A common misconception about solar is that one needs to power the entire location (whether home, office or factory) with solar. This can be quite expensive, so we understand the concern!
In fact, the majority of solar installations these days do not require you to install enough solar panels to cover your power consumption.
How does one know? Read on.
Net-metering systems combine solar and the electricity grid (and sometimes batteries) to provide power to your home, office or factory. The inverter is responsible for managing power coming from the solar panels and electricity grid (and batteries, if applicable). However, when the power consumed exceeds that coming from the solar panels, the inverter will draw the additional requirement from the electricity grid.
Let's illustrate this with an example:
You have installed 5 kilowatts of solar panels at your home. Most of the time, the power consumption during the day is 10 kilowatts, as you have air conditioners running.
In this case, the inverter will draw 5 kilowatts from the solar panels, and the remaining 5 kilowatts from the electricity grid.
As the setting of the sun reduces the amount of power coming from the solar panels, an increasing amount of power will be drawn automatically from the electricity grid as the afternoon progresses.
Find out more about net-metering.
Off-Grid and Battery Systems
When using an off-grid inverter (that is, without net-metering) or running a hybrid inverter on batteries, the inverter will behave differently and will have an upper limit to the amount of power that it can provide. This is due to the inverter being unable to draw the additional power from the electricity grid.
Each inverter has an output limit, such as 10 kilowatts, that is normally mentioned in the model name and description. For example, the Inverex Aerox 2.2kW Inverter has a limit of 2.2 kilowatts. If the power consumption exceeds that, it will beep repeatedly to signal an overload, and subsequently turn off to protect its components.
As a result, when sizing an off-grid or battery backup system, it is important to consider what appliances will be running. Our system configuration platform takes this into account, if you'd like to try it out!