A solid state relay (SSR) is just what it sounds like; an IC that acts like a mechanical relay. They allow you to control high-voltage AC loads from lower voltage DC control circuitry. Solid state relays, however, have several advantages over mechanical relays. One such advantage is that they can be switched by a much lower voltage and at a much lower current than most mechanical relays. Also, because there’s no moving contacts, solid state relays can be switched much faster and for much longer periods without wearing out.