Updated: Jul 7, 2020
A power inverter or inverter is an electronic appliance that converts DC (direct current) electricity from sources such as batteries or solar cells to AC (alternate current) electricity for use in appliances. An inverter can be constructed to draw its DC electricity from batteries or from solar panels.
The idea behind solar generators and portable inverters is to have a full solar and battery inverter system, that is, appliances that perform the above functions, in the form of a standby generator. Standby generators are something every Nigerian, both the rich and poor, is well acquainted with. And for obvious reasons too. Keeping that in mind, the relationship between the conventional fuel generators and the inverter generator can be easily made.
They require no installation costs or spaces.
They do not emit any fumes.
They are far easier to use than conventional generators.
Though not entirely noiseless, they make far less noise than traditional generators. Some are actually entirely noiseless.
They can be moved around which makes storage easier and removes concerns about their security or harsh working environment.
Solar generators will still need solar panels and those come as part of the generator.
Portable inverters need batteries and those too will come installed in the generator.
They produce in the safer pure sine waveform. Conventional generators hook their AC alternators directly to the load, without any processing. Inverter generators convert the AC output to DC and back to AC, producing much cleaner, stabler and higher-quality power than conventional units. And eliminating potential shocks and damage to appliances.
They are designed to be more aesthetically-pleasing that conventional generators.
Like most inverters, they come with control panels which include a display that allows voltage output, frequency and hours of operation to be monitored. Some also include LEDs that warn of over-load conditions.
Some models come with controls that allows the user to switch from automatic power saving to a power-boost mode when short surges of power are required.
Weight and size depend largely upon watt output.
Some come with wheels for easy movement.
Many inverter generators can be paired with another identical unit to double your power capacity. This type of parallel capability means that two smaller, lighter generators can be used to provide the same wattage and amperage of one much larger generator – without sacrificing all the benefits of the smaller, lighter, quieter, more portable inverter units.
Some units include a battery-charging cable, a spark plug wrench and a generator cover.
Some have USB outputs for phone chargers alongside normal sockets.
Many inverter models have an economy mode that will ask less power from the unit when it is not needed thereby reducing the fuel used even more.
The major downside of solar generators and inverter generators is that they are very expensive. However, if the operating costs, that is the costs of fuel and diesel, and maintenance fees, are factored in over a long period of time, portable inverter and solar generators can help users save up to 40% of the total costs. Read our article on this subject here. But this makes them largely financially unattractive as most users would prefer to spread the operating costs over a long period of time. Also, they cannot be easily upgraded as installed inverters with either the addition or a new component, except in rare cases.
Inverter generators are a relatively recent development, made possible by advanced electronic circuitry and high-tech magnets. Nevertheless, alongside solar generators which have been around for a while, they are are making inroads into the Nigerian market. One of the many ways solar generators have reached us is the small solar chargers for torch lights, phones and lamps that are sold in the market. Also, during the elections, INEC uses portable inverters for their computers at the polling stations.
Our engineers can help you choose an inverter generator according to your needs and of course, budget.