How does a grid-connected solar PV system work?

A grid connected solar system is really very simple. An array of solar panels is fixed somewhere where it receives good sunlight - usually on your roof, although ground-mounted panels in the garden may also be worth considering where you do not have a suitable roof. Solar panels produce DC (direct current) electricity, which is ideal for charging batteries but will not power your household appliances. So a device called an inverter is then used to convert the DC electricity into 240 volts AC (alternating current). The inverter connects to the mains supply via a meter which monitors the total energy produced by the array. Grid-connect inverters are quite sophisticated (and hence expensive) because they have a number of safety features, and have to ensure that the waveform generated matches precisely the waveform of the electricity of the national grid to which it is being connected. Various solar panels can be used in grid-connected applications. The amorphous, flexible adhesive backed panels are great for metal 'standing seam' roofs, though most installations use conventional framed panels, such as the Moser Baer panels. Solar tiles, glass laminates and large panels designed for building integration are also available.