DC power source utilization
Inverter designed to provide 115 VAC from the 12 VDC source provided in an automobileAn inverter allows the 12 or 24 volt (battery) DC power available in an automobile to supply AC power to operate equipment that is normally supplied from a mains power source.
Inverters are also used to provide a source of AC power from photovoltaic solar cells and fuel cell power supplies.
Uninterruptible power supplies
One type of uninterruptible power supply uses batteries to store power and an inverter to supply AC power from the batteries when mains power is not available. When mains power is restored, a rectifier is used to supply DC power to recharge the batteries.
Inverters are used to convert low frequency mains AC power to a higher frequency for use in induction heating. To do this, AC power is first rectified to provide DC power. The inverter then changes the DC power to high frequency AC power.
High-voltage direct current (HVDC) power transmission
With HVDC power transmission, AC power is rectified and high voltage DC power is transmitted to another location. At the receiving location, an inverter in a static inverter plant converts the power back to AC.
A variable-frequency drive controls the operating speed of an AC motor by controlling the frequency and voltage of the power supplied to the motor. An inverter provides the controlled power. In most cases, the variable-frequency drive includes a rectifier so that DC power for the inverter can be provided from mains AC power. Since an inverter is the key component, variable-frequency drives are sometimes called inverter drives or just inverters.
Electric vehicle drives
Adjustable speed motor control inverters are currently used to in some electric locomotives and diesel-electric locomotives as well as some battery electric vehicles and hybrid electric highway vehicles such as the Toyota Prius. Various improvements in inverter technology are being developed specifically for electric vehicle applications.