Most solar inverters today use what’s called MPPT. Solar inverter MPPT offers many advantages over older PWM technology, from increased efficiency to ability to support higher array voltages. If considering solar energy for your home or business, you may want to know how MPPT works and what benefits it can offer. Here’s everything about this technology explained.
What is MPPT in Solar Inverter?
MPPT is the shortened form of Maximum Power Point Tracking. In simple terms, it refers to the technology employed by solar charge controllers to ensure maximum power in different conditions. At its heart, the MPPT uses an algorithm to determine the maximum power point of a PV panel output.
Basically, a solar inverter with MPPT charge controller increases system efficiency by reducing losses associated with mismatch between input voltage and battery voltage. This ensures that the PV panel always operates at the optimal current and voltage levels.
A solar system’s MPPT is usually either a separate module or built into the inverter. A solar inverter with built in charge control provides increased convenience. These inverters are further categorized into single and multiple MPPT types. Read more about them below.
Single MPPT Inverter
A single MPPT inverter only has one MPPT channel to connect to the solar array. In other words, it can only track the power output of the entire array of panels. Single MPPT inverters are usually the least expensive option. However, they also have lower efficiency ratings than those with more than one MPPT.
Multiple MPPT Inverter
A multiple MPPT inverter, on the other hand, uses multiple MPPT channels or inputs. This solar inverter MPPT design enables the tracking of individual panel string in an array. Multiple MPPT inverters are generally more efficient than single MPPT types, but they also tend to be more expensive.
How Solar MPPT Works
The basic idea behind equipping a solar inverter with MPPT is to constantly adjust the systems current and to achieve optimal power levels. In order to understand how solar MPPT works, we need to first talk about the relationship between current, voltage and power.
This is represented in the equation P= V X I where P stands for power, V voltage, and I current. Based on the equation, it means an increase in circuit voltage while current remains constant will result in more output power and vice versa.
With that in mind, we can now look at how solar MPPT works.
- The solar inverter MPPT keeps track of the voltage that your solar panel is producing. Using clever electronics, if then applies a resistance to the circuit to achieve maximum power point.
- The technology makes use of the relation between current and voltage or what’s represented by the I-V curve. It means at any given time, your inverter is making adjustments to reach the ultimate power point as defined by the curve.
Using an MPPT inverter for solar system, therefore, means an efficient installation at all times, even in changing conditions such as variations in solar intensity, dust, cool or hot weather’s, and so on. Solar MPPT offers several advantages: these are listed below.
Advantages of MPPT
The solar inverter MPPT, as already mentioned, works by finding the optimum operating point of the solar panel. It then constantly adjusts current to account for changes in conditions such as temperature, sunlight intensity, and so on. This offers several advantages.
- First, it increases system efficiency. This is one of the main advantages of MPPT. By constantly adjusting the operating point of the array, the MPPT module is able to extract more power from your panels, resulting in increased overall efficiency. This is desirable in any solar installation.
- Secondly, because it’s able to track the maximum power point of your PV panels even in low sunlight, MPPT can help improve the performance of your solar system in different conditions. This is especially beneficial for systems that are installed in areas with less than ideal sunlight conditions, shading issues, or dusty situations.
- MPPT offers more flexibility, allowing you to use higher solar array voltages than that of the batteries but without energy losses. This means you can consider scalability when using an MMPT base inverter.
Solar MPTT vs. PWM
The MPPT in solar inverter is a smart mechanism meant to maximize power drawn from solar panels. The alternative is to use the traditional pulse width modulation (or PWM). This technology is still available in some inverters today, so you may want to know which type offers the most benefits. How do the two technologies compare? See below.
PMW Solar Inverter
Pulse width modulation is an older technology that switches the solar circuit on and off very quickly, typically at a frequency of hundreds of kilohertz. The duty cycle is varied to control the amount of charging current. The idea is to level voltage so it doesn’t surpass that of the battery.
PWM has some advantages over MPPT. One is that it’s less expensive- the required hardware is simpler. The main disadvantage of PWM is that it has lower efficiency. It also may not suit situations where the array voltage is too high and ends up wasting the excess power.
MPPT Solar Inverter
Inverter MPPT uses the relationship between current and voltage to find the ultimate combination that will result in maximum power. When added to a solar system, it means more power from your panels even during times when the panels are not performing at their best.
In terms of cost and performance, an MPPT based solar inverter scores higher. It’s more complicated than PWM, which makes it more expensive to manufacture. So the decision between an MPPT and PWM depends on your budget and the type of system you want.
MPTT vs. PWM: The Verdict
Overall, MPPT offers many advantages in terms of performance, efficiency, and cost savings. However, no matter what you choose, it’s important to research the different types of solar inverters and understand what’s available and which one is right for your needs.
If you’re looking for a solar inverter that will provide maximum performance for your PV system, then you definitely need an MPPT. Whether you need this technology or not depends heavily on your system and your budget, though, as the solar inverter MMPT price is usually higher than that of PWM.
On the other hand, smaller solar systems (less than 150W) may just do well with PWM, since there will be no power losses and the higher cost of MPPT won’t provide much benefit. PWM technology may also be sufficient in high temperatures, since the voltages are lower. Other than that, MPPT fits the needs of many users today.
The solar MPPT inverter is a smart way to get the most power out of your PV array. This technology is able to extract maximum power from your panels, resulting in a more efficient system overall. Given the role that inverters play in a solar system, it’s only advisable to buy one that will give you the best results. If you’re installing a PV system, you may want to consider an MPPT solar inverter to get the most out of your investment.