Which Is Best Solar Inverter Or Normal Inverter
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As you learn more about renewable energies, especially solar power, you may become confused when you realize that we’ve had “normal” residential inverters for a while longer than the kind of inverters we use for solar power.
The truth is that the two products are distinctly different from each other, and they both have pros and cons that must be considered to determine which is best for your unique circumstances.
Keep reading to learn more about the differences between these two kinds of inverters, their pros and cons, and whether one option makes more sense for you than the other.
What is the Difference Between Inverter and Solar?
Normal inverters and solar inverters can look pretty similar, and the function they perform is largely similar, but they can have distinct differences in their circuitry and how they operate. There are two main differences between the two kinds of inverter that we need to be aware of:
- Where the inverter gets its power
- The internal components of the inverter
Normal inverters can also be considered grid-tied inverters. This is because they typically receive direct current (DC) power from a local grid before converting it into alternating current (AC).
They might do this before or after power is stored in a battery located within the household, which supplies the house with power in emergencies. Solar inverters, on the other hand, get their DC power from solar energy generated by solar panels capturing light from the sun.
They can operate independently of the grid and are not necessarily tied to the rest of a house’s wiring.
The other important note is that solar inverters typically have two components that residential inverters don’t. These are the blocking diode and charge controller.
Which Battery is better: Solar or Inverter?
The batteries used to store power from solar or grid sources are likely the same kind of battery. This means they can be lead-acid or lithium-ion batteries.
Although the batteries work in the same way no matter what system you have, many people regard batteries attached to a solar system as the superior option.
This is because these batteries are usually more useful in emergencies when the power goes out, and they can be utilized to maximize savings on any electric utility bills by taking advantage of net metering and time-of-use (TOU) pricing.
Pros and Cons: Solar Inverter or Normal Inverter
Like anything in life, both options have pros and cons to consider because they are both significant financial investments. For solar inverters, the pros are:
- Can work independently of the grid
- Can save money on utilities
- Has more parts to protect connected electronics
The cons, however, include the following:
- Requires an array of solar panels to work
- Only generates useful power when there is sufficient sunlight
- More expensive than a normal inverter
The pros and cons of normal, residential inverters are basically the opposite of solar inverters, with pros like:
- Typically cheaper than a solar inverter because of the parts needed
- Operates even without sunlight
- Only requires an inverter and battery system
The cons, on the other hand, include the following:
- Doesn’t charge batteries independently of a grid
- Doesn’t really save you money because you are consuming the same amount of energy, if not more, as you normally do, and to charge batteries
- Doesn’t necessarily have a blocking diode or charge controller to protect the electronics and prevent things like overcharging batteries
Price Range: Solar Inverter or Normal Inverter
The price of inverters changes dramatically depending on how many watts of power the inverter can deal with simultaneously, as well as the kind of inverter within each category and the brand.
Depending on how much power you need to draw, you could be looking at anywhere between about $70 to a little over $320 for a normal inverter. Keep in mind that larger power ratings on inverters mean the unit is physically larger as well.
For solar inverters, you could be looking at at least $140 for small, grid-tied inverters and well into the thousands of dollars for large, off-grid, or hybrid-style inverters.
Both kinds of inverters should help you keep the essential electronics powered in your house in case of power outages and blackouts, but solar inverters are becoming increasingly popular and are often viewed as the superior option for a variety of reasons.
Between the opportunity to save money, being a renewable energy source, and a trendy, environmentally-conscious option, solar inverters are beginning to change the way we think about converting and using power.
This could be another reason normal inverters are cheaper – they could be considered outdated and may no longer be supported by companies for maintenance.
Ultimately, which kind of inverter you require comes down to your unique situation and what you need. The differences between a solar inverter and a normal inverter barely scratch the surface of everything you may want to know before investing in any of them.
Do your research and fully consider your options, including microinverters, string inverters, hybrid inverters, and full off-grid inverters, to see which of these is best for you.
Once you have done this, you will be more confident and can ask the right question when getting quotes for prices from any solar installation company or electrician.