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Major Components in a Photovoltaic System Design

By Ryan Mayfield

Part of Photovoltaic Design & Installation For Dummies Cheat Sheet

New to photovoltaic (PV) systems (solar panels)? Haven’t a clue what their major components are? Here’s your chance to discover what goes into both grid-direct and battery-based PV system designs.

Following are the major components of a grid-direct system:

  • PV modules (which together form a PV array) with racking

  • A grid-direct inverter (listed to UL1741)

  • A combiner or junction box

  • A DC disconnect

  • An AC disconnect (possibly placed at the utility point of connection)

  • A meter to record the energy produced by the PV array

  • A utility interconnection across the circuit breaker inside the MDP

The major parts of a battery-based system include the following:

  • PV modules (which together form a PV array) with racking

  • A battery-based inverter (listed to UL1741)

  • A combiner box

  • A charge controller

  • A battery bank

  • Battery metering

  • DC overcurrent protection

  • An AC bypass switch and disconnects

  • DC disconnects

  • A main load center

  • A DC load panel located near the battery bank and DC disconnects (optional)

  • A generator (optional)