Inverters are electrical systems that, through its sophisticated power electronics, convert DC energy from renewable sources (e.g. solar) to AC power, which is what all residences and businesses need. The different companies that manufacture inverters have invested a lot of time and money in making them smarter in their performance, energy efficiency, monitoring and “troubleshooting”. Currently, there are four types of inverters: string inverters, microinverters, central inverters and battery-based inverters.
String inverters: These inverters handle multiple photovoltaic modules that are connected in series to increase their voltage. These rows of modules are also known as “strings”. Most string inverters have sophisticated algorithms to minimize the shading effect in one or more modules that could affect the entire string.
Microinverters: Each of these inverters handle only one photovoltaic module. Its greatest benefit is that in places where shading might be a factor, only the photovoltaic modules that experience shading would be the only ones affected. Another benefit is that if there is no space to install the string inverters in the property by installing microinverters under each module, no other significant space is needed.
Central inverters: These inverters essentially will operate the same as the string inverters, but are used on large scale (commercial/utility).
Battery-based inverters: Inverters that are not battery-based, if they detect a utility outage, they will automatically turn off to comply with the IEEE 1547 and UL 1741 standards, a concept known as “Anti-Island”. In the other hand, battery-based inverters will remained turned on as long as they have charge in their batteries.