How PV Works
How Photovoltaic Solar Systems Work
There are two families of photovoltaic technology: Crystalline and Thin Film. Crystalline technology was the first photovoltaic technology to be developed in the 1950’s. Thin film technology is the newer of the two technologies, receiving much of the industry’s research and development effort worldwide today, but still lags behind crystalline products and technology in efficiency for converting sunlight to electric power.Photovoltaic modules are most commonly installed on rooftops, an area that generally provides maximum solar exposure. Ground mounted arrays are built where very large utility sized photovoltaic systems are desired.All photovoltaic systems include only a few components. Primarily, the photovoltaic modules that can be either crystalline (and semi-crystalline) or thin film, rack mounted or building integrated (BIPV). And an inverter that nverts DC current produced by photovoltaic modules to AC current that is transmitted to the utility grid at 60hz line frequency, the standard in the United States & Canada. Inverters can be either wall mounted or pad mounted. The photovoltaic array is interconnected to the utility power grid. The electricity produced by the rooftop photovoltaic array reduces or offsets the amount of electricity imported from the utility grid.
Depending on your energy consumption and amount of sunlight available, your solar system will often produce more energy than you consume. With a grid interconnected solar power system, excess power produced by the solar power system is sent back to the local utility grid and accounted for via Net Energy Metering. Net Energy Metering allows your meter to spin backwards, accumulating power in a virtual bank. Florida net energy metering laws mandate that the local utility company must purchase the excess power produced by your solar power system at standard retail prices. Essentially the local utility company pays you the same rate that they charge you. The power that you export to the utility grid that is in excess of what you imported from the utility grid, is credited on your monthly power bill. Credits are carried from month to month, until you consume the excess power. Credits for unused power are reset at the end of year. Some local utilities issue checks for the excess power produced under Net Energy Metering.