What’s a Solar Regulator and Inverter?

Information verified correct on October 22nd, 2016

solar-regulatorSee why these two components of your solar system are so important.

What is a solar regulator?

The regulator is a crucial component in an off-grid solar setup, or a grid connected setup with an in home battery. It is also known as a charge controller and controls the flow of Direct Current (DC) that is carried away from the panels to the battery.

The regulation of DC current is important because it stops the system from overflowing, or the battery from overcharging and becoming damaged. It also acts as a no return point, meaning that once the panels have generated electricity and sent it into your home, the regulator will prevent it from returning back to the panels, which will keep the battery charged and prevent wastage.

What is a solar inverter?

The solar inverter is probably the most important element of the solar setup. It takes the DC current that panels produce and turns it into 240V Alternating Current (AC), which makes it suitable for home appliances, lighting and everything else.

Without the inverter the energy that your panels produced would not be usable in your home, so it is important to buy a quality, durable inverter. A poorly made or inefficient inverter can affect your system's reliability and ability to power your home.

What types of inverters are available?

There are two basic types of inverters on the market.

  • Modified sine wave inverters. These cost less than pure sine wave inverters and are more simple in their construction. They work for most households appliances, but problems have been reported with larger appliances, such as garage door openers, photography lighting systems or even laser printers.
  • Pure sine wave inverters. More reliable, more versatile and expensive than modified sine wave inverters. They’re often worth the investment for the superior performance though.

When you’re getting solar installed you don’t need to know to much about the technical stuff, leave that up to your solar installer, but there are a few things that you should know. Knowing what the regulator and inverter are can help you to ensure you aren’t oversold and that you get the perfect kit for your home.

Which regulator and inverter do I need?

It is always best to buy quality over quantity and this is especially true of your electricity supply. The last thing you want to do is install your solar panel system and then realise that the parts you saved money on are not suitable for your home and have them replaced at even further cost.

Discuss your situation at length with your solar installer, they will be experts in regulators and inverters and will be able to help you the right parts at the right price.

Shahedul Islam

Shahedul is the publishing assistant for finder.com.au. He's Internet savvy and loves to learn new things about finance and technology. He spends most of his time learning about the wonderful world of the internet.

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