Solar Design 101. Does anyone have questions regarding solar energy?

I want to discuss a simple and common mistake I see while helping people with solar packages.   

Inverters and their differences. Not all inverters are right for your specific application.  There are many factors to consider.  Will you be off-grid or on-grid?   Do you want the ability to use other methods of energy generation other then solar panels?   Do you want to sell energy back to the power grid?    These are some common questions and they make a big difference when picking the right inverter.  It’s true that some inverters have limitations and others are what we call “all in one” inverters which are as they are named.  They don’t require other pieces of equipment to add needed functions to the inverter.  They have few or no real limitations other then sizing.  After discussing these questions, you need to then properly size the inverter for your homes specific applications.  After sizing the inverter correctly, the next question is, do you want battery backup for those times when the power fails or do you want to nearly eliminate your energy bill completely?   Not every inverter is capable of charging or drawing energy from battery storage. If these questions are not properly addressed while designing your system, it leads to customer frustration and often overspending in the future by the client.

If you are someone that is considering solar and would like to hear more about this exciting topic, please PM me and I will be happy to share more interesting facts about solar. Thanks for reading this and have a wonderful day. I want to explain these limitations in more detail so that you a potential solar client will know and understand why we (designers) ask so many questions to match up the right inverter with the right client and their power future needs and energy consumptions.  I get many calls from solar system investors,  people that have purchased systems that need help with making their system work properly at their home.  These people are often having problems with their system and can’t get help from their original installer.  Sometimes installer’s don’t want to admit that they made a mistake in the design phase.  These people turn to me for help and more often than not, it’s an issue with the wrong inverter in the wrong application.  Today I want to discuss properly sizing and choosing the right inverters for the home owners electrical requirements. There are many sizes and functions of inverters on the market. There are also many makes and models on the market.  They all are designed differently and can handle different applications if required, like generator backup, battery backup or even wind turbine coupling. 

For residential use they can range from 1kw to 15 kw.  They are 120 Vac or 120/240 Vac.  Each size puts out an AC output to the main panel or a critical loads panel that will run your home electronics, lights/fans, AC units, electric car chargers and pumps, both well or pool pumps. We will discuss pumps and electric car chargers in another posting. As pumps add another element into picking the proper sized inverter. As some inverters don’t do well with inductive loads (like motors) and we try to leave pumps on the grid power if possible.  Not installed on the inverter power panel.

When sizing your inverter we try to look at your past 6 months of energy consumption if possible.  This gives us a good baseline to what your energy requirements are.  We ask you what  your goals are with purchasing a solar system.  Do you want 100% coverage to  cover your total consumption or perhaps just 50% to reduce your energy bills.  These are important questions when sizing the proper inverter for your application.

Once we know your wishes and goals, we look at what the individual loads are in your home. Like I mentioned earlier, inductive loads add more complexity to the designing stage.  Inductive loads (motors) require a larger inverter to be able to handle the high inrush of current when the motor is starting. It is important to understand this while picking the proper inverter.  Some inverters are sensitive to seeing those spikes in energy output and will cause your inverter to trip out.

Causing you frustration. 

Some inductive loads cannot be eliminated from the solar system design.  Especially when designing a system for off grid use.  So it’s important to pick the right inverter for your application.

After calculating your energy loads and using your baseline energy consumption we then look for equipment that can cause an inverter issues. (Inductive loads)

You can contact me at or by cell or what’s app at 506 6330-5137.  You can also follow me at Sunny Side Solar Solutions facebook page to read my weekly articles on many different solar topics.  These same topics can be read at my facebook group at Costa Rica Solar Installation Reviews along with other important information related to solar.