We get it. You’ve just switched on the kettle to make that coffee you’ve been dying to have all day when the power goes out for the umpteenth time this week.
A solar inverter is just one of a few important components of a solar power kit that you can install at home. As with any electrical installation, the various components are sized according to what sort of power capacity you need. To answer the question “how big should my inverter be?”, the key lies in how the inverter will be used and how much electricity it needs to convert.
And your hot water isn’t even mid-boil.
You want the option of solar power in order to save money every month, but you still want grid power at night or when the South African sun doesn’t deliver the goods (i.e. on a cloudy day). This type of system consists of a solar panel array (a group of connected solar panels) and a converter (but no batteries). What size must the inverter be? That’s easy: the inverter will be the same size as the solar panel array’s total capacity.
So for example: if you install 10 x .3 kWh solar panels, then you will need a 3 kWh inverter.
Load shedding is a South African reality, so it’s crucial that you have a back-up system in place so you don’t get caught in the dark. How to determine the capacity of your inverter for back-up purposes: Work out which appliances need to keep running during load shedding.
For instance, if you run a 1 kWh pool pump, a 500 W (.5 kWh) fridge and need to boil a 2 kWh kettle, then a 4–6 kWh inverter will work. Keep in mind the possible duration of load shedding and the types of appliances you use in 2 to 6-hour window. (It’s also worth noting that the battery bank size/capacity is not reliant on the size of your inverter and vice versa.)
In this instance, your solar power setup needs to power your whole household or business, so it’s important to take the power requirements of all your appliances into consideration. An inverter for everyday use needs a high kWh rating (around 8 kWh) so that it’s futureproofed and doesn’t suddenly become inferior to your power needs. This capacity inverter will be expensive, but a good investment into owning your own power and not being dependent on an unreliable grid.
We’ve made it easy to determine your solar power and solar inverter needs with the Sparrot solar calculator. We look at the lifestyle requirements of your household and give you an estimate based on your sizing needs. But if you’d like to know more about putting together the right solar solution for your home or business, get in touch with us!