What is a Solar Panel Inverter?
A solar panel inverter is a device that converts the Direct Current (DC) generated by solar panels to Alternating Current (AC), which is the type of electricity used by household appliances and electronic devices. The inverter also converts the voltage generated by the solar panel from 12 volts DC, to 110 or 220 volts AC, in U.S. applications.
Types of Solar Inverters
– Off Grid Inverter
This type of inverter is used with an off-grid solar power system. Also called a stand alone system, the off-grid system is not connected to the electrical power grid. Off-grid systems connect the solar panels to a bank of DC storage batteries, with the inverter placed in-line between the batteries and the breaker box that distributes power to your home. The inverter draws DC current from the batteries as needed, converting it to usable AC current.
– Grid Tie Inverter
A grid tie inverter connects directly to the solar panels, converting the DC electricity to AC, then sending it directly to the breaker box for household consumption. Grid tie inverters work in tandem with the electric grid so can be configured for net-metering, allowing excess electricity to be sold to the utility company.