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What is an inverter?

A standard inverter allows you to convert, store and supply power.

It allows you to store Alternating Current (AC) power (e.g., from main utility like Eskom) and Direct Current (DC) power (e.g., from Solar Panels) by converting the current to charge your batteries (DC). And then, since most appliances use AC, it will also convert the battery’s DC power back to AC when your appliances need it. Think about an inverter as a fuel pipe, the pipe needs to be ‘big enough’ to be able to supply your home’s power demand.

What is an off-grid or backup inverter?

Their main purpose is to provide solar power when you are not connected to the grid or ‘kick in’with batteries when there is a power outage. If it’s connected to solar panels, you’re not able to ‘blend’ electricity. If the solar panels don’t produce enough energy to meet 100% of your house’s demand, the inverter will choose to pull the 100% of the load from the battery or the grid (e.g., Eskom), and use the solar power to charge your batteries.

What is a hybrid or grid-tied inverter?

The major benefit here is that they can blend electricity and is most suitable if you have solar panels. For example, if your solar power can only provide 70% of your house’s demand, it will use that for power, and supplement the 30% shortfall from the grid (e.g., Eskom). If your solar panels produce excess power, this can be stored into batteries (if you have a Hybrid) or fed back to the grid.


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