Solar inverters are completely different from a normal home inverter, these inverters use the unregulated DC power produced from solar panels and converter it either into useful AC power to power home appliances or into useful DC power to charge batteries.
Here, the usage of a solar inverter depends upon its type. And there are three types of solar inverters available which can be used to extract power from the sun through solar panels.
Type of solar inverter
There are three types of solar inverters, that is Grid-tie, off-grid and Hybrid solar inverters. And all these three types of solar inverters have different usage and advantages.
Grid-Tie Solar inverter: Grid-tie inverters convert unregulated DC power generated from solar panels into AC power in synchronization with grid power. Since its output power is in synch with grid power, it doesn't require isolating load from the grid. Hence, it is called grid-tie or on-grid inverters.
The benefit of a grid-tie solar inverter is that it didn't require batteries, hence it is highly economical for places with negligible power cuts. However, places with higher numbers of power cuts or no grid power are not suitable for installing a grid-tie solar inverter.
Furthermore, these solar inverters can use generator power as a reference power source to produce electricity. But, you will be required ZED advance to run a generator with it
>> Learn more, about how to run a generator with solar <<
Off-grid solar inverter: Off-grid solar inverter converts unregulated DC power generated from solar panels into useful regulated DC power to charge batteries. Off-grid solar inverters also have DC to AC inverters that convert DC power stored in batteries into useful AC power to power your home appliances.
An off-grid solar inverter can also use grid power or generator power to charge batteries. Some, companies also manufactured portable off-grid solar plants with inbuilt batteries. These portable off-grid solar power plants are called solar generators or power stations.
Hybrid Solar inverter: Hybrid solar inverter is the hybrid version of both grid-tie solar inverters and off-grid solar inverters. It can use solar power to charge batteries as well as it can generate power in synchronisation with grid power. However, these solar inverters are expensive as well as heavier in weight as compared to off-grid or grid-tie solar inverters.
Can a solar inverter be used as a normal inverter?
Only, off-grid and hybrid type solar inverters can be used as a normal inverter. Both off-grids and Hybrid solar inverters have settings to charge batteries from grid power and power your house during power cuts. However, grid-tie solar inverters required a reference power source to generate electricity.
You can't charge batteries directly from grid-tie solar inverters. Grid-tie inverters generate electricity only in synchronization with a reference power source like a grid or generator.
Moreover, it is not recommended to buy off-grid or hybrid solar inverters and use them as normal inverters. Because these inverters are expensive and have electronics to charge batteries with solar panels. Also, these inverters are big and heavier than normal inverters.
Hybrid solar inverters are heavier and more costly than both off-grid as well as grid-tied inverters. The below tables show a comparison between 5kVA off-grid solar inverter, hybrid solar inverter and normal inverter.
Can solar inverter work without solar panels?
Off-grid and Hyrbird type solar inverters can work without solar panels. These inverters have settings to charge your batteries with grid power or generator power instead of solar panels. And during power cuts, these solar inverters convert the stored DC power of batteries into useful AC power to power your home appliances.
But running these solar inverters [off-grid & hybrid type] without solar panels, won’t help you to save money. It will be a total waste of money to buy expensive solar inverters and used them without solar panels. Instead, you should buy home inverters to power your home during power cuts. Home inverters are less expensive and light in weight as compared to off-grid or hybrid solar inverters.
Can solar inverter work without a battery?
Both Hybrid and Grid-tie type solar inverters can work without batteries. However, these solar inverters required a reference power source to generate electricity. This reference power source could be grid power or generator power.
Also, you will require one solar controller to control the output power of these inverters. Otherwise, these inverters can generate excess energy and that can burn down your reference power source. ZED Advance is one of the most powerful solar controllers that can control the output power of grid-tie as well as hybrid solar inverters. Learn more, about how to operate a solar power plant with a generator.
Can a normal battery be used in a solar inverter?
A normal battery could be used in a solar inverter [off-grid & hybrid type]. However, normal batteries have a low charge cycle and low overcharge capacity hence you need to replace them more offen. Furthermore, solar batteries like tall tubular and tubular batteries have high overcharge capacity and higher charge cycle, hence solar batteries are more economical as compared to normal batteries.