need A Solar Inverter?

Your solar panel system needs a solar inverter to convert DC electricity from your solar panels to AC electricity, a form of electricity for your home or business. DC only flows in one direction so it can’t be used to power your appliances. AC is used because it is more efficient and can shift between high and low voltages. That is why an inverter is necessary, because without it, you can’t use the energy produced by your solar panels.

How Do I Read My Inverter?

Reading your solar inverter can help you understand how your solar panel system is powering your home. On a solar inverter, there are five icons that inform you about your system’s solar production: 

  • Solar Panel Icon: The top left solar panel icon is what tells you your panel’s output in kilowatts. The higher the number, the better. Ideally, your panels produce more energy than your home requires.
  • House Icon: The top right house icon indicates how much energy your home is currently using. Comparing this number to your panels’ output tells you if your home is using more energy than your panels produce. 
  • Fan Icon: The middle fan icon is not even a fan — it’s actually the logo for Pika Energy, a company that was acquired by Generac in 2019. Chances are that logo might not be there when you get your inverter. The numbers on either side are the ones you want to key in on — a Vdc number relaying the amount of direct current produced by your panels, and a Vac number that displays the amount of alternating current on your electricity line. 
  • Battery Icon: Should you decide to include a Generac backup battery in your solar panel system, the battery icon tells you how charged your battery is. Having a battery with your system allows you to store extra solar energy that you can use overnight or during an outage to power parts of your home.
  • Power Pole Icon: Lastly, in the lower right is the power pole icon that represents how much energy is being drawn from the grid. The closer the number is to zero, the less you are relying on grid power to meet your home’s energy needs.

Start Powering Your Home With Solar Energy Today!

The decision to go solar is one that requires research and understanding of your home and what solar could do for you. At Pink Energy, our industry experts are ready to help you navigate your solar journey with answers to all of your questions. Contact a solar professional and go solar today!

 

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