Solar systems produce electricity by using solar cells to convert sunlight into direct current (DC) electricity, Photons in the sunlight hit the solar panels and are absorbed by semiconducting materials such as silicon.
Electrons are then freed from the semiconducting material creating electricity. Because of the configuration of the solar cells the electricity flows in a specific direction. An inverter installed with the PV solar system converts the direct current to alternating current (ac) that can be used for household applications.
Grid tied system- This system is designed to operate in conjunction with your utility company and uses an inverter to distribute the electricity. When your home produces more electricity than it needs the excess electricity is fed back to the power grid essentially making your electrical meter spinning backward.
Stand alone systems- This type of photovoltaic system is designed to stand independent of the power grid. The simplest form of a stand alone system is called a direct coupled PV system and does not utilize a battery. Since they do not have batteries for storage they can only function while there is sunlight. A typical application for a direct coupled PV system is anattic ventilation system.
Typically, stand alone systems use batteries to store energy and are used in remote locations away from the energy grid. They may also be used in conjunction with power generators or other types of clean energy generators like wind turbines.
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