How Solar Electrical Systems Work

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Photovoltaic technology produces electricity from sunlight by converting DC energy to useable AC power. The interaction of sunlight with the semiconductor materials in the PV cells frees electrons which creates electricity. This electricity can then be either used immediately in the home/building or sent back to the grid for credit.

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. When the sun shines on the panels electricity is produced, and even more so when the sun is directly over the array.

Clean, renewable energy is produced by a system that is silent and has no moving parts.

How solar works

Components of a solar system:

  •  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.


Refer to the Solar Electrical Terminology section in our FAQ’s for more helpful industry terminology definitions.