Power Inverters

Frequently Asked Questions about Power Inverters?

Solar power inverters are key components of any solar power system. Their role is to convert DC power from your panels into AC power that your home, RV, or other solar-powered structure can use. But even if you understand the basic role of a solar power inverter, you might have other important questions about sizing, loads, and other elements of your inverter’s function. Keep reading to get answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about solar inverters.

What Is Idle Power?

All inverters use some amount of “idle power.” This refers to the power consumption of the inverter when it’s on, but you’re not using any electricity in the system. Effectively, it’s the same as the gas that your car uses when it’s idling, but not driving anywhere. If you expect your inverter to be on for many hours during the day when no power is being used, then you want the idle power to be as low as possible.

What’s the Difference between Continuous and Surge Power Ratings?

All inverters have two separate power ratings: continuous and surge. These are rated in watts, and both are extremely important to ensure that your inverter will meet your power needs. The continuous power rating refers to the amount of power the inverter can provide for an extended period of time. The surge power rating refers to how much of an instantaneous power load the inverter can handle over a period of just a few seconds. The surge rating is important for starting many household appliances, like televisions and microwaves.

How Does “Surge Power” Affect My Inverter’s Operation?

Certain appliances require a large surge of power to start up, then a much lower amount of electricity to continue running. It’s extremely important that your inverter is properly sized to account for any surge power electrical loads within your system. If the inverter can’t feed the surge power properly, it may shut down instead of starting the device.

What Size Inverter Do I Need?

Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer to this question. It requires a great deal of careful calculations, which may be better left to a professional. You’ll need to check the power requirements for all electrical appliances in your home (including the startup power they require) in order to calculate the maximum amount of power you’ll need at any given time. To ensure you get the right size Samlex inverter, have a solar professional assist you with these calculations.

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