I think one thing is to describe the common types or wording. I know that not everyone agree on this but there is a generaly saying atleast around my area that is used.
Below was just something i had around. Not explanatory enough i would say but perhaps a start.
There are 3 base line systems as of today even though there is more and more hybrid versions comming out.
The most common names of them are listed below. All inverters have a specific criteria for it to be running.
This inverter relies on the grid. Since the inverter in most cases only is hooked up between grid and solar the system need the grid to be online for it to do any work. If grid fails the system will shut down and stop generating anything. With that said you cannot use this type of inverter to feed your house unless the grid is hooked up and there is incomming power.
The whole idea with a grid tie inverter is that during the day you use the energy that is available from the solar and the surplus gets delivered back to the grid. In some places this pays decent money in others hardly nothing.
There is protection built in to them in form that if the grid goes down it will stop producing electricity to protect the device including the grid.
This is one of the most common inverters out there and as the name implies this type of inverter is ment for people being off grid.
To be able to run a solar inverter you need a energy storage. You cant rely that solar is 100% all the time and on the grid-tie you use the Grid. Off grid system uses a battery bank.
Off grid inverter do have its own load output and this one cannot be tied to the grid but must be on its own circuits. The load output can either have its source from the grid, from battery, from solar or a combination of 2 or 3 of above.
Off grid inverters with AC input generally also consist of a battery charger that can charge up the battery bank if there is no sun and you need to get it up.
As the name implies this is generally a combination of above 2 systems where you have the functionallity to be able to run and have a battery bank but at the same time have the abillity to sell the excess to the grid.
A hybrid inverter can run without grid or run without the battery bank attached in most cases. its the most advanced system where some of them even can deliver a combination of all 3 sources to the loud output.
Many of them have a central pool of energy that it takes or sends out energy to the other sources
Common setup Grid tie
Solar -> Grid
Solar -> Battery -> load out
Grid -> battery -> load out
grid -> load out as bypass
Solar -> energy pool <-> Battery bank
-> load out
It may also be worth adding that some inverters have a "limiter" function, where a CT clamp is placed between the system and the grid meter so that the inverter can ramp down its output to generate just enough power for local consumption without exporting any. This is mainly for use in regions where feeding into the grid is not permitted.
Thanks guys. I'll update that post when I get back home this afternoon. Great thanks to daromer for doing the terminology leg work for me on the inverters. You could explain it a lot better than I could have. Much appreciated.