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You may not have come across solar panel inverters before. Yet without them, your rooftop solar panels wouldn’t produce any usable energy. Inverters sit underneath or next to your solar panels and convert the DC power supply from sunlight into AC power, which is the electricity your home appliances use.

Why is my solar inverter choice important?

Rooftop solar systems comprise three main parts: the solar panels, the racking attaching them to your roof, and an inverter. It’s the inverter that’s most likely to suffer a failure, says Dan Glaser, Panasonic Senior Sales Engineer of Solar and Storage. This means you need to choose the right one in order to maximize the performance and reliability of your system.

Manufacturers typically sell inverters separately from solar panels, but they’re increasingly being integrated and sold as a single product, says Glaser. “This makes it much simpler to choose; it’s also logistically easier and makes the collaboration between homeowner and manufacturer more streamlined.” Panasonic recently launched its own integrated inverter module (solar panel with built-in inverter).

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What types of inverters are available?

There are three main types of inverters:

  • String inverters  A single inverter for all your solar panels that takes the DC power supply from the sun and converts it into AC power for the home.
  • Microinverters  Multiple small inverters that sit underneath or next to each individual panel.
  • Optimizers  Similar to microinverters, these attach to each panel. The difference is they don’t convert the DC power supply into AC at the panel site. Instead, they send it to a central inverter.

What are the pros and cons of each type?

String inverters are the oldest and therefore the most proven of the inverter technologies. Since a single inverter controls all the solar panels together, it’s the easiest to install and reduces points of failure. But problems arise if it fails, as this will knockout your entire system. Likewise, if your roof has panels in shady areas, it’s not just the efficiency of those panels that is affected, but all panels on the system.

The key advantage to microinverters and optimizers is that they operate independently, so if there’s a problem with one, your remaining solar panels will continue to work. You can also monitor the power of each panel individually to ensure maximum efficiency at all times. What’s more, there’s now little difference in price between inverter types, Glaser says.

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Which is the best solar inverter for you?

Microinverters and optimizers are particularly well-suited to roofs that experience shading, or where the solar panels are angled in different directions. “As soon as shading is involved, optimizers and microinverters make a huge difference,” Glaser says. That’s because the efficiency of one solar panel doesn’t affect the efficiency of the others.

The size of your installation also plays a role in your choice of inverter. For smaller systems, microinverters are a good choice, as you can have as few as one on your roof. For string inverters and optimizers, you need at least six to eight solar panels. In general, you also can’t fit as many solar panels on your roof using microinverters.

Another consideration is whether you plan to implement an energy storage solution either now or in the future, says Glaser, as some inverters are inherently better suited for this. He advises making your installer aware of this from the outset.

Family couple consultations with a lawyer or insurance agent.

What questions should I be asking?

Considering inverters sit on your roof and are exposed to the elements for some 25-years, you need to understand the warranty, says Glaser. This should include who covers the warranty and whether it includes replacement products as well as labor. Inverter warranties are typically about 25 years.

Understanding how to monitor your solar panels is also valuable, says Glaser. For example, is there an app available or a website to login to? Can you see how much energy it’s producing? For microinverters or optimizers, ask how you will be notified if there’s a problem.

Finally, solar panel installers typically work with their own qualified inverter technologies and brands. Therefore, understanding your options is important from the outset as it can inform your choice of installer. Panasonic’s directory of authorized installers is a great place to begin, as all their providers have been rigorously vetted.

By: Panasonic Life Solutions

Emergencies can happen anywhere at anytime—and while no one likes to be a pessimist, it’s truly better to stay prepared than to be caught off guard without a plan. No matter what the emergency power outage may be, here’s what you can do to keep you and your loved ones safe:

CREATE A PLAN

Gather your family members and create a plan for a number of different situations. Explain the dangers and discuss how you can prepare, react and help one another should disaster strike. Create a map detailing your home and where you all can meet outside of your home if you are separated or lost. Make sure your escape plans are accessible to all members of your family, including the young ones, seniors and those with special needs.

Ensure each family member has each other’s phone numbers, as well as local emergency numbers programmed into their cell phones. FEMA recommends also designating an “out-of-town” contact who each family member should contact with their location and status in the case of emergency.

Practice your plan every few months to ensure everyone knows the protocol.

PACK AN EMERGENCY KIT

Now that you’ve got a plan, you should put together an emergency kit. It’s worth noting that modern technology allows many older recommendations, like spare batteries, can be replaced with a solar generator kit, which uses solar power to create power for your other electronics.

  • One gallon of water per person per day for at least three days. This should be enough for drinking and sanitation purposes.
  • A three-day supply of non-perishable food for everyone in your family — and any pets — as well as a manual can opener.
  • A first aid kit that includes enough bandages, antibiotic ointment, and prescribed medications for everyone in your family.
  • Spiral-bound, laminated copies of local maps. They’re more durable than paper.
  • portable power station that will help you keep all your family’s electronics, medical devices, and lights charged. Find a style and size that works for you, and be sure to bring any cord adapters you might require.
  • A flashlight with fully charged batteries or rechargeable lantern.
  • A cell phone and a power bank.
  • A whistle to signal for help in the case of a crisis.
  • Spare clothes for cold or wet conditions.
  • Stay informed You’re prepared with a plan and with a kit, now all you have to do is stay informed. First, learn everything you can about where you live. Understand what weather patterns you can expect and how you should react when they occur.

Ask where your local law enforcement officers are. Ask those officers how they will contact you during an emergency and what kind of directions you can expect from them.

Sign yourself up for emergency alerts, breaking news notifications and severe weather warnings. These will keep you up-to-date on the latest information you need to stay safe and aware of your surroundings.

In the case of an emergency or disaster, contact your local emergency management office or local American Red Cross Chapter to gather any pertinent information.

By: Goal Zero Editors

Energy industry has been experiencing a radical change and the gradual shift towards renewable energy sourcing is more than evident.

Nevertheless, not all that looks sustainable stays that way upon the end of its life cycle.

At least that is the most common worry regarding photovoltaic (PV) solar panels.

They are a sustainable source of energy, dependant only on solar radiation, and capable of delivering electricity to our homes.

However, what happens to solar panels when they fail to perform efficiently? Explore their journey through the recycling process:

This infographic was produced in partnership with Revolution, a leading electronics recycling and hard drive destruction company.

Did you see that power grid?

Chances are you’ve daydreamed in the passenger’s seat while being driven and didn’t notice all the power distribution grid power lines.

The power grid starts in places where electricity is generated. Electricity once was made only at central power stations, which usually ran on fossil fuels.

Today the technology has improved more, and cleaner options for energy generation are available.

Distributed energy resources, such as rooftop solar panel systems, can be cheaper because they generate electricity closer to home.

That means fewer long power-transmission lines and other expensive grid infrastructure required for centralized distribution.

Having a rooftop solar panel system installed also means you are connecting your own generated electricity back to the grid.

Rooftop solar panel systems are in demand to help customers save money on electric bills or help better our climate.

At ENDLESS GREEN ENERGY, we help customers go solar with a zero upfront cost and without paying for the first three months.

The next time you are in the passenger’s seat daydreaming, you may instead notice the rooftop solar panel systems already generating their own electricity.

Get your free estimate and switch to solar energy with Endless Green Energy Inc. CLICK HERE to #GoSolar.

Solar Solutions for Your Home

With the energy bills exponentially rising, going off-grid and using independent energy solutions seems to be the way forward.

With independent, eco-friendly and less-expensive energy solutions, solar solutions top the list. When you go solar, you become less dependent on the grid-system. You also become free from exorbitant deals because the part of the energy that comes from your home’s solar solutions will never get expensive than its initial installation cost.

As you read on, you’ll see the different home solar solutions you can adopt in your home to compliment your electricity provider.

  • Solar Tech:

A small capacity, yet still an efficient way of going solar is the use of the solar tech solution. A lot of people have no idea about the various solar alternatives that can substitute for some technologies they use on a daily basis.

Here are some popular tech products that can be found in solar alternatives:

    • Rechargeable flashlights
    • Solar powered chargers
    • Thermostats, etc.

These are just a few to mention, there are other household appliances that can be found in a solar alternative. This way, you can charge them using the rays from the sun rather than plugging them to the wall and running up your bills.

  • Solar Heating:

Heaters are one of the many home appliances that spike up electric bills (although depending on the power in KV).

However, with the advent of solar heaters- both space and water heaters, you can conveniently use them without the worry of your bills running high as they use solar energy to function.

If you have a pool in your home, solar-powered pool heaters are quite economic compared to regular pool heaters.

This home solar solution is a cheaper alternative to a solar roof and a regular heating system. It’s eco-friendly and efficient as well.

  • Solar Air Conditioning:

In your home, it is not news that air conditioning uses more energy than any other appliance. This alone can cost you a huge amount of money spent on electric bills every year.

Especially if you live in a region that is hotter than other areas. Investing in this home solar solution is the best way going forward on saving yourself from this huge cost.

This solution works like a solar water heating solution. It is also possible to set these home solar solutions in one unit in your home so you get both functionalities in one design and unit.

  • Solar Rooftop Panels:

The common and considerable way to go off-grid and slash high electric bills is to invest in solar rooftop panels.

Energy emitted from rooftop panels depends on the size of your house, and other factors pertinent to your home. However, a standard house uses about a kilowatt of power.

Although, before investing in this home solar solution it is advisable that you calculate the electrical capacity of your home and plan as you’re about to invest in this solution.

  • In Conclusion:

If you want a cleaner, cheaper alternative than the grid system invest in home solar solutions.

Are you Ready to Start Saving? Contact us to find out how Solar Energy can make you save money. Our solar experts at South Texas Solar Systems Inc. will help you with any question you may have.

CLICK HERE to Request a Free Estimate.

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