Solar 101: Parts & Function of a Solar Energy System


In basic terms, solar power is one large entity that converts solar power into consumable electricity. Of course, it’s a little more complicated than that. There are several major parts that perform their role. The process revolves around collecting raw energy then transporting and converting it. Understanding the role of each component in the system is essential for understanding how the system works as a whole. Whether you’re learning about solar system parts to install it yourself, or, planning to update an existing system, this brief guide will help you take the right steps.


Let’s take a look at the main components of a solar energy system.


Solar Panels


The most notable item within the solar industry is, of course, the solar panels. The panels make up the section of the system that collects raw solar energy. The panels use photovoltaic (PV) cells to absorb sunlight and produce an electric current from it. The current in DC form is then transported to the inverter. There are different types of PV panels on the market. For instance, monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin-film. The only difference is in the manufacturing materials. Choosing the right type will affect the overall efficiency of the energy system.


Solar Panel Mounting System


To securely mount the solar panels, supportive frames and racking mounts are used. Mounting equipment ensures that the solar panels are encased in a secure structure. Whether designed for the top of a roof or to be raised off the ground, panels are installed onto racking mounts. The mounts serve several purposes for the solar panels.  They can maximize sunlight exposure to enhance system performance, enhance airflow for temperature control, and protect the panels from extreme weather.


Solar Inverter


The inverter's job is to convert the energy produced from solar panels. Solar panels produce DC voltage that is not compatible with appliances. Home appliances run on AC voltage, so the inverter is used to convert DC voltage into AC voltage. As the component that receives, converts, and sends energy, it’s the heart of the solar power system. These functions also make the inverter the most practical place for energy monitoring. Many inverters come with a monitoring system to track energy production. There are 3 types of inverters available in the market: Micro Inverter, String Inverter & Power Optimizer.


PV Cables & Connectors


The electrical wiring of a solar power system is crucial to the system’s ability to operate. It works similar to how the veins transport blood in the human circulatory system. PV cables and connectors direct the energy of a solar energy system and the wiring allows the energy generated from solar panels to travel to the Inverter. Once there, it finally reaches the home or building to be utilized. Since electrical wiring is essential to the entire system. It is important not to overlook these components when installing solar power.


Extra Options


All solar energy systems have the same basic components that generate electricity,   but extra accessories can be added to further customize the system. The often-used additional feature is the energy storage options. Although energy storage isn’t always necessary, it’s incredibly beneficial to those living off-grid. For those who intend to use solar energy at times that the energy can’t be generated or for alternative uses. A solar battery stores unused solar energy so that it can be used at night or in case of a local power outage. Electric vehicle charging stations can also be added to solar energy systems.


Yellowlite is a certified solar energy system installation expert, offering its services for more than a decade. Contact experts at Yellowlite and get a free consultation and quotation on your new system installation or system upgrade.