What is Solar (Photovoltaics)?
Stockbridge Regional Solar Installation Provider
- Photovoltaic (PV): Photovoltaic cells are the basic components of a solar system. This is where the solar power generation will begin. PV cells convert the sun's energy into electricity. When sunlight makes contact with a PV cell, it produces an electric current. PV cells are connected together in a solar module, which has a non-reflective glass front, a protective insulating backsheet and an aluminum frame for strength and mounting.
- Solar Panels/Modules: Solar panels are groups of solar modules that are connected electronically to generate direct current (DC) electricity at the desired voltage and current. Panels are installed on rooftops or open areas, such as parking lots or fields that have full sun exposure. A larger grouping of solar panels constitutes a "solar array." Large non-residential solar facilities often contain multiple arrays, sometimes located on different buildings at a given site.
- Combiner Box: The combiner box connects multiple wires carrying the electrical current generated by individual solar panels together into a single, larger capacity wire, which then flows to the inverter. The combiner box works in a solar electrical system much like a manifold does in a hydraulic system.
- Inverter: The inverter transforms direct current electricity produced by the solar panels in alternating current (AC) electricity - the form of electricity used by most standard lights, motors, computers and air conditioners. The inverter also provides safety functions such as automatic shutdown of the solar electric system in the event of a power failure.
- AC Safety: The AC safety, or disconnect, switch is a manual switch that can be used to disconnect a building's electrical system from the solar electricity system.
- Performance Monitoring: The entire system is linked to a remotely located performance monitoring reporting system. This system measures and monitors all electricity generated by the system, performs system diagnostics and sends alerts regarding system or equipment issues. The system also tracks weather and generates reports that link weather conditions to kilowatt-hour output. (Optional)