Inverters & Batteries
An inverter is an electrical device that converts direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC); the converted AC can be at any required voltage and frequency with the use of appropriate transformers, switching, and control circuits.
Static inverters have no moving parts and are used in a wide range of applications, from small switching power supplies in computers, to large electric utility high-voltage direct current applications that transport bulk power. Inverters are commonly used to supply AC power from DC sources such as solar panels or batteries.
The electrical inverter is a high-power electronic oscillator. It is so named because early mechanical AC to DC converters were made to work in reverse, and thus were "inverted", to convert DC to AC.The inverter performs the opposite function of a rectifier.
Many inverters have built-in battery chargers which are the best value. If you are shopping for a new inverter, you should buy an inverter with this function.
Batteries store electricity for use at a later time when a charging source (e.g., solar, micro-hydro) is not available. They also provide a reserve of available energy to run loads that require more power than that provided by the charging source.
A battery bank should be designed to use only 50% discharge on a regular basis. The deeper you discharge a lead-acid battery, the shorter it's life span. Inverter controls can be set to default to a preset level.
Typically, a cottage that is used just on weekends requires a proportionately larger battery bank and fewer solar panels because you "deposit" into your battery bank all week but only "withdraw" from it over a short weekend. In a cottage that is operating with occupants all week long, we require a larger proportion of solar panels and a modest battery bank.
Your batteries should be located somewhere warm and dry. Safety is important when working with batteries; they should always be in a separate, locked room or container that is vented to the outside. .
No, the batteries will not freeze provided the system is allowed to continue operating. In the winter, the panels still produce electricity and the controller continues to keep the batteries fully charged. Fully charged batteries freeze only at extremely low temperatures.