What is An Inverter (Power Inverter)?

A power inverter is an electronic device that converts Direct Current (DC) from sources like batteries or solar panels to Alternating Current (AC) for use in the home or office. While Direct Current (DC) is produced from sources like batteries, Alternating Current (AC) is the form in which electric current is delivered to residences and offices usually from the grid. Thermal and hydro power plants are sources of AC, also the generators we have in homes or offices as back-up power supply are sources of AC. AC is thus the form of electricity that powers appliances in homes or offices.

Inverters can be seen as a form of UPS that can provide backup power to run your appliances when there is a power outage. However, the duration of the back-up supply is dependent on the rating of the inverter and capacity of of battery storage connected. In other words the higher the capacity of both the inverter and the battery storage the longer the duration of the back-up supply. Inverters are noiseless and do not pollute the environment like generator sets.

The inverter makes use of electronic components like transistors, battery bank and all other necessary connections, particularly on the utility side. Inverters also provide over voltage protection to connected load. Inverters usually come with integrated or dedicated chargers to power the battery bank.

Both the inverter and the charger work together to provide you with backup power when the regular utility power goes off by doing the following:
  • It charges the batteries by converting AC into DC when power supply is available. Remember that DC is the operating mode of batteries
  • It converts the energy stored (DC) in the battery to AC energy that powers your appliances when there is power outage.