Clean power supply
Published on January 18, 2021 | by Steve Hanley
January 18, 2021 by Steve Hanley
Solar on the roof is great. It takes a portion of your home that is only used for rain and snow and turns it into a place to generate electricity that you can use in your home or sell back to your local utility company if local guidelines and tariff structures allow allow this. There's only one problem. The electricity that comes from solar panels is direct current. The electricity that comes into your home from the nearest utility pole is alternating current. You need something called an inverter to convert the direct current coming from your roof into the alternating current that the electrical devices in your home need to function properly.
Tesla's rooftop solar systems used to include an inverter made by other companies in their rooftop solar systems, but now a dedicated inverter is included in the rooftop solar and solar kits. According to Tesla's website:
“Tesla Solar Inverter completes the Tesla home solar system and converts direct current from solar power into alternating current for self-consumption. Tesla's renowned know-how in power electronics has been combined with robust safety features and a simple installation process to create a great solar inverter that is compatible with both solar roof and traditional solar panels. Once installed, homeowners use the Tesla app to manage their solar system and monitor energy usage. This leads to a truly unique ecosystem experience. “
Key features of Tesla's proprietary inverter include:
- Based on Powerwall 2 technology for exceptional efficiency and reliability.
- Wi-Fi, ethernet and cellular connection with wireless updates.
- Developed for integration with Tesla Powerwall and Tesla App.
- 3.8 kW and 7.6 kW models available.
The Tesla inverter is available in two versions – 3.8 kW and 7.6 kW. The former offers two maximum power point trackers, while the latter is equipped with 4 MPPTs. The unit itself is 26 “high, 16” wide and 6 “deep and can be mounted indoors or outdoors in temperatures from -22ºF to 113ºF.
PV Magazine notes that Tesla claims its inverter is 97.5% efficient, but doesn't state whether that number represents the California Energy Commission's weighted rating or maximum efficiency. The inverter has an integrated quick shutdown function and offers arc and earth fault protection in accordance with the applicable regulations.
There may be inverters on the market that are more efficient. However, the fact that this device was designed and manufactured by Tesla suggests that its software will work seamlessly with the software that controls a Tesla Powerwall, if one is included in the system. With Tesla's penchant for high quality products and the 12.5 year warranty that covers the inverter, customers can rest assured that their solar system uses components that are truly state of the art.
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About the author
Steve Hanley Steve writes about the intersection of technology and sustainability in his Florida and Connecticut homes or anywhere else where the singularity could lead him. You can follow him on Twitter, but not on social media platforms run by evil overlords like Facebook.