Know Your Solar Electric System Components

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As a homeowner, you may be utilising solar electric systems to power your house because it is a great financial investment, you are concerned about pollution, or you want to enjoy being energy independent. Knowing the system components will help you understand how it works better, and if any problem occurs, you can easily troubleshoot. When you call an electrician, you will be able to give a good description of where the problem may be coming from, and he or she can come prepared with the necessary tools.

Solar Electric Array

Solar cells are grouped to form a panel. Several panels are wired together to form a solar electric array. In the solar cells, there is a semiconductor material. Sunlight strikes this material to free some electrons that create an electric current.


The direct-current power produced from the solar electric array has to be converted to alternating current power. This is the main work of the inverter, converting DC to AC. There are two areas where the inverter can be positioned. There can be micro-inverters located behind the panels mentioned above, which is the panel level or a central inverter placed where the electricity from your local utility enters your house.

External Shut-Off

Your local utility may require your solar electric system to have an external shut-off. It is also known as a disconnect. This is essential to enable power company workers to shut down your electrical system to make some repairs on the power lines.

Battery and Meters

Batteries will not be found in all solar electric systems, but if they are, they help in balancing the load. Balancing the load means the electricity produced should be matched with consumption. Most of the solar electric systems will have meters or a meter to help in balancing electricity load. The meter is known as a net meter, and it spins backwards when your solar electric system produces more electricity than is consumed. In some cases, a second meter may be required to track the extra production of electricity for reporting purposes.

How Do You Maintain the Solar Electric System?

Maintaining your solar electric system requires you to make sure the solar panels receive unobstructed sunlight. You may also be required to replace the central inverter at least once in the life of the solar electric system. You should also have a warranty that protects your system from component breakdown, defective workmanship and some degradation that may occur in the electrical output.

An electrician who works with solar energy should help you understand your system and options.