A standard grid connected solar energy system is composed of the following major elements:
1. Solar Panels (Photovoltaic (PV) Modules)
Solar cells work by converting visible light into electricity through a process called the photovoltaic effect. Photons in visible light hit the solar cell and are absorbed by the semi-conducting material (which in most cases is silicon), creating an electron hole, which another electron must fill. This causes movement in the electrons thus creating a flow of electricity, also called direct current (DC).
2. Solar Energy Inverter
The electricity generated by the solar panels needs to be converted to match the every day electricity supply, 230 Volt alternating current (AC). To do this, an inverter is used to filter the power to the correct values so it can be used for day-to-day power needs in your home. Any excess energy not used by your home is fed back into the grid.
3. Switchboard & Bi-directional Meter
The AC flows through your switchboard for use in your home. Your new bi-directional metering device records exactly how much energy you feed into the grid as well as the electricity you draw from the grid.
4. Electrical Grid
During the day unused AC will be fed into the grid, at night electricity will be drawn from the main electrical grid.