Nov 02, 2023

Energy Insights: How Does a Solar Inverter Work


Wondering how does a solar inverter work? It does play a fundamental role in harnessing solar energy. Solar inverters transform the direct current (DC) generated by PV solar panels into alternating current (AC), which is the format used by household appliances. This article will shed light on solar inverter working principle, the different types available on the market, sizing considerations, and maintenance and precautionary measures to ensure optimal functionality of your solar inverter.

Energy Insights: How Does a Solar Inverter Work

What Is a Solar Inverter?

What is a solar inverter and how does it work? Let's start first with the "what" question. A solar inverter is an important component of a PV solar power system. It's essentially a device that transforms the energy output from solar panels into a usable form of electricity, allowing it to be utilized within your home or workplace. In other words, this critical device operates as a bridge between the photovoltaic system and the energy consumption devices in the house or grid.

Solar inverters are pivotal because solar panels generate direct current (DC), which most home appliances can't use. The primary role of the inverter is to convert this DC electricity into alternating current (AC) electricity. This AC form is compatible with the vast majority of home and office appliances and can be seamlessly fed into the electric grid.

Energy Insights: How Does a Solar Inverter Work

How Does a Solar Inverter Work?

Now, how does a solar power inverter work? By first taking in the direct current (DC) output from your solar panels, the output is then transformed into alternating 120V/240V current (AC). Being decisive because the appliances in your home operate on AC, not DC, hence this conversion is necessary to make the solar energy collected by your solar panels practicable for daily use.

The sun casts its light on your solar panels, which is absorbed by semiconductor layers within the solar or photovoltaic (PV) cells. This absorption of light energy stimulates the movement of electrons, leading to the generation of an electric current, also known as DC. The inverter captures this DC, processes it through a transformer and delivers it as AC to the property's electrical system. The inverter ultimately "fools" the transformer into thinking that the DC is AC by controlling two or more transistors that switch on and off at high speed, feeding varying sides of the transformer.

Types of Solar Inverters

Here are three main types of solar inverters that are commonly used:

String Inverters

These are the most common types of inverters for residential use. There's usually one string inverter per solar installation. They are named as "string inverters" because a 'string' (or series) of solar panels are connected to the inverter. The main advantage of this type of inverter is its affordability and reliability, though it's not as efficient if individual panels are shaded.


Microinverters are smaller devices placed on individual panels. They convert the DC power from the panel into AC right where it's generated. This optimizes each solar panel individually, offering better energy returns, especially in shady conditions. They offer improved energy yield from solar panels and often come with individual tracking software to allow problems with a single panel to be identified quickly.

Hybrid Inverters

Hybrid (or multi-mode) inverters are a less common type, allowing you to connect batteries to your solar energy system. They interact with the linked batteries through "DC coupling," meaning both the solar panels and the batteries use the same inverter and the DC from the panels charges the batteries via a DC charger. The solar hybrid inverter working principle is designed for PV systems with a battery backup, therefore offering an requisite feature for off-grid systems or when the primary electric supply is interrupted.

Tips for Choosing the Right Size Inverter

1. Match the Inverter Size with Panel Output: The inverter size should be able to handle the maximum power the solar power system can produce. If your solar power system is a 3kW, you'll require 3kW panels and a similarly-sized 3kW solar inverter.

2. Plan for Future Expansion: If you plan on expanding your solar system in the future, consider a larger inverter than your current solar system requires.

3. Consider the Solar Inverter Efficiency: If your system is to be connected to the grid, choose an inverter with an efficiency of at least 93% (transformer-based) or 95% (transformerless). These thresholds are critical for optimal use of the power generated by the PV system.

4. Consult with Professionals: Reach out to solar energy consultants or installation companies for suitable sizing recommendations based on your specific circumstances.

Maintenance and Precautions for Solar Inverters

1. Check for Weatherproofing: Review if the solar inverter is weather-proof or under a covering that doesn't fully protect it from weather. It may be necessary to consider buying a weather-proof cage to enhance inverter longevity.

2. Review Solar Inverter Display: Checking the solar inverter display often can alert you to operational issues in a timely manner. Information provided on the display may include system power production times and levels, daily energy production, and overall energy production since installation.

3. Ensure Warranties: It's crucial to have a warranty for your solar inverter. While grid-connected inverters usually have a life expectancy of 10-25 years, warranties typically last 5-15 years with an opportunity to extend it at a cost. The longer the warranty, the better, as it provides additional protection against failure.

4. Regular Maintenance: Ensure consistent maintenance to the solar inverter to keep it functioning optimally, which includes soft cleaning with a dry cloth and engaging a professional for periodic technical maintenance.

5. Professional Check-ups: Have a qualified technician perform comprehensive checks periodically to maintain the optimal performance and longevity of your solar inverter.


In conclusion, knowing how does a solar inverter work is critical for utilizing solar energy effectively and optimizing your renewable energy system. By selecting the right type and size of solar inverter, adhering to maintenance guidelines, and taking necessary precautions, you can ensure your solar power system operates efficiently and provides you with sustainable energy for a long time to come. With FusionSolar by your side, stay enlightened and harness the true power of this eco-friendly technology!


Here are some commonly asked questions on how does a solar inverter work.

Can a Solar Inverter Operate Independently of a Battery?

Yes, a solar inverter can operate independently of a battery. In a grid-tied solar system, the inverter directly converts the generated solar power into alternating current (AC) electricity, which can be used by the connected appliances or fed back into the grid without needing a battery for storage.

How Long Will TV Run on an Inverter?

The duration a TV will run on an inverter depends on the inverter's capacity and the power consumption of the TV. To calculate the runtime, divide the inverter's battery capacity (in watt-hours) by the TV's power rating (in watts). The resulting value will give you the approximate number of hours the TV can run on the inverter before the battery is depleted.

What Is the Typical Lifespan of Solar Inverters?

The typical lifespan of solar inverters ranges between 15 to 25 years, which is influenced by factors like the quality of the inverter, usage patterns, and environmental conditions. Regular maintenance and correct/proper installation can help extend the lifespan of a solar inverter, ensuring reliable performance over the years.