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The basic components of a grid-connected PV system are:
  • PV modules: Solar cells are connected in series to form solar modules in order to achieve significant amounts of current and voltage. Solar modules with crystalline silicon cells consist of between fifty and one hundred electrically connected solar cells. In order to protect the solar cells against the effects of the weather and mechanical stress, they are embedded between layers of plastic and glass.
  • Inverter: converts direct current from PV modules into grid-ready alternating current and feeds it into the power grid in proper phase.
  • Export meter: records the amount of solar energy exported to the power grid (in kWh). The meter reading is used for utility billing.

Figure 1: Diagram of a grid-connected PV system

Source: IWS Solar 2009

Last page update: 07.02.2011