Many people consider the AC inverter the heart of a solar PV system. It’s typically the electronics that converts the DC output of the solar module into the AC voltage needed to connect to the utilities’ power grid. There are a variety of companies making these AC inverters including SMA, Satcon, Delta, ABB, Fronius, Kaco, Enphase and many others. Enphase has an interesting solution in that they put an individual “micro” inverter physically on or at the solar modules thereby making the output, as they claim, a less dangerous and more easily managed 220VAC low amperage output that is already grid compatible. Some of the important things that AC inverters do are as follows:
– Provide good “end to end” power conversion in terms of Grid Integration and Interoperability (ie. Maximum Power Point Tracking and Low Voltage Ride Through)
– Anti-islanding (the inverter disconnects from the grid when grid power shuts down for any reason)
– SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) – Remote monitoring, control and reporting.
– There are also efforts to integrate DC arc monitoring and prevention into them as well.