Types of Solar Photovoltaic Systems

  • Grid-connected
  • Off-grid systems

Where the grid is the local electric utility's infrastructure that supplies power to businesses and homes, and the off-grid systems are installed in remote locations where utility grid is not available.

The Solar Photovoltaic system is safe and reliable, it provides clean – green energy with no on-site pollution, and requires low maintenance cost. With the installation of a Photovoltaic system, you can contribute to a greener environment.

How Solar Photovoltaic System works.

The Solar Photovoltaic System converts sunlight into electricity. The system uses cells for the conversion. These cells consist of one or two layers of silicon or any other semiconducting materials.

When Sunlight falls on the cell, an electric field across the layers is created that causes the electricity flow. The flow of electricity is directly proportional to the intensity of the light. So, the greater is the intensity, the greater is the flow.

In terms of the amount of energy generated by cells in sunlight, the Photovoltaic cells (PV cells) are known as kilowatt peak or kWp.

The solar cell is the basic block of Solar Photovoltaic technology. The most familiar PV Solar cells are the ones which are power calculators. The cells are wired together to form a module, which is the PV solar panel.

These modules gather sunlight and convert it into direct current (DC) electricity. An inverter is used to convert this DC into AC, which is used as electricity in homes.

The Photovoltaic modules are combined together to form a Photovoltaic Solar Panel System. The large Photovoltaic Systems are integrated into buildings in order to generate the electricity.

Photovoltaic System design

The designing of a Solar Photovoltaic System is done in four steps.

  • Load Estimation
  • Estimation of the number of Photovoltaic panels
  • Estimation of the battery bank
  • Cost estimation of the system

Basic formulae to calculate the load, power, number of photovoltaic panels required, and energy produced are as given below.

  • To calculate Total load to the system

    The total load connected to PV panel system = No. of units × rating of equipment

  • To calculate Watt-hours rating to the system

    Total connected load (watts) × Operating hours

  • To calculate the Actual power output of the panel

    Peak power rating × operating factor

  • To calculate Power used at the end

    The actual power output of a panel × combined efficiency

  • To calculate Energy produced by one panel in a day

    Actual power output × hours/day (peak equivalent)

  • To calculate the number of panels required to satisfy the load

    (Total watt-hour rating (daily load)/(Daily energy produced by a panel)

List of Components in a Solar Photovoltaic System

The solar photovoltaic system consists of four main components, they are Mounting structures, PV modules, and Arrays, Solar inverters, Solar storage.

All these components combined together define the major functioning of the solar photovoltaic system.

  • Mounting structures : PV cells must be mounted on a durable and stable structure to support the array and withstand the extreme weather conditions. The energy output depends on the mounting structure. The rack mounting method is the most used one as it is easy to install, versatile and durable.

  • PV modules and Arrays The modules are the most important component of the PV system. The PV module is package consists of 6x10 solar cells. In order to achieve the desired output, the modules are wired to into PV array. The PV modules are flexible allowing the designers to meet various electrical needs.

  • Solar inverters This component converts the direct current generated by solar modules into alternating current, which is the electricity used by the households. The system consists of two types of inverters, one inverter for all modules and each inverter for each module.

  • Solar Storage To store the electricity generated by the solar panels, the solar batteries are added to the PV system. They are rechargeable and allows storing of the solar energy.

Photovoltaic System cost

The prices of the Solar Photovoltaic panels have reduced by a ballpark figure of 40% resulting in a tight competition. A Solar Photovoltaic system can be installed on the roof for a price between £4,000 and £7,000.

According to the sources, you also get paid by the government for every unit generated and transferring your unused units to the National Grid.

Advantages of a Photovoltaic System

There are several advantages and benefits of a solar photovoltaic system. A few of the advantages include the following:

  • The solar energy is the energy generated by nature, hence it is free and abundant.
  • The solar energy is available almost everywhere, where there is sunlight.
  • It is especially appropriate for the smart energy networks with the distributed powers generation. The DPG is the next generation power network structure.
  • The Solar Photovoltaic systems produce the electricity in a direct electricity generating way through the photoelectric phenomenon.
  • The Solar Photovoltaic system has no mechanically moving parts, except for the sun-tracking mechanical bases. Thus, they require low maintenance and have fewer breakages than any other renewable energy systems like turbines.
  • The solar panel is easy to install on the roof or on the ground without affecting the residential lifestyle.
  • Solar panels have reduced costs. The cost is seen reducing gradually and thus there it is expected to see the same for next future years. The solar panels are a promising future for both environmental sustainability and economic viability.
  • Photovoltaic panels are environmentally friendly and provide clean-green energy. During the generation of electricity with Photovoltaic panels is no harmful greenhouse gas emission.
  • The Solar Photovoltaic panels are no-noise systems, they are totally silent and are perfect for the urban areas and for residential applications.
  • The solar PV panels are a major renewable energy system that is promoted through government subsidy and the financial incentives for the PV panels make it an attractive investment alternative.
  • The solar PV panels are an effective solution to the energy demands peak, especially in hot summers where the energy is in high demand.

Photovoltaic v/s Solar

The working principle of the Solar Photovoltaic Panel and Solar thermal panels is the same. Both the solar panels absorb the raw energy that is sunlight and use it to create usable energy that is electricity.

In Solar Photovoltaic system, the raw energy is used to create the electricity, whereas in the solar thermal systems the raw energy is directly used for heating air or water.

When it comes to decide on which technology is better to be used, then for households there isn’t a need to consider the better among them, but for the business and landowners the criterion is slightly different, as their main goal of installing the solar panels is to get a return on investment or generating a sustainable income.

In such scenario where you have a commercial rooftop or a piece of land, it is better to install the Solar Photovoltaic Panels to generate the electricity, as they are seen with the higher scope of return in investment.


The Solar Photovoltaic System enables you to step towards an environmentally friendly energy generation and also towards environmental sustainability. Installation of Photovoltaic system is the easiest and simplest way to generate the electricity and also lets you earn a secondary income.