Category: How it works

https://i.ytimg.com/vi/ln9VZIL8rVs/maxresdefault.jpg - How does an inverter work
How it worksInverters
How Does an Inverter Work for Beginners [A Comprehensive Guide]

Just how does an inverter work? In today’s technology-driven world, inverter systems have emerged as vital components, playing a crucial role in our daily lives. Whether it’s ensuring uninterrupted power supply during outages or enabling the integration of renewable energy, Understanding the basics of inverter systems is becoming increasingly important. In this beginner’s guide, we will delve into the workings of inverter systems, demystifying their complexities and shedding light on their significance.

Understanding Inverter Systems

At its core, an inverter system is a device designed to convert direct current (DC) into alternating current (AC). This conversion is essential because while many of our devices and appliances run on AC power, sources like solar panels and batteries typically generate DC power. Inverter systems bridge this gap, allowing us to utilize DC power in AC-based applications seamlessly.

DC-to-AC Conversion

Essential Operation: DC to AC Conversion

The operation of an inverter system involves a combination of electronic components, including transistors, capacitors, and control circuits. The primary objective is to transform incoming DC power into AC power through a multi-step process:

  1. Rectification: Initially, incoming AC power (often from sources like solar panels or batteries) is converted into DC power using a component known as a rectifier.
  2. Inversion: The converted DC power is then supplied to the inverter, which employs specialized electronic switches (commonly insulated gate bipolar transistors, or IGBTs) to rapidly alternate the polarity of the DC voltage. This switching action generates a simulated AC waveform.
  3. Control: Advanced inverter systems are equipped with sophisticated control algorithms that ensure the output AC waveform matches the specifications of the standard utility grid. This precise control is vital to maintain compatibility with various appliances and prevent potential damage to connected devices.
  4. Filtering: The generated AC waveform might exhibit imperfections or noise. Filtering components are used to eliminate unwanted harmonics and ensure a clean and stable AC output.

Diverse Types of Inverter Systems:

  1. Grid-Tied Inverters: These specialized inverters are designed to synchronize with the utility grid. They feed surplus energy generated by sources like solar panels back into the grid, often earning credits through net metering. They also draw power from the grid when the renewable sources aren’t producing enough.
  2. Off-Grid Inverters: Off-grid inverters are used in standalone systems where there is no connection to the utility grid. They convert DC power from sources like batteries or solar panels into usable AC power, catering to the energy needs of homes, cabins, or remote installations.
  3. Hybrid Inverters: Combining features of grid-tied and off-grid inverters, hybrids can work with both grid-connected sources and batteries. This flexibility allows users to store excess energy for use during power outages or emergencies.

Benefits of Inverter Systems:

  1. Integration of Renewable Energy: Inverter systems facilitate the seamless integration of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power, contributing to a more sustainable energy mix.
  2. Reliable Backup Power: In off-grid and hybrid systems, inverters play a pivotal role in utilizing stored energy during blackouts or unforeseen situations, ensuring uninterrupted power supply.
  3. Enhanced Energy Efficiency: Through optimized conversion processes, inverter systems minimize energy losses during the DC to AC conversion, promoting energy efficiency.

In conclusion, inverter systems are the backbone of our modern energy landscape, enabling the utilization of various energy sources, ensuring stable power supply, and driving the transition towards cleaner energy solutions. Gaining a foundational understanding of inverter systems empowers individuals to make informed choices regarding energy consumption and generation, fostering a sustainable future.

For more information a more elaborate article on how does an inverter work is available here.

Expert Insights on Reducing Load Shedding
How it works
Unpacking the Energy Crisis in South Africa: Causes, Solutions, and Expert Insights on Reducing Load Shedding and Powering Up

Declared a state of disaster in February 2023, although revoked less than two months later, it’s clear that South Africa’s energy problem is a crisis of enormous proportions. Prolonged and rolling power cuts are affecting the daily lives of individuals and businesses and bringing the economy to its knees. Is there a solution in sight? What are the ways that government plans to reduce load shedding? How can South Africans power up their homes? Below, we talk about this and more. 

What Has Caused the Energy Crisis? 

Regular power outages have been a problem since around 2008 for South Africa and it’s only become worse—exponentially. Currently, hardly a day goes by when South Africans aren’t without electricity due to power cuts at some point in the day. This is due to an energy crisis in South Africa.

There isn’t any one single reason which has caused the energy crisis but multiple factors. Inquiries into Jacob Zuma’s time in office have led to revelations that state-owned enterprises, such as Eskom, have been grossly mismanaged in recent years and corruption has been rife. 

In addition to corruption, Eskom relies on old technology and old equipment. Our power stations are coal-fired and extremely unreliable, with emergency repairs having to be enacted regularly—in addition to scheduled load shedding.

Because Eskom is the primary supplier of power to South Africa, citizens have little choice in enduring these blackouts.

Are There Solutions to the Energy Crisis in South Africa?

There are a few possible solutions to South Africa’s energy crisis, but none of them are within immediate reach, mainly due to lack of resources, lack of funds, and corruption. 

Climate activist Raeesah Noor Mahomed believes that South Africa could transition to more renewable sources, but believes that corruption in the government is halting this process. An enormous amount of profit is made from coal mining and fossil fuels, so there’s hesitation to transition to renewable energy resources. 

In real terms, the government has outlined multiple actions in its Energy Action Plan, announced in July 2022, as follows:

1. An increased budget for Eskom.

Considering the power supplier said it could only provide half of the power that was needed in 2023, one solution involves giving the power utility more funds. 

2. Upgrading current power stations.

Government announced it needed to improve the performance of existing power stations, which would involve maintaining and updating them.

3. Removing red tape.

Until now, it’s alleged that it’s difficult for Eskom to purchase maintenance spares and equipment due to bureaucratic delays.

4. Recruiting skilled employees.

This includes previously employed engineers and plant managers.

5. Buying surplus electricity.

This is most likely to come from independent power producers, along with existing private generators like shopping centres, mines, paper mills, and more.

6. Importing power from neighboring countries.

Southern African countries that have greater electricity capacity will be tapped for power. 

7. Interim solutions.

These include mobile generators—for a limited period.

Reducing Load Shedding

In conjunction with this, the government plans to ‘accelerate the procurement of new generation capacity’, such as by doubling the amount of generation capacity in Bid Window 6 (a phase in the plan to procure privately generated electricity) for wind and solar—from 2600MW to 5200MW. It will also ensure that projects from Bid Window 5 will start on schedule.

As of January 2023, there had been a determination that 18,000MW of new generation capacity is to be generated through wind, solar, and battery storage.

Furthermore, the government announced that as a part of its Energy Action Plan, it would increase private investment in generation capacity. This would include actions like tabling special legislation to hurry the process of generating new capacity for a limited period and extend power lines and substations for Eskom without the need for environmental authorisation in certain areas.

The plan also includes encouraging the people of South Africa to invest in rooftop solar panels by being able to sell surplus power to Eskom, although this seems like a still-far-away solution. However, despite that, South Africans are investing in solar technology to power their homes and businesses.

Finally, government plans to finalise the Electricity Regulation Amendment Bill faster, which would enable private sector investment, and appoint boards for the transmission and generation entities that will fall within Eskom’s purview.

Are These Efforts Good Enough to Stop Load Shedding?

The question on everyone’s minds is: Will this be enough to bring South Africa out of load shedding darkness, particularly when Eskom is currently operating with a shortfall of between 4000MW and 6000MW? There’s also the global clean energy requirements to think about. Government has plans to take old coal-fired generation units offline by 2030, which currently produce between 8000MW and 12000MW.

COO of Eskom, Jan Oberholzer, states that Eskom needs to find a way to produce another 50,000MW of energy over the next 13 years in order to keep up with demand and the decommissioning of the old units. This is more than double its current capacity, which sits at 46,000MW currently. 

Powering Up

Thankfully, there are options to power our homes and industries in South Africa. Subverting the energy crisis in South Africa is possible. Enter: solar energy and inverters. At Virtual Sense, we want to see every household and business in South Africa continue as if load shedding is a thing of the past. That’s why we offer solar and battery solutions that are custom fit for homes and businesses.

Our product range includes UPS devices, such as online and line-interactive systems, solar batteries and deep cycle batteries, solar power and solar panels, a wide range of inverters, voltage stabilisers, and surge and lightning protection devices—all of which work to reduce the effects of load shedding in your life.

We not only supply top-quality products, but also offer professional installation services of uninterrupted power supply products, so that you know your blackouts-buster system is reliable and won’t bug out on you in a couple months. We also offer an after-sales maintenance service that ensures your system is kept in tip-top shape at all times. This includes after-hours assistance options and quick turnaround times.

Contact us today for a tailored quote.

BatteryHow it works
How Batteries Work


Batteries are an integral part of our daily lives, powering everything from our smartphones and laptops to our electric cars and remote controls. While we rely on batteries to keep our devices running, many of us may not fully understand how they work. In this article, we will take a closer look at the fascinating world of batteries, exploring their inner workings and the vital role they play in our modern society.

The Basics of Battery Chemistry

At their core, batteries are energy storage devices that convert chemical energy into electrical energy. The key components of a battery are two electrodes – an anode (negative electrode) and a cathode (positive electrode) – separated by an electrolyte. The type of chemicals used in these components determines the battery’s chemistry and performance characteristics.

The Charge-Discharge Cycle

When a battery is in use, it goes through a charge-discharge cycle. During the charging process, electrical energy is applied to the battery, causing a chemical reaction that stores energy. This reaction moves electrons from the cathode to the anode.

Conversely, when the battery is in use (discharging), the stored chemical energy is converted back into electrical energy. Electrons flow from the anode to the cathode through an external circuit, generating electrical current that powers our devices.

Types of Batteries

There are various types of batteries, each with its own chemistry and characteristics.

Some common types include:

1 Lithium-Ion (Li-ion)

These are widely used in smartphones, laptops, and electric vehicles due to their high energy density and long cycle life.

2 Alkaline Batteries

Commonly found in household devices like remote controls and flashlights, they are cost-effective and have a long shelf life.

3 Lead-Acid Batteries

Often used in vehicles, they provide a high current output but have a lower energy density compared to lithium-ion batteries.

4 Nickel-Cadmium (NiCd)

These were once popular but are being phased out due to environmental concerns. They are still used in some applications like cordless power tools.

Why We Need Batteries

Batteries are essential for several reasons:

1 Portability

Batteries allow us to use devices without being tethered to a power source. This portability is crucial for smartphones, laptops, and electric vehicles.

2 Backup Power

They serve as backup power sources during blackouts, ensuring uninterrupted operation of critical systems and devices.

3 Renewable Energy Storage

Batteries play a pivotal role in storing energy generated by renewable sources like solar panels and wind turbines for use when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing.

4 Environmental Benefits

Electric vehicles and renewable energy systems powered by batteries reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to a more sustainable future.


Batteries are the unsung heroes behind our connected and mobile lifestyles. They have come a long way in terms of efficiency and reliability, and ongoing research and development continue to improve battery technology. As we move towards a more electrified and sustainable future, understanding how batteries work becomes increasingly important. It empowers us to make informed choices about the devices we use and the technologies we adopt, all while appreciating the remarkable science that keeps our modern world charged and running.

about us

VSP specializes in Lightning/Surge Protection and alternative power systems. The company offers state of the art technologies and services and is generally considered as a leader in its field. VSP is uniquely positioned in a country where 80% of electronic malfunctions arise from power surges.

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