Solar FAQ

Illuminating Solar Speak: A Comprehensive Glossary of Terms in the Solar Industry

Stepping into the world of solar energy can be an enlightening experience, but the abundance of technical jargon might leave you feeling a bit lost. Fear not! This glossary is your key to deciphering the language of the solar industry.

Photovoltaic (PV):

Photovoltaic refers to the technology that converts sunlight into electricity. Solar panels are comprised of photovoltaic cells, where the photovoltaic effect generates an electric current when exposed to sunlight.

Solar Cell:

The basic building block of a solar panel. A solar cell is a semiconductor device that converts sunlight into electricity through the photovoltaic effect.

Crystalline Silicon:

The most common material used in solar cells. It can be in the form of monocrystalline silicon (single crystal structure) or polycrystalline silicon (multiple crystal structures).

Thin-Film Solar Cells:

An alternative to crystalline silicon, thin-film solar cells use materials like cadmium telluride (CdTe), copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS), or amorphous silicon. They are flexible and often used in specific applications.


Converts the direct current (DC) electricity generated by solar panels into alternating current (AC) electricity, which is used in most household appliances and the electrical grid.

Net Metering:

A billing arrangement where solar panel owners receive credit for excess electricity they generate and feed back into the grid. This credit can be used when their solar panels don't produce enough power, such as during nighttime.

Solar Array:

A collection of interconnected solar panels that work together to generate electricity. Arrays can vary in size, from small residential installations to large utility-scale projects.

Bifacial Solar Cells:

Solar cells designed to capture sunlight from both the front and rear sides. They can enhance energy yield by utilizing reflected sunlight from surrounding surfaces.

Solar Efficiency:

The percentage of sunlight that a solar panel can convert into electricity. Higher efficiency panels produce more electricity for a given amount of sunlight.

Solar Insolation:

A measure of solar radiation energy received on a given surface area in a specific time period. It's a key factor in assessing the feasibility of solar power installations in a particular location.

Solar Thermal:

A technology that uses sunlight to generate heat, often for producing steam to drive turbines and generate electricity.

Off-Grid System:

A solar power system that operates independently of the electrical grid, typically using energy storage solutions like batteries.

Solar Rebates and Incentives:

Financial incentives provided by governments or utilities to encourage the installation of solar panels. These can include tax credits, rebates, and performance-based incentives.

Armed with this solar glossary, you're ready to navigate the solar landscape with confidence. Whether you're considering a rooftop solar installation or simply curious about the technology powering our renewable energy future, understanding these terms will empower you to engage in informed conversations and make sustainable choices. Welcome to the bright world of solar energy!

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