Sproat Lake, Vancouver Island, BC

Should I have a Second Small Inverter installed in my Off-Grid System?

Should I have a Second Small Inverter installed in my Off-Grid System?

When would a Second Small Inverter work for my system?

  • Why should I consider a second inverter?
  • The Concept
  • Benefits of Small Secondary Inverters
  • Conclusion

Why should I consider a second inverter?

In our practice, we’ve fitted many larger inverters for clients, addressing various requirements from permanent residents to those who frequent cabins and off-grid lake houses. This extends to installations for vehicles like motorhomes, vans or boats, where larger inverters are often employed. When these individuals are absent, they often prefer to sustain specific appliances, like refrigerators, or uphold security measures with cameras, or merely keep minimal lighting or other modest loads operational.

Typically, our main inverters consume around 25 to 30 watts to remain operational. However, during winter months when solar charging options are limited due to weaker sunlight and the absence of homeowners to start a generator manually or via an automatic generator start (AGS) system, reducing energy loss becomes a priority.

In situations like this, selecting a smaller inverter, such as a 300 or 500-watt model, to integrate with your current system offers a notable benefit: the ability to switch off the primary, larger inverter when not in use, resulting in potential energy savings of up to five times. These compact inverters typically require only around 4 or 5 watts to operate, a significant reduction compared to larger models. By reducing energy consumption, particularly during periods of lower solar power or when relying on a generator, we can effectively address our clients’ needs while promoting energy efficiency and financial savings.

The Concept

Traditionally, off-grid systems rely on a single large inverter to convert DC power from batteries or solar panels into AC power for household appliances. While this setup is effective for meeting peak demand, it can be inefficient when only powering small loads during prolonged absences. Enter the small secondary inverter.

The idea is simple: install a smaller, more efficient inverter dedicated to running essential loads such as a fridge, lights, or electronics when you’re away from your cabin for extended periods. Unlike a large inverter, which may consume significant standby power even when idle, a smaller inverter tailored to the power requirements of these loads can operate more efficiently and consume less energy over time.

Benefits of Small Secondary Inverters

1. Energy Efficiency Small secondary inverters are designed to handle lighter loads more efficiently, reducing standby power consumption compared to larger inverters. By matching the inverter size to the load requirements, energy waste is minimized, contributing to overall system efficiency.

2. Enhanced Reliability Dedicated secondary inverters provide redundancy, ensuring that essential loads remain powered even if the primary inverter encounters issues. In the event of a primary inverter failure, the secondary inverter can continue to supply power to critical appliances, preserving perishable goods and essential services.

3. Cost Savings Small inverters are often more affordable than their larger counterparts, making them a cost-effective solution for powering essential loads during extended absences. Reduced energy consumption translates to lower utility bills and decreased reliance on fossil fuel generators, offering long-term savings.

4. Peace of Mind Knowing that essential appliances are powered efficiently and reliably, even when you’re away from your cabin, provides peace of mind and enhances the off-grid living experience. Remote monitoring capabilities allow you to check the status of your secondary inverter and connected loads from anywhere, ensuring continued operation and troubleshooting if needed.


In the pursuit of off-grid efficiency, small secondary inverters offer a tailored solution for powering essential loads during extended absences from your cabin, motorhome or boat. By matching the inverter size to the load requirements, energy waste is minimized, reliability is enhanced, and cost savings are realized. Embracing this innovative approach not only optimizes off-grid living but also embodies a commitment to sustainable energy management.

Given our experience with customers who maintain a few appliances during winter months but face challenges replenishing their batteries due to limited sunlight, this concept offers significant benefits. While it’s not universally applicable, for those who need it, integrating a small inverter to manage these tasks proves cost-effective. Instead of opting for an automatic generator start (AGS) system or considering generator purchases, this solution presents a viable alternative. We’re equipped to accommodate customers regardless of their preferred direction.

For individuals seeking consultation, education, or assistance in system designs related to off-grid solar applications, IOTG Solar stands ready to help. Our team is available to address questions, provide valuable insights, and offer support at every stage of the solar energy journey. Feel free to reach out to anytime for expert assistance and comprehensive solutions tailored to your specific needs.

IOTG Solar…

Keeping you powered through education.