A photovoltaic system (or PV system) is a system which uses one or more solar panels to convert sunlight into electricity. It consists of multiple components, including the photovoltaic modules, mechanical and electrical connections and mountings and means of regulating and/or modifying the electrical output.
Due to the low voltage of an individual solar cell (typically ca. 0.5V), several cells are wired in series in the manufacture of a “laminate”. The laminate is assembled into a protective weatherproof enclosure, thus making a photovoltaic module or solar panel. Modules may then be strung together into a photovoltaic array. The electricity generated can be either stored, used directly (island/standalone plant)or fed into a large electricity grid powered by central generation plants (grid-connected/grid-tied plant) or combined with one or many domestic electricity generators to feed into a small grid (hybrid plant). Depending on the type of application, the rest of the system (“balance of system” or “BOS”) consists of different components. The BOS depends on the load profile and the system type. Systems are generally designed in order to ensure the highest energy yield for a given investment.