Inverters are electrical devices that convert stored DC (direct current) into AC (alternating current). In many setups, there is battery backup which can be a single battery, a string of batteries or strings of batteries. There is also the inverter itself which inverts the direct current of the battery into alternating current. Some setups have renewable energy sources attached, the most common being solar panels that use light (using panels) or heat of the sunlight (using solar concentrators).
Do power inverters reduce electricity cost?
The solar energy is used to charge the batteries of the inverter setup. The type that uses light is called solar PV (photovoltaic) while the type that uses concentrated heat is called solar thermal.
The cost of having a power inverter setup
It is quite an expensive venture setting up an inveter due to the high cost of batteries, solar panels and the inveter itself. What makes inverter setup expensive the most is the cost of batteries. Due to these high costs, people usually question whether installing a power inverter is worth it. Some people do not believe that there will be any return on investment before the setup will need replacement. This is sometimes true especially when quality products are not used or when it is not installed properly. But this is not the main question we are trying to answer. The main question is whether having a working inverter setup reduces the money one pays on electricity.
Do we save cost on electricity by using power inverters?
The straight answer is No! This is because during battery charging, that is when the charger is charging the batteries by feeding them with direct current which is rectified from alternating current, there are losses. Similarly, there are also losses during inversion from direct current to alternating current. Because of this, energy is rather being wasted than being saved.
Benefits derived from using a power inveter
1. It serves as power backup when there is no utility power.
2. It creates convenience as a result of increased availability of power.
3. It does not cause noise pollution.
4. It helps to keep critical loads/appliances powered on. This increases their availability.
Does addition of solar power to inverter setup reduce cost on electricity?
Yes. With addition of solar power to inverter, the setup can be used to cut down the money paid for electricity. This is because sunlight is a free and renewable source of electricity. With addition of solar power, less energy will be consumed from the utility grid or less fuel of generator connected to charge the batteries will be consumed.
Challenges of setting up a power inverter that will save electricity cost
The main challenge is the cost of solar panels which are expensive in addition to high cost of batteries and quality inverters. Other things needed for an inverter installation are charge controller (if solar will be used), changeover switches and so on. However, the benefits are felt on the long run. With solar installation, the money spent on the installation can be recovered from about two to five years.