Choosing A Battery Inverter For Off-Grid Living

See inside the Australian factory producing what’s widely regarded as the world’s best off-grid inverters – Selectronic – and pick up some valuable tips on battery inverter selection.

This segment is from SolarQuotes TV Episode 9; showcasing some of the best examples of off-grid living in Australia – and the solar, battery and other hardware making a comfortable life without a mains grid connection possible.

Transcript begins —

Finn: Now, keeping up the theme from recent weeks, I’m handling over the Solar Tech segment to a pioneering Aussie company that just happens to make what many regard, including me, as the world’s best off-grid inverter. Over to you Lindsay Hart from Selectronic.

Lindsay: Selectronic build battery inverters right here in Melbourne. We did our first inverter in 1980, and I’ve lived off the grid since 1994. So, I guess that makes me a solar nerd.

We empower people’s lives using our SP Pro battery inverter, which can invert DC to AC, control solar output, battery current and even control an auto-start generator if needed. Our technology can work on the grid or off the grid.

Today we’ll concentrate off the grid.

Now, off-grid systems – it’s an essential service. Do it properly, please. These inverters are bi-directional and have full control over real and reactive current. You add this to the fact that we use a 50 Hertz transformer and they give you a very robust inverter for off-grid.

Here’s a couple of things you’ve got to think about though.

Electrical loads are often complex: resistive, inductive, high inrush requirements.

It’s important you understand the continuous output of your inverter. Don’t be misled by 30-minute ratings or VA ratings. Look for true continuous output power 24/7, then go a step further and look at the continuous charging current of the unit.

Then have a look at the peak outputs that it can handle. Will it start that welder? Will it start that big aircon unit? You’ve got to think about these things for off-grid.

Now, for example, this inverter here is seven and a half kilowatts continuous output power; 11.25 for 30 minutes, and a huge 18 kilowatts peak output for 30 seconds.

It’s Not Just The Inverter – Can The Battery Cope?

Lindsay: Really important as well is that you make sure the battery can actually supply the current that these big inverter outputs need. This has been a common mistake of last two to three years with some of the new modern batteries being deployed.

Now, being a bi-directional inverter, it means we can take power from the battery, excess power from AC coupled solar and power from the generator. AC coupled solar is really good where you’ve got high daytime loads, very efficient, or you can use DC coupled solar, where you might have more night-time loads.

By the way, my off- grid home is running all the modern appliances: swimming pool, a gas heated spa, heat pump for hot water, rehearsal studio and  everything you’d expect to see in a normal home. And for 27 years, I’ve not had a problem. Sure, the system has grown, but it still has never let me down.

— Transcript ends

Selectronic was established in 1964, originally producing custom made inductors and transformers for the local electronics market. The company has been around for around 57 years and is thriving in what’s become an increasingly competitive environment, which says a lot about the quality of its products.

Selectronic’s manufacturing facility and headquarters are located in Wantirna in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs. You can learn more about the company and read Australian customer Selectronic inverter reviews here.

View other great stories on off-grid living in Australia in SolarQuotes TV Episode 9. For more SQTV episodes and other interesting videos on solar power and battery storage, check out SolarQuotes’ Youtube channel!

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

Comments

  1. Peter Treyde says

    These are great inverters. We have a three phase off grid system which uses them. They have been completely reliable.

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