With the rise in popularity of renewable energy and subsequent off-grid energy systems, solar power has become more accessible than ever before. This, however, involves the use of specific devices and technologies.
For starters, let us point out that an off-grid solar inverter uses energy generated via solar panels and converts it into AC for it to be used by your devices and appliances. In this regard, it differs from a grid-based solar inverter which sends the AC to the grid by sending it to a battery bank instead.
Having said that, we should point out that off-grid solar inverters can differ from one another in technical specs, design, capabilities, and compatibility. Let us then take a look at some of the best off-grid solar inverters the market has to offer right now and learn more about what they do.
Top 5 Best Off-Grid Solar Inverters
Capable of producing a daily output of no less than 800Wh, this solar panel kit is ideal for applications that require a reduced electrical footprint. In other words, it’s more or less perfect for RVs, campers, and traveling-related applications.
The kit contains some pretty ingenious equipment, mainly the high solar cell efficiency panels that can withstand strong winds and can last for decades with minimal maintenance on the user’s part.
It also features a Renogy Wanderer-Li 30A PWM solar charge controller which integrates efficient PWM charging to increase battery life while improving system performance overall.
Interestingly enough, the system supports three types of batteries with few limitations regarding their design. As such, the kit can accommodate lithium-ion, lead-acid, and gel batteries.
The powerful DC-AC setup should also be mentioned. It boasts a 2,000W continuous, 4,000W peak surge during load start-up, with a 12V to 120VAC pure sine wave with conversion energy that goes over 90%.
- The easy-to-use interface features several accommodating ports
- Uses an advanced surge protection system
- Has LED indicators for under-voltage and over-voltage protection
- Works with virtually any type of battery
- Can deliver up to 800Wh daily with just 4 hours of sunlight
- Can overcharge cheap batteries
- A bit pricey
On a more technical note, the inverter can handle a maximum of 4,400W/145V solar power and an AC input of 90-140Vac. This all comes with a peak power of 5,000VA and an MPPT voltage range of 60-115Vdc.
It also features four charging modes for the 48V inverter, including solar/utility, priority/solar, priority/utility, and hybrid charging (one of the few near-perfect hybrid inverters out there). At the same time, three output modes can be set depending on the user’s needs.
The kit also comes with an LCD display and 3 LED indicators for a dynamic display of system data and operating status.
What’s more, it uses a smart variable speed fan to dissipate heat and extend the system’s general performance and longevity.
- Can be used with complex off-grid solar systems
- Accommodates virtually any type of battery
- Features two output modes – mains bypass and inverter output
- Boasts an advanced MPPT technology with a very high efficiency
- Has a manual ON/OFF switch to control the AC output
- The fan housing requires additional screws
- Can be difficult to set up
With its 120/240 VAC split phase feature, it can provide a continuous 5,000 Watt support for any lithium battery. This is particularly useful for complex off-grid solar systems that make use of large battery banks.
It is also one of the most complex off-grid inverters out there. Among others, the system features an intricate mechanism that monitors data in real-time, including split phase, charging, output, and battery life.
Speaking of battery, the system operates with an AC/battery priority by default, meaning that when AC input is present, it will be charged first.
Also worth mentioning is the 90% or more transfer efficiency with complete isolate surge interference for both output voltage and current along with impact resistance and super load capacity.
Furthermore, both the charging current and charging voltage can be adjusted, with the notion that it also has a customizable voltage for low voltage protection.
- Features 120V/240V Split Phase AC Output capabilities
- No less than 5 working modes to choose from
- Inverter transfer efficiency is bigger than 90%
- The charge current can be adjusted at will
- Works with almost any type of battery
- It could use a remote
- Directions are lacking
This kit contains one of the few off-grid inverters that boast a functional and advanced MPPT technology for charging with high efficiency.
Although it lacks remote controls, its all-in-one inverter LCD screen with three LED indicators tells you everything you need to know about its operational parameters so that you can make adjustments on the spot.
Boasting no less than 4 charging modes and 3 output loading methods, this inverter facilitates the creation of a truly independent off-grid system.
Thanks to a complex and accommodating battery system, it will work with virtually any type of battery, be it lead-acid or lithium-ion.
- Features full digital voltage and current double closed-loop control
- Has two output modes — mains bypass and inverter output
- Advanced SPWM technology allows for an output of pure sine wave
- Its power-saving mode reduces empty load loss
- The intelligent variable speed fan extends system life
- Cannot split loads between inverter and grid
- Poor customer support
The high-quality, true copper inductance of this solar power inverter can filter the waveform and ensure the true pure sine wave AC power output is consistent, all this while protecting the equipment from any damage.
With a PCB thickness of 2.00mm, it allows the stronger current floating on the circuit to increase its capacity in a safe and controlled fashion.
It also benefits from a built-in soft starter for smoothly rising AC voltage while reducing the instant impact of surge current. This has the goal of greatly extending the service life of any electrical appliances attached to the off-grid system.
Speaking of which, the system allows for solar energy to permeate the setup with a transfer of 12VDC to 120VAC and a 60Hz frequency.
As for its peak power, this solar power inverter allows for 3,000W continuous and 6,000W peak true pure sine wave power, which is ideal for any off-grid system.
- Features a mMultiprotect technology that safeguards against surges and overcharging
- A digital LED display shows DC and AC voltage while telling you about the condition of the inverter
- The terminal block can accommodate high-power appliances with ease
- Can be easily dismounted and installed somewhere else
- Perfect for refrigerators and freezers
- Has difficulties powering space heaters
- Output terminals are not too protected
What to Look For in an Off-Grid Solar Inverter
Solar inverters are often the most sophisticated components of any off-grid system. For that reason alone, they tend to be the first components that break down over time. This tells us just how important it is to only purchase quality models when buying an off-grid solar inverter.
When we talk about the size of the inverter we refer to the wattage of the inverter and not its actual size or shape. You find out the necessary size by adding up the number of watts and volts of all the appliances that you want to connect to the system.
You then find an inverter with enough wattage to fully accommodate them and any subsequent devices you might want to add at a later date. Bear in mind that it’s always good to have room to spare, so get a slightly bigger inverter if you can afford it.
The Sine Wave
The configuration of an off-grid system also involves figuring out whether you want a pure sine wave or a modified sine wave. While pure sine wave inverters deliver cleaner power, some power-hungry appliances will stress out the inverters over time.
A Matter of Efficiency
Although each off-grid system uses roughly the same components, they’re not all equally efficient, not by a long shot. On average, you can expect a decent inverter to have an efficiency rate of about 90% or more, with 95% being considered a high standard. This is considerably lower than grid-tied systems but more than enough for off-grid setups.
Given the fact that most people want to use an off-grid system for decades without the need for any major repairs, you will have to look for components that come with a long enough warranty. In the case of solar inverters, you should look for pieces that come with a 3-5 years warranty or more. Ideally, you want an inverter that comes with a 10-year warranty.
Off Grid Solar Inverter Installation
Although most solar inverters are weatherproof and can be installed outside without any major modifications, you still want to protect the device as much as possible on account of its importance and acquisition price.
You also have to consider that output voltage is affected by the efficiency of your grid’s arrangement and positioning. In that regard, the components should be harmoniously packed together, including the inverter and battery storage.
That said, you might want to set up the off-grid solar power inverter in a secure place, maybe in a garage or cellar. Bear in mind that inverters have to be kept out of the sun and away from any extreme heat that might damage them.
Types of Off-Grid Solar Inverters
Even though most off-grid solar inverters serve the same basic purpose, they can differ ever so slightly based on the current type, design, flexibility, and functionality.
These inverters are used to create advanced hybrid grid-connected systems. Due to their unique construction, they usually work with a wide range of battery types and solar panels.
Small Scale Off-Grid Inverters
Less potent than the chargers, these inverters usually make use of MPPT solar charge controllers. Because of the charge controllers, these inverters are more akin to DC solar battery chargers than inverters, yet they serve the same general purpose.
Off-Grid Solar Inverter Rating Criteria
When focusing on what most off-grid solar inverters have to offer, we notice that hybrid inverters are enjoying quite the rise in popularity in recent years on account of their versatility. That aside, small-scale inverters are also among the favorites of people who live in remote places.
In terms of rating the inverters, one needs to focus on quality and reliability first, on service and support second, but also on monitoring, warranty, and available features. While you’re at it, you should also find out how the inverter deals with excess electricity in a closed circuit.
Apart from design flaws and user-related issues, you can expect most inverters to sooner or later malfunction because of exposure to the elements (mostly extreme heat). Other than that, rain and humidity also play a role to some degree, provided that you’ve set up the inverter outside.
All Things Considered
If you’re looking to set up an off-grid, self-reliant energy system, you simply have to consider investing in a solar inverter at some point or another. You will not be able to set up an efficient solar energy system otherwise.
Due to fluctuating energy prices worldwide, it now makes more sense than ever to invest in your own self-reliance with regard to electricity.
In many ways, it can be a major advantage to have a direct source of energy in these uncertain times, an energy that you can rely on for as long as the sun shines above. We hope you found our guide on the best off grid solar inverter helpful.