What is a Plug and Play Solar Grid Tie Inverter?
A Grid Tie inverter is a simple device that takes direct solar panel electrical input, and then steps it up to a pure syne wave that can be pumped into your household grid through a recepticle. These devices look like AC/DC inverters, and in a way they are, but they are pure syne wave inverters that output AC electricity. So they take the power from your solar panels, and then pump them into your house grid – allowing you to input the juice you are creating to your own home electrical grid.
There are pros and cons to using these, and in our experience, here are a few things to be aware of when using these devices.
1) When these devices are on, you DO NOT want to unplug them, as you can get an electrical shock. Since these actually push electrical out of the male plug back into your house recepticle, these work opposite of what you are used to with normal plugs, and you should never touch the male plug from the Grid Tie Inverter while it is on, as it will electrocute you.
2) These should only plugged into a dedicated GFI circuit coming directly out of your main breaker box. You really should have a shut-off switch between your main breaker and the GFI this is plugged into to completely eliminate this device from the grid in the event of a grid shut-down. These devices have a safety on them that shuts them down when no grid electricity is detected, but if you have this plugged into the grid, producting electricity during a black-out, there is a possibility that a line-man could get a zap from your device.
3) We have learned that regardless of what the actual watts of power these inverters claim to produce, they are really only half effecient, and you should never try to overload them with more than half their capacity or they will overheat or catch on fire. So if you have a 600watt Grid tie inverter – expect to only run 300 watts of solar panel juice to it, and expect it only to produce about 300 watts. This is very important to note, as these have a tendancy to over-heat and shut-down or catch on fire if you overload them.
4) You can stack these devices to try and get more power output from them, but we do not recommend this. It is best to keep them running separately on their own circuits when using more than one on your grid. What happens with these units is when they are stacked, they actually become master and slave units, and the slave unit hardly gets any say in the amount of power or output it produces. The master likes to take over, and they you are overloading that device. So keep them on separate circuits, and pnly feed them from separate solar panel arrays.
Installing a Grid Tie Inverter is very simple. Just connect the Red leads from the solar panels to the Red DC Input pole on the inverter, and connect the Black leads from the solar panels to the Black DC Input pole on the inverter. Connect a ground wire to the ground lead and connect this to a ground terminal on your house. Then plug the male AC Output plug connection into a dedicated GFI outlet on your house. ONCE THIS IS PLUGGED IN, DO NOT EVER DISCONNECT IT WHILE THE UNIT IS ON! Then turn on the inverter. It will indicate that it is generating power to the grid by the LED lights on the side. We recommend that you plug in a Kill-a-watt meter between your GFI and inverter to measure how much juice it is pushing back into the grid.
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