How Solar Electrical Systems Work

The amount of sunlight available at a given location is called the Solar Insolation or Solar Resource. The electrical production of a PV array depends on the Solar Insolation of the location as well as the orientation of the array to the south, the tilt angle of the panels and the efficiency of the equipment.  Photovoltaic technology produces electricity from sunlight by converting DC energy to useable AC power.  When the sun shines on the panels electricity is produced, and even more so when the sun is directly over the array. The interaction of sunlight with the semiconductor materials in the PV cells frees electrons which creates electricity. Clean, renewable energy is produced by a system that is silent and has no moving parts.

Simple PV Solar Cell

Sunlight dislodges electrons in silicon-based semiconductors, producing direct current electricity.

Refer to the Glossary of Terms for helpful information.

  • Solar Panel — These modules convert sunlight into DC electricity.
  • DC Disconnect — Allows for the flow of direct current to be interrupted upstream of the inverter.
  • Inverter — Converts DC to AC electricity for transmission to the building’s electrical distribution system.