The Solar Power Inverter

The solar power inverter is used to convert the electricity generated by solar panels from direct current to alternating current. This device allows our appliances and electronics to use energy generated by solar panels. And, it can also allow the solar power panels to be one of many grid tie systems taking advantage of net metering programs with the local utility.

There are three types of these devices:

  • Stand Alone – A solar power inverter is used when the solar power system is not connected to the utility distribution system (grid tie) and typically does not have a circuit that protects against anti-islanding (discussed below). This type of device will take direct current electricity from the storage batteries and convert to alternating current for use in the home. There are three types of stand alone solar power inverters:

    • Pure sine wave

    • Modified sine wave power inverter

    • Square wave - The square wave inverter is the least expensive of the inverters. This type of inverter is probably only good enough to operate tools such as power saws, electric drills. They are not much good for anything else and are not seen much any more now-a-days. It will not be discussed in this web site.

  • Grid tie - Solar power systems that are grid tied into the utility’s distributions system use this type. This is a pure sine wave type that matches the power coming from the utility’s system. A grid tie inverter will shut off power going into the utility’s system in the event there is a utility outage. This type does not provide any backup power when a utility outage occurs. Many grid tie types will not operate if they do not sense a voltage coming from the utility’s system.
  • Battery backup – This type will draw electricity from a storage battery. It will also monitor the charging of the batteries and direct excess energy generated by the solar panels into the utility’s system (grid tie). This type is able to provide alternating current to some loads in the in the event of a utility outage. Utilities will require battery backup types to have anti-islanding circuit protection.

Solar Power Inverter

What is Anti-islanding protection?

Anti-islanding protection turns off power from the device going into the utility’s distribution system. This prevents islanding, which is a condition of the solar power system putting power back into the utility’s system even though there may not be power present otherwise due to an outage. Islanding can pose safety hazard to utility crews who may be working on lines correcting the causes of an outage.

  • Grid tie - Solar power systems that are grid tied into the utility’s distributions system use this type. This is a pure sine wave type that matches the power coming from the utility’s system. A grid tie type will shut off power going into the utility’s system in the event there is a utility outage. This type does not provide any backup power when a utility outage occurs. Many grid tie types will not operate if they do not sense a voltage coming from the utility’s system.
  • Battery backup – This type will draw electricity from a storage battery. It will also monitor the charging of the batteries and direct excess energy generated by the solar panels into the utility’s system (grid tie). This type is able to provide alternating current to some loads in the in the event of a utility outage. Utilities will require battery backup types to have anti-islanding circuit protection.


  • Go to Pure Sine Wave Inverter

    Go to Modified Sine Wave Power Inverter

    Go to Sunup Solar Power Home Page from Solar Power Inverter

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