Inverters play a crucial role in any solar energy system and are often considered to be the brains of a project, whether it’s a 2-kW residential system or a 5-MW utility power plant. An inverter’s basic function is to “invert” the direct current (DC) output into alternating current (AC). AC is the standard used by all commercial appliances, which is why many view inverters as the “gateway” between the photovoltaic (PV) system and the energy off-taker.
Inverter technologies have advanced significantly, such that in addition to converting DC to AC, they provide a number of other capabilities and services to ensure that the inverter can operate at an optimal performance level, such as data monitoring, advanced utility controls, applications and system design engineering. Inverter manufacturers also provide post-installation services that are integral to maintaining energy production and a high level of performance for the project, including preventative maintenance, O&M services and a quick mean time to repair (MTTR).