How Long Will a Deep Cycle Battery Power an Inverter? - Everything You Need to Know About Solar Power Inverters
A power inverter is an essential piece of solar equipment. If you plan on assembling your own solar power system, you are going to need an efficient solar power inverter that is appropriately sized for your solar panels, charge controller, and battery bank.
Today, we are going to explain everything you need to know about solar power inverters. Whether you would just like to know how long a deep cycle battery can power an inverter, or you are unsure what size power inverter your solar power system requires, you have come to the right place!
So, What is a Solar Power Inverter, and What Do They Do?
In simple terms, solar power inverters are designed to convert direct current power, or DC power, into alternating current power, or AC power.
Since solar panels work by converting sunlight into DC power, it is important that you convert that power into more usable AC power. This is because most electronic devices and electric appliances actually require AC power, which is the same type of current you access when you use the wall outlets in a typical home.
This means if you plan on using solar electricity to power lights, kitchen appliances, power tools, televisions, computers, smartphones, and much more, you are going to need to purchase a solar power inverter that has the correct specifications for your particular system.
How do Solar Power Inverters Work?
The power inverter draws electricity from the same battery bank that is storing the power your solar panels generate. In most cases, the battery bank will consist of one or more deep cycle solar batteries.
Using this stored electricity, the power inverter increases the voltage of the DC power and converts it into AC power, so it can be used to power a connected device or appliance.
Since power inverters draw power to operate and perform the conversion process, many people wonder how long a single deep cycle battery can actually power an inverter.
How Long Will a Deep Cycle Battery Power an Inverter?
Knowing how fast your power inverter will drain your battery will help you size each component of your solar power system. Many people overlook the power needs of the actual power inverter and fail to account for the power it will draw when the calculate the overall power rating of their solar power system.
When calculating how long a deep cycle battery can supply power to an inverter, you need to take a few factors into consideration, including the efficiency of the inverter, the capacity and voltage of the battery, and the overall condition of both the battery and the inverter.
Power Inverter Efficiency:
For any high-quality solar power inverter, efficiency will usually sit somewhere between 85% and 90%. If you were to purchase a power inverter with an efficiency rating of 90% and a power rating of 1,000W, it would require roughly 1,100 watts of power.
This is because you would find the true power requirements by dividing the power rating by the efficiency rating: 1000W / 0.90 = 1,111.1W
You would then calculate how many Amps the inverter draws. In the case of the 1,000W inverter example, you would need to divide the input power with the input volts:
1,100W / 12V = 91.66 Amps
So, assuming the battery was in good condition, a 92 Ah deep cycle battery could power your 1,000W inverter with 90% efficiency for one hour.
While this may seem somewhat complicated, the main takeaway should be the importance of choosing a power inverter with a high efficiency rating. This means the inverter can convert the DC power stored in your deep cycle solar battery to AC power more efficiently than an inverter with a lower efficiency rating.
If you find that you need your power inverter to supply power for longer than your deep cycle battery can support, you can invest in a larger battery, or connect the existing battery in parallel to more deep cycle batteries. This would expand the storage capacity of your solar power bank and allow your power inverter to run for a longer length of time. However, expanding your storage capabilities will usually mean you will also need to expand your solar array, as you will need to generate more solar power to fill those batteries.
What Size Power Inverter Should You Buy?
Choosing the correct power inverter size will depend entirely on your power needs. In other words, you will want to choose an inverter that can meet the power requirements of the electronics you plan on running through it.
In most cases, you will want to total up your power requirements in watts, or amps, then find a power inverter that can meet those demands, even when the power inverter’s own power needs and efficiency rating are also taken into consideration.
Pay Attention to the Continuous Wattage Rating:
Most power inverters are listed by their continuous wattage rating, which, essentially, refers to the amount of power the inverter is capable of supplying at a continuous rate. For example, a power inverter with a continuous wattage rating of 4,000W can handle a 4,000 watt continuous load from any combination of electronic appliances and devices.
So, to find out what size power inverter you should buy, simply do a total load wattage calculation by adding up the wattage requirements for all of the electronic devices you plan on running through the power inverter. It is always a good choice to choose a power inverter with a greater wattage rating than your requirements, as you never know if you will need access to more power in the future. You should also look for a power inverter that can handle spikes and offers some form of surge protection.
If you are unsure how to perform a solar load calculation, you should take a look at our Ultimate Off Grid Solar Watt Hour Calculator.
Match the Voltage:
You will also need to match your inverter’s voltage to the voltage of your battery, or batteries. For example, if you were running a 12V battery bank with your solar power system, you would want to purchase a 12V DC power inverter. The same principle would apply for a 24V or 48V power bank.
Where to Buy a Solar Power Inverter?
For more information about choosing the right solar power inverter for your needs, as well as a complete list of all of the solar power inverters we carry, we encourage you to take a look at our Complete Solar Power Inverter Collection.
Finding the Right Solar Equipment for Your Needs
If you are looking for more than just a new power inverter, you will be happy to learn that we carry all types of solar equipment from some of the best brands in the industry.
Deep Cycle Solar Batteries and Solar Generators:
If you would like to expand or replace your current solar storage system, shop our Deep Cycle Solar Battery Collection, where you will find a wide range of high-quality batteries in a variety of voltages. As always, just make sure you are matching the voltage of your new batteries to the voltage of your power inverter.
If you do not want to use a separate power inverter with your solar power system, you can choose an all-in-one solar power station, or solar generator. These unique devices contain a built-in power inverter, charge controller, and deep cycle solar battery. All you need to do is connect the device to one or more solar panels and you can immediately start storing solar electricity.
For more information on solar generators, read our Review of the Ego Battery Nexus Power Station. Not only do we review this popular solar power station, we highlight four alternatives that offer a higher level of performance at a lower price.
If you are looking to increase the amount of solar power your system can generate, it is worth reading our Complete Guide to 300 Watt Solar Panels. It explains everything you need to know about these highly efficient solar panels and even recommends some solar panel brands you should take into consideration.
If you are just starting out with solar power, one of the easiest ways to get a solar power system up and running is to purchase a solar panel kit. Not only do these convenient kits come with solar panels, they also come with a power inverter and a solar charge controller, so you do not have to worry about buying these components separately.
Best of all, these kits are offered at affordable prices, as the components are offered at reduced prices when they are bundled together. We highly recommend shopping our Renogy Solar Kit Collection, as we carry a wide variety of premium solar kits from the highly reputable Renogy brand.
Choosing the right power inverter for your specific solar power system is far less complicated than you would think. By performing a few simple calculations, you can make sure that your power inverter can access enough power from your battery bank to keep your electronic devices running for as long as you need.
If you have any other questions about solar power inverters, or questions about any other types of solar equipment, please do not hesitate to reach out to us!