PV System Components

PV System Components

PV consists of a variety of components. I’ve laid out the basic ones below with a brief description.

PV Modules

This is the core of the system, composed of several solar modules which are in turn composed of solar cells. Each solar cell is an individual energy conversion unit, which produces a DC voltage whenever it receives light. By connecting the modules in one or more series circuits, their DC voltage output can be aggregated into a single electric supply.

SD: They convert light from the sun to DC power.

Wires

They connect all the components together. They need to be sized appropriately for the system to function. Responsible for the transfer of electricity. There are DC and AC cables.

Mounting Structure

Supporting structure that holds the PV Modules in the optimum and (or) set angles. To fully understand the required structure, you would need to calculate loads – dead, snow and earthquake. They can generally be classified as 

  • Roof Mounted
  • Ground Mounted
  • Car Ports
  • Self Ballasted Array
  • Shade Structure Façade
  • Building Integrated Photo Voltaics (BIPV)
  • Single Axis Tracking
  • Double Axis Tracking

Inverter

Converts DC supply produced by the PV Panels to AC supply that can be used by the household. It has the Maximum Power Point Tracker (MPPT) which is an algorithm to extract maximum available power from the PV array.

Main AC Panel

All electric loads within the household is connected here with circuit breakers. Once DC power is converted to AC Power with the required frequency (50 or 60Hz) it is connected to the panel to provide energy to the household.

This is where all electric loads in the building are connected and protected with circuit breakers.

Circuit Breakers

Provides protection against electric faults to an electric circuit such as short circuits or line-to-ground faults. 

Electric Meter

A normal electricity meter is upgraded to a model with net metering capability which can measure the magnitude and direction of energy. This allows for accurate representation of bills by ensuring that the exported energy to be reduced from consumed energy

DC Disconnect

Placed between the PV Panel and the inverter (It is usually placed within the inverter). This stops the inflow of power from the PV to prevent the threat of electrocution. Usually used during maintenance work.

AC Disconnect

Shuts off power between the inverter and the AC power grid. Similar to DC Disconnect as a safety feature

Electric Meter

A normal electricity meter is upgraded to a model with net metering capability which can measure the magnitude and direction of energy. This allows for an accurate representation of bills by ensuring that the exported energy to be reduced from consumed energy

* Optional *

Battery Bank

PV systems produce energy only when sunlight falls on the panel (daytime). The excess energy that was produced during the daytime can be stored using Battery Banks and used at night-time. If battery banks are not employed, the excess energy that is produced can be sold to the grid. Battery Banks can maximise savings and can be used as backup power. There are various systems available as batteries. This will be discussed further later.

Battery Monitor

Helps estimate the battery banks capacity.

Charge Controller

Control energy input and output for battery bank if employed. They can either be Pulse with Modulation (PWM) or Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT).

A photovoltaic system, also PV system or solar power system, is a power system designed to supply usable solar power by means of photovoltaics. It consists of an arrangement of several components, including solar panels to absorb and convert sunlight into electricity, a solar inverter to convert the output from direct to alternating current, as well as mounting, cabling, and other electrical accessories to set up a working system.

It may also use a solar tracking system to improve the system’s overall performance and include an integrated battery solution, as prices for storage devices are expected to decline. Strictly speaking, a solar array only encompasses the ensemble of solar panels, the visible part of the PV system, and does not include all the other hardware, often summarized as balance of system (BOS). As PV systems convert light directly into electricity, they are not to be confused with other solar technologies, such as concentrated solar power or solar thermal, used for heating and cooling.

PV systems range from small, rooftop-mounted or building-integrated systems with capacities from a few to several tens of kilowatts, to large utility-scale power stations of hundreds of megawatts. Nowadays, most PV systems are grid-connected, while off-grid or stand-alone systems account for a small portion of the market.

Operating silently and without any moving parts or environmental emissions, PV systems have developed from being niche market applications into a mature technology used for mainstream electricity generation. A rooftop system recoups the invested energy for its manufacturing and installation within 0.7 to 2 years and produces about 95 percent of net clean renewable energy over a 30-year service lifetime.[1]:30[2][3]

Due to the growth of photovoltaics, prices for PV systems have rapidly declined since their introduction. However, they vary by market and the size of the system. In 2014, prices for residential 5-kilowatt systems in the

United States were around $3.29 per watt,[4] while in the highly penetrated German market, prices for rooftop systems of up to 100 kW declined to €1.24 per watt.[5] Nowadays, solar PV modules account for less than half of the system’s overall cost,[6] leaving the rest to the remaining BOS-components and to soft costs, which include customer acquisition, permitting, inspection and interconnection, installation labor and financing costs.[7]:14 

A photovoltaic system, also PV system or solar power system, is a power system designed to supply usable solar power by means of photovoltaics. It consists of an arrangement of several components, including solar panels to absorb and convert sunlight into electricity, a solar inverter to convert the output from direct to alternating current, as well as mounting, cabling, and other electrical accessories to set up a working system.

It may also use a solar tracking system to improve the system’s overall performance and include an integrated battery solution, as prices for storage devices are expected to decline. Strictly speaking, a solar array only encompasses the ensemble of solar panels, the visible part of the PV system, and does not include all the other hardware, often summarized as balance of system (BOS). As PV systems convert light directly into electricity, they are not to be confused with other solar technologies, such as concentrated solar power or solar thermal, used for heating and cooling.

PV systems range from small, rooftop-mounted or building-integrated systems with capacities from a few to several tens of kilowatts, to large utility-scale power stations of hundreds of megawatts. Nowadays, most PV systems are grid-connected, while off-grid or stand-alone systems account for a small portion of the market.

Operating silently and without any moving parts or environmental emissions, PV systems have developed from being niche market applications into a mature technology used for mainstream electricity generation. A rooftop system recoups the invested energy for its manufacturing and installation within 0.7 to 2 years and produces about 95 percent of net clean renewable energy over a 30-year service lifetime.[1]:30[2][3]

Due to the growth of photovoltaics, prices for PV systems have rapidly declined since their introduction. However, they vary by market and the size of the system. In 2014, prices for residential 5-kilowatt systems in the

United States were around $3.29 per watt,[4] while in the highly penetrated German market, prices for rooftop systems of up to 100 kW declined to €1.24 per watt.[5] Nowadays, solar PV modules account for less than half of the system’s overall cost,[6] leaving the rest to the remaining BOS-components and to soft costs, which include customer acquisition, permitting, inspection and interconnection, installation labor and financing costs.[7]:14

A photovoltaic system, also PV system or solar power system, is a power system designed to supply usable solar power by means of photovoltaics. It consists of an arrangement of several components, including solar panels to absorb and convert sunlight into electricity, a solar inverter to convert the output from direct to alternating current, as well as mounting, cabling, and other electrical accessories to set up a working system.

It may also use a solar tracking system to improve the system’s overall performance and include an integrated battery solution, as prices for storage devices are expected to decline. Strictly speaking, a solar array only encompasses the ensemble of solar panels, the visible part of the PV system, and does not include all the other hardware, often summarized as balance of system (BOS). As PV systems convert light directly into electricity, they are not to be confused with other solar technologies, such as concentrated solar power or solar thermal, used for heating and cooling.

PV systems range from small, rooftop-mounted or building-integrated systems with capacities from a few to several tens of kilowatts, to large utility-scale power stations of hundreds of megawatts. Nowadays, most PV systems are grid-connected, while off-grid or stand-alone systems account for a small portion of the market.

Operating silently and without any moving parts or environmental emissions, PV systems have developed from being niche market applications into a mature technology used for mainstream electricity generation. A rooftop system recoups the invested energy for its manufacturing and installation within 0.7 to 2 years and produces about 95 percent of net clean renewable energy over a 30-year service lifetime.[1]:30[2][3]

Due to the growth of photovoltaics, prices for PV systems have rapidly declined since their introduction. However, they vary by market and the size of the system. In 2014, prices for residential 5-kilowatt systems in the

United States were around $3.29 per watt,[4] while in the highly penetrated German market, prices for rooftop systems of up to 100 kW declined to €1.24 per watt.[5] Nowadays, solar PV modules account for less than half of the system’s overall cost,[6] leaving the rest to the remaining BOS-components and to soft costs, which include customer acquisition, permitting, inspection and interconnection, installation labor and financing costs.[7]:14

A photovoltaic system, also PV system or solar power system, is a power system designed to supply usable solar power by means of photovoltaics. It consists of an arrangement of several components, including solar panels to absorb and convert sunlight into electricity, a solar inverter to convert the output from direct to alternating current, as well as mounting, cabling, and other electrical accessories to set up a working system.

It may also use a solar tracking system to improve the system’s overall performance and include an integrated battery solution, as prices for storage devices are expected to decline. Strictly speaking, a solar array only encompasses the ensemble of solar panels, the visible part of the PV system, and does not include all the other hardware, often summarized as balance of system (BOS). As PV systems convert light directly into electricity, they are not to be confused with other solar technologies, such as concentrated solar power or solar thermal, used for heating and cooling.

PV systems range from small, rooftop-mounted or building-integrated systems with capacities from a few to several tens of kilowatts, to large utility-scale power stations of hundreds of megawatts. Nowadays, most PV systems are grid-connected, while off-grid or stand-alone systems account for a small portion of the market.

Operating silently and without any moving parts or environmental emissions, PV systems have developed from being niche market applications into a mature technology used for mainstream electricity generation. A rooftop system recoups the invested energy for its manufacturing and installation within 0.7 to 2 years and produces about 95 percent of net clean renewable energy over a 30-year service lifetime.[1]:30[2][3]

Due to the growth of photovoltaics, prices for PV systems have rapidly declined since their introduction. However, they vary by market and the size of the system. In 2014, prices for residential 5-kilowatt systems in the

United States were around $3.29 per watt,[4] while in the highly penetrated German market, prices for rooftop systems of up to 100 kW declined to €1.24 per watt.[5] Nowadays, solar PV modules account for less than half of the system’s overall cost,[6] leaving the rest to the remaining BOS-components and to soft costs, which include customer acquisition, permitting, inspection and interconnection, installation labor and financing costs.[7]:14

A photovoltaic system, also PV system or solar power system, is a power system designed to supply usable solar power by means of photovoltaics. It consists of an arrangement of several components, including solar panels to absorb and convert sunlight into electricity, a solar inverter to convert the output from direct to alternating current, as well as mounting, cabling, and other electrical accessories to set up a working system.

It may also use a solar tracking system to improve the system’s overall performance and include an integrated battery solution, as prices for storage devices are expected to decline. Strictly speaking, a solar array only encompasses the ensemble of solar panels, the visible part of the PV system, and does not include all the other hardware, often summarized as balance of system (BOS). As PV systems convert light directly into electricity, they are not to be confused with other solar technologies, such as concentrated solar power or solar thermal, used for heating and cooling.

PV systems range from small, rooftop-mounted or building-integrated systems with capacities from a few to several tens of kilowatts, to large utility-scale power stations of hundreds of megawatts. Nowadays, most PV systems are grid-connected, while off-grid or stand-alone systems account for a small portion of the market.

Operating silently and without any moving parts or environmental emissions, PV systems have developed from being niche market applications into a mature technology used for mainstream electricity generation. A rooftop system recoups the invested energy for its manufacturing and installation within 0.7 to 2 years and produces about 95 percent of net clean renewable energy over a 30-year service lifetime.[1]:30[2][3]

Due to the growth of photovoltaics, prices for PV systems have rapidly declined since their introduction. However, they vary by market and the size of the system. In 2014, prices for residential 5-kilowatt systems in the

United States were around $3.29 per watt,[4] while in the highly penetrated German market, prices for rooftop systems of up to 100 kW declined to €1.24 per watt.[5] Nowadays, solar PV modules account for less than half of the system’s overall cost,[6] leaving the rest to the remaining BOS-components and to soft costs, which include customer acquisition, permitting, inspection and interconnection, installation labor and financing costs.[7]:14

A photovoltaic system, also PV system or solar power system, is a power system designed to supply usable solar power by means of photovoltaics. It consists of an arrangement of several components, including solar panels to absorb and convert sunlight into electricity, a solar inverter to convert the output from direct to alternating current, as well as mounting, cabling, and other electrical accessories to set up a working system.

It may also use a solar tracking system to improve the system’s overall performance and include an integrated battery solution, as prices for storage devices are expected to decline. Strictly speaking, a solar array only encompasses the ensemble of solar panels, the visible part of the PV system, and does not include all the other hardware, often summarized as balance of system (BOS). As PV systems convert light directly into electricity, they are not to be confused with other solar technologies, such as concentrated solar power or solar thermal, used for heating and cooling.

PV systems range from small, rooftop-mounted or building-integrated systems with capacities from a few to several tens of kilowatts, to large utility-scale power stations of hundreds of megawatts. Nowadays, most PV systems are grid-connected, while off-grid or stand-alone systems account for a small portion of the market.

Operating silently and without any moving parts or environmental emissions, PV systems have developed from being niche market applications into a mature technology used for mainstream electricity generation. A rooftop system recoups the invested energy for its manufacturing and installation within 0.7 to 2 years and produces about 95 percent of net clean renewable energy over a 30-year service lifetime.[1]:30[2][3]

Due to the growth of photovoltaics, prices for PV systems have rapidly declined since their introduction. However, they vary by market and the size of the system. In 2014, prices for residential 5-kilowatt systems in the

United States were around $3.29 per watt,[4] while in the highly penetrated German market, prices for rooftop systems of up to 100 kW declined to €1.24 per watt.[5] Nowadays, solar PV modules account for less than half of the system’s overall cost,[6] leaving the rest to the remaining BOS-components and to soft costs, which include customer acquisition, permitting, inspection and interconnection, installation labor and financing costs.[7]:14

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