Solar inverters work with solar panels and solar kits. They are an important component that converts the direct current (DC) which is collected from the sun’s rays to the alternating current (AC) which is used for household appliances.
A grid-tie inverter (GTI, also known as a synchronous inverter) is an electrical inverter that allows solar energy users to complement grid power with solar power. A GTI works by regulating the amount of voltage and current that is received from the direct current received from solar panels (or any other direct current energy source such as wind turbines, hydro turbines, and engine generators). The grid-tie inverter then converts the current into an alternating current.
There are many differences between the grid-tie inverter and basic electrical inverters, but the main difference is that the grid-tie inverter makes sure that the solar power converted is in phase with the grid power. This means that the excess power generated by solar energy will be easily sold back to the utility company. The meter must be able to go in both directions. Grid-tie inverters must have anti-islanding protections, which means they become disconnected from the grid if the grid power is turned off.
Anti-islanding protection is an important aspect of solar inverters. Anti-islanding refers to when a grid-tie inverter senses there is a power outage and the inverter shuts itself down and stops the production of electricity. When a power grid powers off the circuits within, the system sometimes sends out resonating currents. The inverter may confuse these currents with regular alternating currents and in turn will not shut off. This is very dangerous to people who believe that all power is off because the grid is turned off. The anti-islanding protection feature injects small pulses into the circuit which offset the resonating pulses. This allows the inverter to recognize that the power is off and will shut the inverter down as well. Grid-tie inverters do not work when the power grid is off because the energy is stored in the grid.
There are such things as off-grid inverters, which store their energy in batteries. Traditional grid-tie inverters store their energy in the grid system, which is why if they power is down at the grid, there will be no power at the source of the solar energy. Off-grid inverters do not need anti-islanding protection, and they also do not allow for excess energy to be sold back to the power company.