Overview of a Residential Solar Electric System
What is a Solar Electric or Photovoltaic System?
First, the terms solar electric and photovoltaic are used interchangeably. They refer to a technology that is a non-polluting, environmentally friendly source of electricity.
Photovoltaic (PV, for short) systems operate silently, have no toxic emissions or greenhouse gases and create no hazardous waste. PV systems generate electricity using free energy from the sun, so the ongoing costs are minimal. And we can mount solar panels on your roof, your patio, or on the ground. In fact, we can install your photovoltaic system at nearly any location that has sufficient year-round sunlight.
These are a few of the advantages…
But how does solar electricity work?
Here’s a simple, annotated diagram and that will help explain:
- Solar panels collect the sun’s energy and convert it into direct current (DC) electricity.
- Inverter converts DC electricity to alternating current (AC) electricity for use in your home. (We use Enphase Energy microinverters for their many additional benefits.)
- Your house uses the electricity that you produce.
- Bi-directional electric meter (called a net meter) spins backwards when you generate more electricity than you use.
- All excess electricity generated is stored in the utility grid.