The inverter is one of the most important and most complex components of an independent system. Luckily, you don’t have to understand the inner workings of an inverter, but you should understand some basic functions, capabilities and limitations.

This buying guide gives you the basic information so that you can choose the right inverter, and use it wisely.

Why You Need an Inverter

An independent electric power system is one that is untethered from the electrical utility grid. Such systems vary in size from tiny yard lights to remote site homes, villages, national parks, or medical and military facilities. They also include mobile, portable, and emergency backup systems. Their common bond is the storage battery, which absorbs and releases power in the form of direct current (DC). In contrast, the utility grid supplies consumers with alternating current (AC) power. AC is the standard form of electricity for anything that “plugs in” to utility power (it is more practical for long distance transmission).

The inverter converts DC power to AC power, and also changes the voltage. In other words, it is a power adapter. It can allow a battery-based independent power system to run conventional appliances through conventional home wiring. There are many ways to use DC power directly, but if your electrical needs are beyond the simplest “cabin” level, you will need an inverter for many, if not all, of your loads (devices that use power).

DC flows in a single direction. AC alternates its direction many times per second. The standard DC voltages for home- size systems are 12, 24 and 48 volts. The standard for AC utility service in USA is 120 and 240 volts at 60 Hertz (cycles per second). In Europe and some countries in Latin America, Asia and Africa, it’s 220V or 230V at 50 Hertz. The inverter is used to reconcile these differences.

An Inverter is Not a Simple Device

Outwardly, an inverter looks like a box with one or two switches on it, but inside is a small universe of dynamic activity. A modern home inverter must cope with input voltage that varies as much as 35% (with varying battery state and activity), and also with huge variations in output demand (from a single night-light to a big surge required to start a well pump or a power tool). Through all, it must regulate its output quality within narrow constraints, with a minimum of power loss. This is no easy task. In addition, some inverters provide battery backup charging, and can even feed excess power into the grid.

What to Consider When Comparing Inverters Before Purchasing

Where is the Inverter to be Used?

Home – directly tied to the utility grid (grid-tie inverter)

Cabin – standalone, completely off grid (off-grid inverter)

Backup/emergency backup (hybrid inverter)

Recreational vehicle

Marine (marine inverter)


Electrical Standards

DC input voltage

AC output voltage and frequency

Power capacity (Watts) – How much power can the inverter put out?

Continuous rating

Limited duration ratings

Surge rating (for starting motors/pumps)

Expandability (modularity, stackability)

Power quality (waveform)

Some inverters produce “cleaner” power than others.

Pure sine wave inverters

Ideal, smoothly alternating AC (like swing of a pendulum)

Equivalent (or superior) to grid power relatively expensive

Modified sine wave inverters

Inferior waveform, choppy alternation (like pendulum forced by hammers)


Adequate for many homes with simple needs, but about 5% of loads malfunction

May confuse digital timing devices in some appliances

May overheat power converters in some appliances/computers

May overheat surge protectors (don’t use them) causes some devices to buzz (some fluorescent lights, ceiling fans, transformers)

Reduces energy efficiency of motors and transformers by 10% or more, causes motors and transformers to run hotter

Generally reduces the reliability of appliances

Internal protection – How much abuse can it tolerate?

Overload and surge protection

Low voltage shutoff

Inductive load capability – Some loads accept the AC wave with a slight time delay. These are call inductive loads. Motors are the most severely inductive loads.

Starting large motors (well pump, washing machine, power tools, etc.)

Inverters’ Physical Attributes

There are two ways that inverters are built:

Transformer type inverters

Heavy, expensive

High surge capacity

Historically the most reliable

Makes buzzing noise

High frequency switching type inverters

Light weight, inexpensive

Less reliable in cases of cheap consumer units

No audible buzz

Inverter Efficiency

It is not possible to convert power without losing some of it (think of “friction”). Efficiency is the ratio of power out to power in, expressed as a percent. If the efficiency is 90%, that means 10% of the power is lost in the inverter. Lost power manifests as heat. Efficiency of an inverter varies with the load. Typically, it will be highest at about 2/3 of the inverter’s capacity. This is called its “peak efficiency”. The inverter requires some power just to run itself, so the efficiency of a large inverter may be low when running very small loads.

In a typical home, there are many hours of the day when electrical load is very low. Under these conditions, an inverter’s efficiency may be around 50% or far lower. The full story is told by a graph of efficiency vs. load, as published by the inverter manufacturer. This is called the “efficiency curve”. Watch out. Some manufacturers cheat by drawing the curve only down to 100 Watts or so, not down to zero!

Because the efficiency varies with load, don’t assume that an inverter with 93% peak efficiency is better than one with 85% peak efficiency. The 85% efficient unit may be more efficient at low power levels, for example.

Automatic on/off

As stated above, an inverter takes some power just to run itself. This “idling” can be a substantial load on a small power system. Cheap portable inverters usually have a manual on/off switch. If you forget to turn the inverter off, you may surprised by a discharged battery bank after a few days. Most inverters made for home power systems have an automatic load-sensing system. The inverter puts out a brief pulse of power about every second (more or less). When you switch on an AC load, it senses the current draw and turns itself on. Manufacturers have various names for this feature, like “load demand”, “sleep mode”, “power saver”, or “standby”.

This feature can make life a bit awkward because a tiny load may not trigger the inverter to turn on. For example, you start your washing machine and after the first cycle, it pauses with only the timer running. The timer may draw less than 10 Watts.

The inverter’s turn-on “threshold” may be 10 or 15 Watts. The inverter shuts off and doesn’t come back on until it sees additional load from some other appliance. Some people solve this problem by leaving a small light on while running the washer.

Some system users cannot adapt to this situation. Therefore, inverters with automatic on/off also have an “always on” setting. That way, you can run your low- power night lights (they won’t flash on/off) and your clocks and other tiny loads without losing continuity. A good system designer will then add the inverter’s idle current into the load calculation (24 hours per day), and the cost of the power system will be correspondingly higher.

Battery Charging Features

Some inverters have a built-in battery charger that will recharge the battery bank whenever power is applied from an AC generator or from the utility grid (if the batteries are not already charged). This function is essential to most renewable energy systems because there are likely to be occasions when the energy supply is insufficient. It also makes an inverter into a complete emergency backup system for on-grid power needs (just add batteries).

Here is a list of specifications that relate to battery charger function:

Maximum charging rate (amps)

Generator size and voltage requirements

Charge control features, including accommodation of different battery types (flooded or sealed), temperature compensation, and other refinements

Be careful when sizing a generator to meet the requirements of an inverter/charger. Some inverters require that the generator be oversized. Be sure to get experienced advice on this, or you may be disappointed by the result.

Expansion Options

Some inverters can be “stacked” to expand a system’s capacity.

Laboratory Certification

Inverters should be certified by an independent testing laboratory such as UL, ETL, CSA, etc., and stamped accordingly. There are different design and rating standards for various applications, such as use in buildings, vehicles, boats, etc. These also vary from one nation to another. An inverter used for a home power system must be appropriately rated for the system to pass an electrical inspection.

Phantom Loads

High tech consumers are stuck with gadgets that draw power all of the time that they are plugged in. These little demons are called “phantom loads” because their power draw is unexpected, unseen, and easily forgotten. An example is a TV with remote control. Its electric eye is on all the time, watching for your signal to turn the screen on. Other examples include any devices with an external wall-plug transformer or a built-in clock, plus smoke detectors, alarm systems, motion detector lights, fax machines, answering machines, and all cordless (rechargeable) appliances. Central heating systems have a transformer in their thermostat circuit that stays on all the time. How many phantom loads do you have?

There are several ways to cope with phantom loads. (1) You can avoid them (easy for a small cabin or other simple- living situation). (2) You can minimize their presence and disconnect them when not needed, using external switches. (3) You can work around them by modifying certain equipment to shut off completely. (4) You can substitute devices that use DC power instead of AC. (5) You can pay the additional cost for a large enough power system to handle the extra loads plus the inverter’s idle current (often over $1000 added). Be very careful and honest when considering avoiding all phantom loads.

You cannot always anticipate future needs or human behavior. All it takes is one phantom load to mess up your perfect plan.

Powering a Water Well or Pressure Pump

At a remote site, a water supply pump is often the largest electrical load. It warrants special consideration for several reasons. (1) Most pumps draw a very high surge of current during startup. The inverter must have sufficient surge capacity to handle it while running any other loads that may be on. (2) Most pumps are used for automatic pressurizing. In that case, the pump will start unexpectedly, several times per day. (3) In North America, most pumps (especially submersibles) run on 230 volt power while smaller appliances and lights use the 115 volt standard. (4) AC water pumps are not very energy-efficient.

The power system (as well as the inverter) may need to be substantially larger to handle the load.

It is important to size an inverter sufficiently, especially to handle the starting surge. Oversize it still further if you want it to start the pump without causing lights to dim or blink. Ask us for help doing this because inverter manufacturers have not been supplying sufficient data for sizing in relation to pumps. To obtain 230 volts from a 115 volt inverter, either use two inverters “stacked” (if they are designed for that) or use a transformer to step up the voltage. (The pressure switch should be wired in before the transformer, so the transformer will not be a phantom load.)

As an alternative, you may consider using a DC powered pump. It will be completely independent from the inverter. Efficient DC pumps have been developed especially for renewable energy systems. They can pump water using 1/3 to 1/2 the energy of an AC pump. DC pumps are specialized and therefore more expensive than AC pumps, but an extra $1000 spent on a DC pump can save $2000 in total system cost.

Inverter Quality – You Get What You Pay For

A good inverter is reliable and able to handle a wide variety of loads without wasting lots of energy. It is well protected from surges from nearby lightning and static, and from surges that bounce back from motors under overload conditions. A good inverter is an industrial quality device that is proven and certified for safety, and can last for decades. A cheap inverter may soon end up in the junk pile, and can even be a fire hazard. Consider an inverter to be a foundation component. Buy a good one that allows for future expansion of your needs.


Pumped hydro dams are prominently used as energy storage in East Africa, but that is changing with the increase in renewable energy and battery energy storage systems. The Eastern Africa countries have announced a total of more than 2,000 MW in new solar PV and wind power projects over the next three years. Battery systems in both Front Of The Meter (FOTM) and Behind The Meter (BTM) applications provide for energy access leading to rural electrification, diesel generator replacement, and support grid systems.


Countries such as Libya, Egypt, Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda are in Eastern Africa Power Pool (EAPP). In East Africa, pumped hydro dams are usually the main source of energy storage. In essence, a scan across most countries in the region shows that reliance on hydroelectricity is significant. Lately, other sources of generation, namely wind and solar, are starting to be built at utility-scale, and that has driven the conversation towards deployment of battery energy storage. This storage interest is particularly strong in Kenya, where variable renewable energy generation now accounts for 14% of installed generation capacity.

The Eastern Africa countries have announced more than 2,000 MW in new solar PV and wind power projects. These new projects are estimated to start online over the next three years. On the commercial and industrial front, Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) technologies have made headway, especially in both Front Of The Meter (FOTM) and Behind The Meter (BTM) applications.

The use cases lend themselves to three broad categories:

Energy Access Projects / Rural Electrification

Diesel Abatement / Replacement

Weak Grid Mitigation.

Energy access / Rural electrification

Various rural electrification programs and private sector-led investments across Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ethiopia, South Sudan have deployed dozens of hybrid micro-grids (solar plus BESS plus generator). These represent the most common and only FOTM BESS applications in the region. Lead-acid batteries have dominated the market space due to lower capital expenditures (Capex), but Lithium BESS installations are making their mark.

Energy access projects are designed to provide towns and villages with reliable and cost-effective renewable energy, often displacing diesel generators and the darkness.

Some projects include:

A 2.3 MWh BESS coupled with a 450KWp solar PV site in Eritrea

A 1.9 MWh BESS coupled with a 400KWp solar PV at another site in Eritrea

A 2 MWh BESS coupled with a 1.5MWp solar PV site in DRC

Ethiopian Government pilot program with 6.5 MWh of BESS spread across 12 rural electrification sites

Kenyan Government pilot program with 11.2 MWh of BESS spread across 7 rural electrification sites.

Diesel abatement

This market segment has seen several hybrid mini-grids deployed to supplant thermal generation as the primary power source in commercial facilities that are situated away from the reach of the main grid. With the prices of the primary fuel source, diesel in the region of USD $1.00/liter, which translates into a Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) of USD $0.35/kWh, a combined solar + BESS LCOE in the region of USD $0.18-$0.25 has proven very competitive. Adoption has, however, been slowed down by the high initial Capex associated with switching. More is needed to provide well-matched financing to spur uptake.

Notable diesel abatement projects include:

A 1.3MWh BESS paired with a 660KWp at a game lodge in Kenya

A 500kWh BESS at an off-grid lodge in Tanzania

A 700kWh BESS at an office complex in South Sudan

Weak grid mitigation

In industrial hubs, most activity in Eastern Africa is concentrated, which is well supplied by the national grid. However, you do come across agricultural-processing facilities that are located relatively far from these industrial parks. Often, they happen to be situated at the end of a long distribution line with brownouts. Brownouts are voltage and frequency fluctuations leading to equipment at the factory sites being damaged or rendered unusable. By combining on-site generation (Solar PV) and BESS, grid-interactive mini-grids solve the brownouts problem. The advanced BESS controls enable these sites to monitor grid conditions and island the site when there is a grid outage or severe deterioration on power quality.

A notable weak grid mitigation project is a 4 MWh BESS co-located with a 1.5MW Solar PV + grid at a Tea Plantation and factory in Kenya.

Lithium-ion batteries (LIB) batteries were initially made for use in laptops, cell phones, and other consumer electronics but they have grown to become a major battery technology for power storage systems. In addition, they have become the most common battery type in modern electric cars.

Batteries play the same role in inverter and solar systems, namely, they provide the DC that is to be converted to AC by the inverter for use in appliances. Lithium-ion also store energy produced from solar panels for later use. All batteries have essentially the same components: electrolytes, positive and negative terminals, and separators integrated into ‘cells’.

Everything To Know About Batteries Inverter 

These components are often differentiated based on the nature of the material from which they are made. The most important and definitive component of all batteries, the electrolytes, may be in liquid form as in lead-acid batteries or in the semi-solid gel form. In the case of LIB, lithium salts dissolved in an organic solvent are used. Also, there may be variances in the type of electrodes or terminals. For LIB, the positive electrode is a metal oxide, and the electrolyte is a lithium salt in an organic solvent. (Water is not used as a solvent as lithium reacts vigorously with water.)

The most popular negative electrode used in the manufacture of LIB is graphite.

The positive electrode is generally one of the three-layered materials of lithium salts. Recently, graphene-containing electrodes (based on 2D and 3D structures of graphene) have also been used as components of electrodes for lithium batteries.

The electrolyte is typically a mixture of organic carbonates containing mixtures of lithium salts. A modified variant of Li-ion batteries, the lithium polymer battery, or more correctly lithium-ion polymer battery (abbreviated as LiPo, LIP, Li-poly, lithium-poly, and others), uses a polymer electrolyte instead of a liquid electrolyte.

Advantages of lithium-ion
  1. Their main attraction is that they do not require constant maintenance. They are a type of sealed maintenance-free battery types.
  2. Also, they weigh far less than other types of rechargeable batteries of the same size and output capacities. The reason is that the electrodes of a lithium-ion battery are made of lightweight materials. It takes up less space and is thus more suitable when there are space considerations.
  3. They do not have to completely discharge before recharging, as with some other battery technologies. They have a very much longer life than other battery types.
  4. Comparatively, Li-ion batteries charge extremely faster than other rechargeable batteries. The reason why lead-acid batteries require a three-stage charging profile where each stage progressively lowers the charge current and can be bulk-charged up to 80%, then absorption-charged from 80% to about 95%, and then float-charged to 100%. Li-ion batteries however do not have such a similar three-stage charging and can be bulk-charged all the way up to 100%.
  1. Li-ion batteries can withstand very rugged power conditions than other types of batteries. They can supply electricity to very high-power appliances.
  2. Under the same conditions, LIB is far more efficient than lead-acid batteries. Lead-acid batteries only have a charge efficiency of 85%. This means that for every 1A sent to the batteries, only .85A are store for use. Lithium batteries however have a charge efficiency of 99% so nearly every amp sent to them is store and usable. Therefore, a lead-acid battery bank will require a 15% larger – and more expensive – solar array to charge it as fast as a comparably sized lithium battery bank.
  3. The lifespan of lithium batteries is significantly higher than that of normal lead-acid batteries! Some manufacturers warranty their Li-ion batteries to last 10,000 cycles. Most lead-acid batteries are only rated for 400 cycles or less. This means li-ion batteries will last ten times longer than their lead-acid The lifespan of lithium batteries is significantly higher than that of normal lead-acid batteries! Some manufacturers warranty their Li-ion batteries to last 10,000 cycles. Most lead-acid batteries are only rated for 400 cycles or less. This means li-ion batteries will last ten times longer than their lead-acid
Disadvantages of lithium-ion
  1. The single most important disadvantage of LIB is its cost. They cost up to three times the cost of conventional batteries per Ah.
  2. They are extremely sensitive to high temperatures. Heat causes lithium-ion battery packs to degrade much faster than they normally would.
  3. They have a very low shelf life thus when in storage, they have to be recharged from time to time. Also, they have to be stored under temperatures lower than 40 degrees. (The shelf life of a battery is the time an inactive battery can be stored before it becomes unusable. It is usually considered as having only 80% of its initial capacity. The conditions under which a battery is stored either by the dealer or the user will determine its shelf life and in turn, eventual lifespan.
  1. Again, if lithium-ion completely discharges, it will be permanently damaged. Typically, this is accounted for as many inverters will automatically shut down when their batteries are being discharged below their depth of discharge because the batteries may be permanently damaged if fully discharged.
  2. They require an onboard protection circuit to maintain the battery voltage. This makes them even more expensive than they already are because of their manufacturing costs. The goal of the protection circuit is to limit the peak voltage of each cell during charge and prevent the cell voltage from dropping too low on discharge. In addition, it helps to monitor the cell temperature to prevent temperature extremes. With these precautions in place, the possibility of metallic lithium plating occurring due to overcharge is virtually eliminated.
  3. There is a small chance that, if a lithium-ion battery pack fails, it will burst into flame.
  4. There are often transportation restrictions on the shipment of larger quantities. (This restriction does not apply to personal carry-on batteries.)


Recently, more homeowners are opting for the installation of solar power systems (also known as the solar panel system) in their homes. Unlike in the past decades when there was much dependence on primary sources of energy like coal, natural gas, and nuclear energy as the major source of electricity. Technology has evolved in recent years with even better alternatives and one of these alternatives is solar power systems.

The solar power system offers an excellent way of harnessing solar energy and then transforming it into electrical energy, which we use mostly at home. There are different benefits of installing the solar panel kit for home and one of such benefits is that it saves you enormously on your power bills.

Harnessing solar energy seems to be the future of energy in the few years to come as it has witnessed much growth across different regions of the world such as China, Europe, North America, and even India. Some regions such as Africa and Nigeria, in particular, are yet to embrace fully this innovative approach to generate energy for use in the home.

The idea behind the use of the solar panel system is that homes reduce their cost of energy, save more, and maximize their carbon footprint as well. Personally, I would say there is no better way of generating efficient energy for your home than the use of the solar panel system.

What is a solar power system?

The solar power system consists of the solar panel kit which is mounted on the roof of a building. It traps the energy-packed photons from the sunlight and converts them into a usable form of energy. They are also simply referred to as “PV”.

When you install the solar panel kit for home. You have done a great job of reducing your dependence on the local community power grid. This means you can now utilize the solar panel kit to generate the electricity needed to light, cool, heat, and operate your home.

The summary is that you will get a clean, renewable source of energy, which requires little or no maintenance. Also, you will get the profits from this investment over a span of a few years. Some solar systems come with as much as 25 years warranty and this means you get free energy for more than 2 decades.

What constitutes the solar panel kit for the home?

You need to understand that the solar power system consists of different components, which are coupled to generate electricity. These components will cause the conversion of power into alternating current. Which can be used for powering home appliances, maintaining safety at home, and even storing excess energy.
Here the very important components of the solar power system.

Solar Panels

These very significant components are noticeable in the solar panel kit for the home. They are typically installed on the roof where they can have easy access to the sunlight converting it into electrical energy via the photovoltaic effect. This is how it got its alternative name, “PV panels”.

Solar panel outputs are rated in Watts and delivers between 10 to 300watts per panel. There are majorly two types of solar panels that are ideal for residential home installation- the monocrystalline and the polycrystalline. While both are well suitable for the home, the monocrystalline panel is a bit more efficient and expensive than later.

Solar Inverter

Solar inverters offer a means of converting the Direct Currents generated by the solar panels into the Alternating Current required in powering the home. They are of three types- micro-inverters, centralized or string inverters, and power optimizers.
Just by discussing what you want and of course, assessing your home. I would tell you the ideal type to install in your home.

Solar Array Mounting Racks

Solar panels are coupled into arrays and then mounted either on the roof, directly into the ground, or on poles. It is more common to come across roof-mounted systems as this seems to be more efficient and better aesthetically. If the roof is too high, there might be an issue with maintenance here.

However, you do not have to worry much about that, as panels don’t usually require much maintenance.
If you prefer your panels mounted on a freestanding pole, that is still okay. I could do the installation such that its height cant affect the maintenance if the need arises. Remember that mounting an array on the ground isn’t ideal for areas that accumulate snow regularly.

Mounts are either tracking or fixed irrespective of where you mount the arrays. Tracking arrays move to adjust their angles as the sun moves.

Array DC Disconnect

This device comes into play when you want to run maintenance on the solar arrays. The solar arrays produce DC power and with the array DC disconnect, you can get it disconnected from the home.

Solar Performance Monitor

The monitoring system functions to verify the performance of your home solar system. While the system shows you how much electricity is produced per hour. It goes ahead to identify potential changes in performance.

Solar Storage Bank

The solar power kit for home produces electricity when the sun is shining during the daytime. However, your home will still need electricity at night or even on cloudy and rainy days when the sun is not shining. This is when you need to add a battery pack to your panel system in order to offset that mismatch.

Circuit breaker/Breaker Panel

The power source which connects the electrical circuits in the house is what we call a breaker panel. While a circuit is a continuous pathway that connects all lights and outlets in the electric system.

There is a circuit breaker for each circuit and the work of the circuit breaker is to prevent an unfortunate occurrence such as fire hazard as a result of excessive drawing in of electricity. The circuit breaker does this by tripping off each time the circuit demands much electricity thus, interrupting the flow of current through the circuit.

Benefits of Solar Panel kit for Home

Solar energy is renewable. It is sustainable and is simply inexhaustible. As people have realized the benefits of the solar power system, most people nowadays are opting for it. The good news is that I have a versed knowledge of this system and can have it installed efficiently and at an affordable rate.

Now, what do you stand to gain when you have the solar panel system installed in your home?

It saves cost

This is the number one reason why people opt for solar energy in the home but there is more to it. It offers a great opportunity for people looking to reduce their monthly electricity bills and to go into a longer duration investment with low risk.

You should, however, know that the savings you will get from going solar will depend on certain factors like the amount of energy you consume, the size of the solar energy system, the angle and size of your roof, the local electricity charge rates as well as the number of hours of direct daily sunlight.

Solar Power System Works Everywhere

Solar panel system works almost everywhere in the world. It is surprising to know that even some regions of the world like Alaska and the Pacific Northwest with relatively low solar resources still get to benefit and save some cost using solar energy.

How much more countries like Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, etc. are located in the tropical sub-Saharan region? These countries could boast of good-to-excellent solar resources and should do well to harness the resource they have.

It Increases Your Home Value

Increase the value of your home by installing the solar panel kit for your home. This is like an upgrade to your home. Maybe you don’t know this but studies have shown that homeowners pay even higher rents for a home with a solar power system.

According to a study carried out by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. It revealed that the solar system on average increased the value of a home by as much as $15,000. This also means that homes with solar installed systems have the tendency of selling more than homes that do not have PV.

It Has Positive Environmental Impact

It is high time we think about our environment as well. We feel the impact of the environment directly or indirectly. The use of fuel, coal, etc. as a source of energy has over the years created much greenhouse effect which has accumulated and has been causing more harm than good to the environment.

Using the solar power system offers an excellent remedy to this. Asides the fact that using the solar-generated electricity doesn’t cause pollution of air, it also reduces greenhouse gas emissions like CO2. It also prevents excessive pollution of air by major pollutants like nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides. It also reduces the need to consume more water.

if you are using an inverter set then I am sure you are already seeing its benefits. One challenge you are probably already facing is your battery backup time not lasting as long as you would really like it to.

Your battery bank is measured in AH (with a voltage rating too) and determines how long your inverter can power its current load. It is important you do not mix this up with your inverter’s kVA rating. To help you understand the difference easily,

Inverter kVA rating determines how many appliances you can power at a time
Battery AH rating determines how long your inverter can sustain your current load (appliances you have on)




Unless your batteries are damaged, there are some techniques you could employ to significantly increase your backup time (how long the battery powers your appliances before it goes flat).

Integrate a battery equalizer

Uneven charging and discharging are reasons why you might not be getting the most out of your batteries. When you have batteries connected in series and any charges to 100%, all others stop charging even if they are just about 70% charged. When discharging, if any goes flat then all others too stop discharging even if they are still at about 70%.

This uneven charging and discharging is because of the batteries not being 100% identical (even if they are of the same brand and specs) and it builds up over time. This not only cheats you out of battery time but also could cause the batteries to wear easily due to over-charging and over-discharging

What a battery equalizer (Battery Management System) does is to ensure that the batteries are charging and discharging at the same rate so you have optimal charging and discharging.


Know how to read your current battery level

In business, they say “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it” The same applies to your battery bank. If you do not know how to tell what your current battery level is then how do you know when it is time to put off heavy appliances to save power? The battery level is hinted on the Inverter’s monitor but you will have to wait to see it because lots of other info are displayed at intervals.

Some inverters display battery bars while others only show current battery voltage. For such inverters, you take note of the battery voltage when fully charged (this will be indicated with a Battery Fully Charged message) and when empty (the inverter emits a steady beep to indicate). This way, you know your battery level at any given time and can adjust your usage accordingly.

Switch to energy saving appliances

One way to boost your battery time is to avoid running heavy appliances on the inverter (at least not for long). Your Home Theater system alone could be hogging 360 – 1,200 Watts, which is huge!

Reducing the number of appliances you have on at a time is not all, you should go the extra mile to switch to energy saving appliances.

Instead of those 60 – 100 W bulb (that cause your house to feel hot), switch to 3 – 12 W energy saving bulbs. I agree they are more expensive but the extra battery time you will get would mean less money spent on Fuel + Generator maintenance over months. When shopping for ceiling fans, ask for very good light-coiled fans. Energy saving refrigerators and deep freezers, energy saving everything!

Concentrate activities that require power

Having a routine helps you utilize your battery backup time effectively. From experience, I have learnt that I tend to be careless with my power usage when I do not have a schedule for when the inverter should come on and for how long. For example, you watching your favorite TV show only to realize you had not been charging your phone just when you are about to power off the inverter. Now, chances are that the fan or other appliances were on while watching TV. Leaving the inverter on just because you want to charge your phone means the fan and some other appliances will stay on longer which translates to more battery consumption.

Upgrade your battery bank

Upgrading your battery bank is another way to extend your battery time. This is a costly approach but sometimes, your battery bank just is not enough. You do not necessarily have to change your entire setup or discard your current batteries, just add more batteries. The number and specs of the batteries you will need to buy depends on the specs of your current setup and what you really wish to achieve. I will give an example:

Let us say I have a 2.5 kVA; 24V inverter. This means the battery bank must equal 24V no matter how many batteries I connect. Let us say I opt for 12V 100AH batteries. I would need at least 2 connected in series so that it equals 24V (12+12).

Now, if I wish to upgrade by battery bank; I will have two main options

Buy another 2-100AH 12V battery so I have 4 100AH batteries in all

Discard my 2 100 AH 12V batteries and buy 2 200 AH 12V batteries

As you can see, upgrading my battery bank depends on my preference, I might not want to sell or give away my 100 AH batteries so I buy more and get a 4-battery rack. I might – on the other hand – not like the clutter of many batteries and opt for fewer, more powerful batteries.


Apart from extending your battery backup time, you should also take good care of your batteries so they last longer and here are some tips:

Ensure to use the rubber battery terminal protectors to avoid dust and rusting of the terminals

Ensure your inverter setup is in a well-ventilated area to prevent heat from damaging the batteries.

Avoid overcharging and deep discharging (using the battery until empty). Go for an inverter that automatically protects your batteries against these.

Avoid leaving the battery idle for a long period without any form of charge or discharge activity.