Inverters & Batteries – Supply, Installation, and Maintenance
Inverters and other energy conversion devices turn energy from one form to another. An inverter in a grid-connected system converts direct current (DC) electricity from the batteries into alternating current (AC) mains power.
Batteries and other energy storage devices store energy so that it can be used when needed. In a stand-alone power system, the energy stored in batteries can be used when energy demand exceeds the output from the grid sources. Battery banks are connected to the grid, with an appropriate inverter, which also works as an uninterruptable power supply to make energy available during a power outage for all or some of the electrical loads in a home or business.
The system also includes switches, circuit breakers and fuses to ensure it is electrically safe and allow major equipment to be isolated for maintenance.
Battery maintenance includes keeping terminals clean and tight, and ensuring the electrolyte is kept above minimum levels. Use distilled water only when topping up electrolyte levels. Neutralise any electrolyte spilt or splashed on the top of the batteries (e.g. with sodium bicarbonate) and wash away with water at frequent intervals. Batteries are dangerous and must be treated cautiously. The three main dangers are:
- Explosion or fire from battery gases
- Short-circuiting of the terminals
- Acid burns from flooded lead-acid batteries.