How Do PV Systems Work?

Sunlight is made up of energy packets known as photons. These fall onto a solar panel and generate an electric current over a process named the photovoltaic effect.

Each solar panel yields a small amount of energy, but it can be linked together with other panels to produce higher amounts of energy leading to an array of solar power.

The electricity from a solar panel or array is in the form of a direct current or DC. Though numerous electronic devices use DC electricity, including your laptop or phone, they are intended to work using the electrical utility grid which requires alternating current or AC.

So, for the solar electricity to be beneficial, it must be converted from DC to AC using an inverter. The AC electricity produced from the inverter can be used to power electronics or be sent to the electrical grid to be utilized somewhere else.

System Components of a PV

Other important components of a photovoltaic system are the balance of the system or BOS. These account for over half of the system cost and maintenance which may consist of electric meters, circuit breakers, disconnects, combiners, wiring, racking, and inverters.

Solar Panel

Solar panels contain countless solar cells that have semiconductor properties encapsulated in a material to protect them from their surroundings. These semiconductor properties permit the cell to capture light or photons from the sun and convert this energy to electricity through the photovoltaic effect.


Inverters are electrical devices that accept electrical current through direct current (DC) and converts it to alternating current (AC).

The electrical current from the solar panel is fed through an inverter which converts it to AC. Such electrical conversion is required to operate the majority of electric interfaces or devices with the electrical grid.


Rackings are the mounting apparatuses that fix the solar panel to rooftops or the ground.

Other Components

The remaining components of a solar PV system are wirings, meters, breakers, disconnects, and combiners.

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