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Typical PV System Components


PV Power generation systems are made up of interconnected components, each with a specific function. One of the major strengths of PV systems is modularity. As your needs grow, individual components can be replaced or added to provide increased capacity. The selected components will vary depending on the applications, what follows is a brief overview of the components of a typical Solar Electric PV system.

Solar Array   Solar Array
The solar array consists of PV modules which convert sunlight into electric energy. The modules are connected in series and/or parallel to provide the voltage and current levels needed. The array is usually mounted on a metal structure and tilted to face the sun.
 Inverter   Inverter
An inverter is required when you want to power AC devices. The inverter converts the DC power, or direct current, from the solar array and batteries into AC power. 
 Charge Controller   Charge Controller
Although charge controllers can be purchased with many optional features, their main function is to maintain the batteries at the proper charge level and to protect them from overcharging. 
 Battery Bank   Battery Bank
The battery bank contains one or more deep-cycle batteries connected in series and/or parallel depending on the voltage and current capacity needed. The batteries store the power produced by the solar array and discharge it when you need it. 
 AC and DC loads   AC and DC loads
These are the appliances (such as lights or radios), and the components (such as water pumps and microwave repeaters), which consume the power generated by your PV array. 
 Balance of System   Balance of System
These components provide the interconnections and standard safety features required for any electrical power system. These include: array combiner box, properly sized cabling, fuses, switches, circuit breakers and meters.