Solar PV Inverters

Solar PV inverters, also called grid-tied inverters, convert the direct current (DC) electricity produced by your solar PV panels to alternating current (AC) electricity that can be used in your home and exported back to the grid.

Solar invertors also:

  • ensure compliance with regulations about feeding electricity into the grid, for example by immediately disconnecting if there is a power cut
  • maximise electricity production by constantly varying its resistance (load).

Solar inverters are very efficient, usually 93–96% depending on the make and model – never 100% because they use some of the input DC power to run, generally around 10-25W. Their efficiency can be improved by an electronic technique known as Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT). The point of maximum power output of a solar PV cell is dictated by a combination of current or voltage. Where it is will vary constantly according to light levels, shading, temperature and the characteristics of the solar PV panel. A MPPT system continually searches for this point to extract the maximum power available from the cell.

There are many different makes and sizes of inverters on the market. The key characteristics are:

  • maximum amount of DC electricity (expressed as max DC power in Watts)  the maximum number of watts the inverter has been designed to convert
  • maximum input voltage – this is the maximum voltage the inverter can manage before its electronics are damaged
  • initial input voltage (sometime called start-up voltage) – the minimum number of volts the solar PV panels need to produce for the inverter to start working
  • maximum power point (mpp) voltage rang – the voltage range at which the inverter is working most efficiently.

Visitors to Analog Devices stand (Hall 6 – 326) at PCIM Europe next month in Nuremberg (20 to 22 May) will see the company’s emphasis on optimising energy efficiency in industrial automation, alternative energy, and building technologies using advances in motor and power control products and techniques.

There will be motor control and photovoltaic demonstrations include the company’s high-performance mixed-signal control processor (ADSP-CM40x) controlling multiple servos in conjunction with best-in-class front-end control, isolation and power signal processing solutions. Visitors will also see the current and voltage sense demonstration including Xilinx FPGA-based and the company’s own analogue front ends used in more complex controller platforms.

There will also be digital power demonstrations for isolated DC/DC power conversion control and the benefits of Power Factor Correction. The ADP105x digital controllers with PMBus interface combined with ADI iCoupler digital isolation technology offer telemetry and efficiency at a system level. There will be a live demo of the ADP1055 in a 240W DC/DC power supply.

Further Information

If you would like any further information from the team at Softei, please contact us on either Tel. No. 01483 410 877, via e-mail at info@softei.com or via our Facebook page, and we’ll be happy to answer any of your questions.

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