What are the components of a Solar PV System?

Listed below are some of the basic components that are assembled to build a solar PV power plant that is safe to operate and generates energy to its maximum efficiency if designed and installed correctly.

Scroll down to read about each component seen above:

PV Modules: PV stands for Photo Voltaic. As these panels convert light (i.e. photo) into electrical power (voltage), so they are known as Photovoltaic modules. Most commonly available PV modules are of two types- Crystalline and thin-film. PV modules are given output ratings in watts (Wp).

PV Module Mounting Structures: Module mounting structures (also called MMS) is used to fix PV modules on surfaces like roofs, building facades, or the ground. MMS is commonly made of three types of materials i.e. Hot Dip Galvanized Iron, Aluminium or Mild Steel (MS).

Structure Foundation: Foundation or support of any structure is of utmost importance for fixation of any structure. Similarly, the PV module mounting structure foundation plays a vital role and is designed with reference to the existing soil/roof condition in order to withstand wind speed of the location depending on the type of PV installation i.e. rooftop or ground mount.

Inverter: Inverter is the brain of a solar power system and serves primarily two purposes:

  • To convert the DC power generated from Solar Panels into AC power;
  • To ensure that generated solar energy is used at priority over grid supply. Solar inverters are essentially Grid-tied or Off-Grid/Hybrid.

Junction Box: Often called as JB,  junction box i.e. AC or DC site both are an important and necessary part of a Solar PV power plant. Junction Boxes provide extra electrical protection to the solar PV system during failure or uncertain conditions.

Earthing: Earthing is an important component of any electrical installation because It keeps people safe by preventing electric shocks and prevents damage to electrical appliances and devices by preventing excessive current from running through the circuit. Earthing is highly important for a Solar PV system and is required to be done across, PV modules, Lighting Arrestors, System and conductive non-current carrying parts tec.

Conduits: Conduit is a highly important and usually neglected component for protecting the electrical cables and wiring in s solar PV installation which acts as a closed channel that guards cables (both AC and DC) against hazards i.e. atmospheric or physical, over a PV installations lifetime.

Connector & Cables: A PV array is all about connections i.e. PV modules are to be connected to each other, and to the inverters. Connectors and cables attach solar components together to produce a successful flow of solar energy. These are also one of the neglected components that survive extreme changes in atmospheric conditions, temperature and voltages.

Lighting Arrestor: Lightning arrestors also know as surge arrestors are designed to absorb voltage spikes caused by heavy storms which effectively allow the surge to bypass the wiring and the equipment. Lightning can cause failures in PV power plant which are preventable.

Energy Meter: Energy meter in a solar PV system can be commonly described as a Solar meter and a bi-directional meter. The solar meter allows the display of real-time solar energy generation data whereas bi-directional meter allows the utility to read the exported solar energy to the grid. One or both meters are installed based on the stakeholder requirement and regulatory framework in India.

You will find more information about each of the component, in the following chapters.

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