How Does an Inverter Work?

Inverters are used to take solar energy and turn it into a usable form

To explain how an inverter works, you have to start at the beginning. The sun shines down onto a solar panel, which absorbs the light, and transfers the light to the Photovoltaic cell. That energy knocks electrons loose, and they move between layers and create a direct current. This energy is either stored in a battery bank, or sent to an inverter.

Since most appliances within your home run on alternating current, this energy needs to be changed from dc (direct current) into alternating current (ac). This is where the inverter comes in to play. The inverter takes the direct current and runs it through a transformer, fooling the transformer into thinking that it is receiving and ac current. (Note that this is a very simplified explanation.)The inverter runs the dc through transistors that are turned off and on at a rapid pace, creating a sine wave.

The direct current does not have a sine wave, thus the name direct, but it needs to be changed into a sine wave to run our appliances. The electricity generated by power companies is a true sine wave, the energy created by an inverter is a modified sine wave. Although most appliances will run on a modified sine wave, they will use more energy and may run sporadically, especially appliances with motors.

There are many types of inverters, the very least effective inverters will only run toasters or other small appliances with just a heating element.



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