Solar powered inverters and hybrid inverters are currently popular in the market.Typically, these are in the 500 VA to 2000 VA (2 kVA) range
By Kartiki Negi
Thursday, July 31, 2014: A wide range of home/office inverters are available in the market today, the result of constantly evolving new technologies. While household customers usually want inverters with a capacity of 150 VA to 2000 VA (2 kVA), in offices, the preference is for inverters in the 800 VA to 2kVA range. These inverters come in pure sine wave, square wave and quasi sine wave. The latest versions come with digital signal processing (DSP) technology, which is the advanced version of the microcontroller based technology. It helps to enhance accuracy, efficiency and protection levels.
The latest entry into the market is the solar powered inverter, which reduces the dependence on mains power, making the product energy and cost efficient. Inverters with multiple battery charging modes and the option to select the type of battery are most popular today.
Another current trend is that UPS systems and inverters are getting merged, eliminating the need for two separate power backup units for powering home and office appliances or IT equipment. Let’s review some of the new entrants in the market and the technological advancements they feature.
Solar powered inverters
Launched in December 2013, Genus Power Infrastructures offers solar hybrid inverters ranging from 600 VA to 5 kVA. These are integrated with an in-built 10-20 Amp solar charge controller that enables the conversion of solar energy to electricity. “This hybrid inverter ensures maximum use of solar power, resulting in reduced electricity bills and increased energy efficiency. The inverter is also suitable for small and medium business and commercial establishments,” says Rajiv Satoor, president, Genus Power Infrastructures Ltd.
Today, most of the home/office inverters are based on digital signal processing (DSP) technology, which increases efficiency and density and improves total harmonic distortion. Genus Power Infrastructures’ solar hybrid inverter is also based on DSP technology.
This solar hybrid inverter also has auto sense intelligent control circuit (ASIC) technology, which protects the battery and smartly regulates the charging current, leading to longer life of the battery.
Launched in November 2013, upsINVERTER.com’s Sun Pack home/office inverter uses both solar power and grid power to charge the batteries. However, solar power is the first priority while charging and discharging. “It depends on how customers want to use this inverter– either as a solar home inverter or as a conventional one. This inverter comes at a low price in comparison to other brands,” says Yogesh Dua, director, upsINVERTER.com.
Convergence Power Systems Pvt Ltd launched the CPS Hybyx, a solar hybrid home/office inverter, in October 2013. It can be used for domestic and SOHO applications like lighting, fans, computers, etc.
CPS Hybyx is also a DSP-controlled pure sine wave inverter, equipped with a maximum power point tracking (MPPT) charge controller along with a grid charging system. “The built-in, MPPT solar charge controller enables maximum usage of solar energy,” says Sreekumar, director-sales and marketing, Convergence Power Systems Pvt Ltd.
Sine wave inverters
Su-Kam Power Systems Ltd launched the Falcon +1050 VA sine wave inverter in March 2014. It sports a contemporary design that matches with the aesthetics of a home. A user-friendly display maks it easy for the user to understand the parameters like battery charge level, room temperature, etc. “Falcon comes with the latest function of multiple battery charging options. Its application areas include lights, fans, TVs, computers, etc,” says P K Jain, associate vice president, Knowledge Center, Su-Kam Power Systems Ltd.
Falcon+ is equipped with automatic temperature compensation (ATC) technology, which can sense temperature around and accordingly optimise the battery charging function. “This feature helps to enhance the battery life and also increases the battery backup time,” adds P K Jain.
Microtek International’s latest launch in January 2014 is an inverter-cum-UPS hybrid series, which is a combination of both digital and sine wave inverters. Ranging from 725 VA to 1650 VA, it comes with a switch to select the battery type and works with all the types of batteries available in the market. “It has a switch to select the speed of charging current—standard (10 A) and fast charging (14 A). This keeps the battery ready for frequent emergencies. It also ensures noiseless performance and quick charging, and enables higher load, longer battery life and longer backups,” says Manoj Jain, VP, Microtek International Pvt Ltd.
This hybrid inverter is based on intelligent power saving technology, which makes the product more energy efficient. “With the use of more high-grade components, this inverter saves a lot of electricity compared to other inverters. This technology makes the inverter cost effective and buyers can recover their cost within a span of three years,” says Manoj Jain. This inverter also uses intelli battery gravity management (IBGM) technology that increases battery life and performance by maintaining the correct battery gravity.
How to choose the right inverter
The market is flooded with a variety of home/office inverters. The most important factor a consumer should look for is the efficiency of the inverter in terms of evaluating battery performance against costs. Here are certain parameters that would help a consumer to choose the right inverter.
Load requirement: One must determine the application and load requirement before zeroing in on any home inverter. For better efficiency, one should look for the apt capacity required for the setup. It is important to calculate the power consumption, which can be done by adding up the watts (W) of all loads (lights, TV, etc) to be powered by the inverter.
“Buyers must evaluate their total backup requirements as well as the duration of time for which they need the backup, in order to get the best inverter,” says Manoj Jain.
Inverter capacity: Next, it is important to select the volt-ampere (VA) rating of the inverter (VA=watts x power factor). Power factor values vary from 0.6 to 0.8. For example, a 600 VA rated inverter (with a power factor of 0.8) delivers approximately 480 watts only.
Backup time: It is also very important that the backup time of the inverter matches the load of the appliances. Backup time of the inverter can be calculated as Ah×12 V×PF×0.9/load VA hours.
Technology: This is the prime factor affecting the performance of an inverter. One is advised to buy a sine wave inverter rather than a square wave or digital inverter, as it doesn’t get too heated up, resulting in increased longevity of the appliance. Moreover, it reduces the humming sound that tubelights and fans make—a common problem with square wave or digital inverters. The quality of electricity supplied by a sine wave inverter is also better. “Today, one can also opt for a solar powered inverter, which is good for the environment and saves electricity. It reduces our dependence on the electricity grid for charging. It is also easy to maintain,” says P K Jain.
Energy efficiency: One should always opt for an energy efficient inverter with low electricity consumption from the grid. “The consumer should look for intelli power saving technology, as it uses high-grade components that help to save much more electricity compared to normal inverters,” says Manoj Jain.
Battery capacity: It is very important to choose a good quality battery and one must be aware of the battery’s capacity in order to ascertain the backup time of the inverter. “We offer an inverter with a battery selection slider switch, which allows users the benefit of choosing any type of battery that is compatible with the inverter – be it a normal lead acid or a tubular battery,” says P K Jain.
Brand: Consumers should always go in for well known brands, especially in the case of the battery of the inverter. Branded products come with after sales services and a warranty. “Never decide based on just the low price when you are looking for a good inverter. A very high or very low price will not indicate the quality and efficiency of a good inverter,” says Sreekumar.
GENUS POWER INFRASTRUCTURES’ SOLAR HYBRID INVERTERS
SU-KAM POWER SYSTEMS’ FALCON+
MICROTEK INTERNATIONAL’S 24×7 HYBRID SERIES
CONVERGENCE POWER SYSTEMS’ CPS HYBYX
upsINVERTER.com’s (UTL) SUN PACK HOME INVERTER
LUMINOUS POWER TECHNOLOGIES’ ZELIO
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