What’s a smart inverter and do I need one?

By Michael Rader on May 22, 2019

Smart inverters are a vital – yet overlooked – piece of the battery storage system. Smart inverters have the ability to manage when and how your batteries run. All battery storage systems require an inverter and will be programmed to run based on your preferences and needs.

Some batteries come with an integrated smart inverter, designed to give the battery owner more programming control over when and how their battery is used. As opposed to standard inverters that are programmed to work in a predictable, static manner, smart inverters can be programed via mobile apps and web portals to run when it makes the most sense, given physical, financial, or owner-preference signals. If your utility offers a rate structure that allows storage to provide you economic value, batteries can be programed with their smart inverter to take advantage of these rates. However, in most utility territories there is not yet an economic incentive for storage and storage is only used for backup power.