Solar Terminology Cheat Sheet

Jessica PirroSeptember 3, 20203520

Solar Terminology Cheat Sheet

Getting a solar panel installation can be a little intimating for some homeowners. Why? Because the industry is still a relatively new one, there still a lot of terms that are foreign to people who aren’t in the industry, which can seem intimidating. 

If a homeowner is looking to install a solar power system but they are hesitant to get one because they aren’t sure what a lot of the terminology means, here’s a little cheat sheet:

Net Metering

The reason that this is the first on the list, is because net metering is a huge benefit when it comes to getting a solar panel installation, and not enough people know about it. Net metering allows homeowners that have a solar panel installation to send solar power back to the grid in exchange for a credit. The way that net metering works are the excess solar power that the solar power system generates is going to be sent to the utility grid, for your neighbors to use. Your utility company will give you a credit that you can use at a later when your solar panels aren’t generating any solar power.

When the energy demand is low, during the day, a typical solar power system produces a lot more solar power than the house needs. Net metering allows the users to get a credit for the excess solar power that is produced at this time. But then at night, when the solar panel installation isn’t producing any solar power, the credits can be used to draw power from the grid. Net metering benefits vary by each state.

Off-Grid Solar Power System

Off-grid solar power systems are important to make note of, because for a lot of people think that installing a solar power system, automatically means that they are going to be off-the-grid. But that’s not the case. Off-grid solar panel installation is when the solar power system is completely disconnected from the electricity grid, which means that you aren’t going to have any access to utility-generated electricity. The homes that go off the grid will need to generate all of their solar power, solely from the solar panels.

Direct Current (DC)

Direct Current is a kind of electricity transmission and distribution by which electricity is going to flow in one direction through the conductor, normally relatively low voltage and high current. To be used for a typical 120 volts 220-volt household appliances, the DC solar power must be converted to an Alternating current, which is its opposite.

Alternating Current (AC)

This is the type of electricity where the direction is reversed at regular intervals. In the United States, the standard is 120 reversals or 60 cycles a second. The electricity transmission networks use AC because the voltage can be controlled pretty easily.

The Azimuth

This is going to be the direction that your roof faces (in solar power terms). the azimuth will be measured in degrees, which represents the angles between your roof and truth North. When it comes to a solar panel installation the Azimuth is going to be fairly important.

Solar Battery

This is going to be a rechargeable solar battery that is connected to a solar cell with the ability to store solar power. The solar battery rations excess solar power so it can be used to offset peak or night time use. Solar battery storage capacity is going to be measured in kWh.

Solar Cell

A solar cell is going to be an electrical device that is going to convert the energy that is coming from the sunlight into solar power, which is also known as the photovoltaic effect.

Solar Power System

A Solar power system is all of the solar power technology that converts solar power that is coming from the sun, into electrical energy. A residential solar power system can offset a household’s power needs, depending on the factors like the size of the solar power that the home needs. It is made up of solar panels, solar inverters, safety switches, and in certain cases a safety switch.

Renewable Energy

This is a term that a lot of people here, but they aren’t sure what it means. Renewable energy is going to be energy that is obtained from a natural resource, that is constantly replenished. Renewable energy can come from sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves, and geothermal heat.

A Kilowatt-Hour (kWh)

The measure of a kilowatt (kW) (1,000 Watts) production of power in kW and time in hours.

The Efficiency of a Solar Panel

The efficiency of a solar panel inst going to be the ratio of power that is produced by a solar cell at any instant to the power of radiant energy that is striking the cell, there are going to certain factors like temperature that can cause a dip in the efficiency of a solar panel rate during the day.

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