Solar Power Components
A photovoltaic system (informally, PV system) is an arrangement of solar power components designed to supply usable electric solar power for a variety of purposes, using the Sun (or, less commonly, other light sources) as the solar power source.
PV systems may be built in various configurations:
- Off-grid without battery (array-direct)
- Off-grid with battery storage for DC-only appliances
- Off-grid with battery storage for AC and DC appliances
- Grid-tie without battery
- Grid-tie with battery storage
A photovoltaic array (also called a solar array) consists of multiple photovoltaic modules, casually referred to as solar panels, to convert solar radiation (sunlight) into usable direct current (DC) electricity. A photovoltaic system for residential, commercial, or industrial energy supply normally contains an array of photovoltaic (PV) modules, one or more DC to alternating current (AC) power converters (also known as inverters), a racking system that supports the solar modules, electrical wiring and interconnections, and mounting for other components. Optionally, a photovoltaic system may include any or all of the following: renewable energy credit revenue-grade meter, maximum power point tracker (MPPT), battery system and charger, GPS solar tracker, energy management software, solar concentrators, solar irradiance sensors, anemometer, or task-specific accessories designed to meet specialized requirements for a system owner. The number of modules in the system determines the total DC watts capable of being generated by the solar array; however, the inverter ultimately governs the amount of AC watts that can be distributed for consumption. For example: A PV system comprising 11 kilowatts DC (kWDC) worth of PV modules, paired with one 10-kilowatt AC (kWAC) inverter, will be limited by the maximum output of the inverter: 10 kW AC.