Solar panel refers to a panel designed to absorb the sun’s rays as a source of energy for generating electricity or heating.
A PV module is a packaged, connected assembly of typically 6×10 solar cells. Solar PV panels constitute the solar array of a photovoltaic system that generates and supplies solar electricity in commercial and residential applications. Each module is rated by its DC output power under standard test conditions, and typically ranges from 100 to 365 watts.
The efficiency of a module determines the area of a module given the same rated output – an 8% efficient 230 watt module will have twice the area of a 16% efficient 230 watt module. There are a few solar panels available that are exceeding 19% efficiency. A single solar module can produce only a limited amount of power; most installations contain multiple modules. A photovoltaic system typically includes a panel or an array of solar modules, a solar inverter, and sometimes a battery and/or solar tracker and interconnection wiring.
A charge controller, charge regulator or battery regulator limits the rate at which electric current is added to or drawn from electric batteries. It prevents overcharging and may protect against overvoltage, which can reduce battery performance or lifespan, and may pose a safety risk. It may also prevent completely draining (“deep discharging”) a battery, or perform controlled discharges, depending on the battery technology, to protect battery life.
The terms “charge controller” or “charge regulator” may refer to either a stand-alone device, or to control circuitry integrated within a battery pack, battery-powered device, or battery recharger.
An electric battery is a device consisting of two or more electrochemical cells that convert stored chemical energy into electrical energy. Each cell has a positive terminal, or cathode, and a negative terminal, or anode. The terminal marked positive is at a higher electrical potential energy than is the terminal marked negative. The terminal marked positive is the source of electrons that when connected to an external circuit will flow and deliver energy to an external device. When a battery is connected to an external circuit,
Electrolytes are able to move as ions within, allowing the chemical reactions to be completed at the separate terminals and so deliver energy to the external circuit. It is the movement of those ions within the battery which allows current to flow out of the battery to perform work.
Although the term battery technically means a device with multiple cells, single cells are also popularly called batteries.
A power inverter, or inverter, is an electronic device or circuitry that changes direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC).
The input voltage, output voltage and frequency, and overall power handling depend on the design of the specific device or circuitry. The inverter does not produce any power; the power is provided by the DC source.
A power inverter can be entirely electronic or may be a combination of mechanical effects (such as a rotary apparatus) and electronic circuitry. Static inverters do not use moving parts in the conversion process.