A solar inverter or PV inverter, is a type of electrical converter which converts the DC current from solar panels into grid usable AC current (what you use in your home) It allows the use of ordinary AC-powered equipment.
Most inverters, in a residential sense, are grid interactive inverters. Simply put, if the grid loses power, the inverter shuts down and does not convert energy. This is to provide safety to utility workers in case of emergency.
Most commonly, grid tied inverters are broken up into string inverters and micro-inverters. Both types are successful in converting energy from the solar panels into usable house hold energy.