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A Comparison of Power Inverters by OutBack, SMA, Fronius and Xantrex

A grid tie inverter is a critical part of any alternative power system. Grid tie inverters give you practical alternative power for your home. What does it mean to say your system has a grid tied inverter? Grid tied inverters, either a solar grid tie inverter or a wind grid tie inverter, do two things. First, they convert the direct current your solar module or wind turbine products to the alternating current your home runs on. Second, they synchronize your home AC with the utility so you can draw power from the utility grid, of even sell power back to the utility.

Grid tie power inverters are complex devices: the grid tie inverter schematic may have four components (a) regulate power for solar panels or wind turbines to the level required to charge the homes DC Backup batteries (b) convert DC power for the homes batteries, solar power and wind turbines to AC power (c) synchronize the homes AC power with the grid to allow seamless transfer and (d) transfer energy from the grid when needed, and transfer energy to the grid when available to lower utility bills.

Of course, a grid tie power inverter is not always required. Grid tie power inverters are not needed if there is no grid- for example for a remote cabin or sailboat. A basic power inverter, watt rated, converts DC to AC power, the AC DC power inverter lets your solar power or wind power system charge batteries, and then draw AC power for your home.

Some of the leading suppliers for power inverters include Xantrex, Outback, SMA and Fronius.

OutBack Inverters

OutBack Power offer SmartRE, the revolutionary Smart Renewable Energy solution, bringing you simplified grid-tie solar with back-up power for residential and small commercial applications. Designed with an emphasis on ease of installation, a SmartRE solution installs and operates similarly to basic grid-tie solar inverters but with the unique additional benefit of providing UPS quality battery back-up during utility outages. An integrated ultra-fast AC transfer switch guarantees that even sensitive back-up loads, like computers, never know when a utility outage occurs.

OutBack Grid-Interactive Inverters

The OutBack grid-interactive system makes backup AC power available 24 hours a day. At night, the inverter's automatic power save mode ensures that energy is not wasted by needlessly charging batteries from the utility grid. Outback Grid-interactive systems include:

OutBack Mobile and Marine Inverters

OutBack's Mobile and Marine inverter/charger models provide performance and reliability wherever your travels take you. Mobile power inverters handle AC input neutral/ground switching by a fully integrated AC transfer switch for shore chord or generator hook-up. Mobile and marine inverters include:

OutBack Off Grid Inverters

Off-grid applications are demanding. OutBack Off Grid Inverters have modular architecture that can grow to 36,000 watts. Power hungry devices are easily started by OutBack inverter's substantial surge power capability. When not being used, the inverter enters a power save mode, which consumes as little as 3 watts, saving your battery power. OutBack's Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) technology gets the most from your solar array or can also control hydro or wind turbine charging sources.

SMA Power Inverters

SMA Solar has been supplying solar technology for more than 25 years. SMA is a global company and employs more than 2000 people on four continents.

The SMA Sunny Boy inverter is the SMA solar inverter sized and featured for solar panels. Our new generation of SMA pv inverter come with innovative technologies such as OptiTrac and H5-Topology. These make the device even more efficient - and therefore ensure a very good solar yield.

The Sunny Island Inverters are for self-sufficient, off grid energy systems with battery from a self-sufficient AC voltage grid. PV and wind energy systems, diesel devices, water or block heating power stations can be coupled on the AC side just as conventional 230 Volt consumers.

The SMA windy boy inverters have all these features, and allow for grid tie inverter operation- without batteries.

SMA Monitoring systems offer the user state of the art control of an alternate energy system.

SMA Sunny Boy PV Inverters

SMA Sunny Island Inverters - Off Grid Inverter

SMA Solar Monitoring Systems

Fronius Inverters

The Fronius inverter offers high efficiency, precision, and intelligent control to deliver high quality energy output from grid-tied Fronius solar inverter systems.

The Fronius IG grid tie inverter family has special processor control that makes them very versatile. Fronius IG family has power ranges from 3.0 to 12 kW. The Fronius IG Plus inverter includes a maximum power harvest, a built-in six circuit string combiner, integrated, lockable DC Disconnect, significantly improved efficiency, and unbeatable reliability. Fronius System Monitoring / Data Logging lets operators of large systems or home owner how their system is performing.

Fronius IG Inverters

The Fronius IG work reliably and efficiently in smaller size range thanks to Fronius’s remarkable experience and decades of research and development. Popular Fronius IG grid tied converters include the following:

Fronius IG Plus

The next generation Fronius IG Plus inverter offers new, larger power classes expand the proven Fronius IG family.

Xantrex Power Inverter

Xantrex Technology Inc is a subsidiary of Schneider Electric, one of the world’s largest suppliers of eletro-technical devices. Xantrex focus on the renewable and mobile power markets. The company’s products convert and control raw electrical power from any central, distributed, renewable, or backup power source into high-quality power required by electronic equipment and the electricity grid. Xantrex is headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, with facilities in the United States, Germany and Spain, and a joint venture in China.

Well known for the compact Xantrex xpower micro inverter, Xantrex has 2 types of systems to reduce dependence on utility-supplied electricity: GRID-TIE inverters work in conjunction with utility power, and OFF-GRID work for standalone power.

Some of the most popular Xantrex products include the following: