Photovoltaic modules produce direct current (DC) electricity. This is convenient if the goal is to charge a battery for energy storage in an off-grid system, but our electrical grid and most of our day-to-day electrical devices operate on alternating current (AC) electricity. Therefore, in order to convert the DC electricity into AC electricity, a device called an inverter is installed as a part of the photovoltaic system.

Wiring Photovoltaics and the Photovoltaic Array

A photovoltaic ("PV") array describes the part of a PV system that converts solar energy into electrical energy. While there are other critically important components of the complete photovoltaic system - most significantly the inverter in all grid-connected systems - the array comprises all of the electrically-connected photovoltaic material.

P-N Junction

The p-n junction is the place where two different types of semiconductor material - the n-type and the p-type - meet within a semiconductor substrate. It is the properties of this junction that create separation between the negative and positive layers of the photovoltaic cell, creating a voltage across the cell and separate negative and positive terminals. 


The term photovoltaic (often shortened to "PV") is used to describe materials that are capable of converting electromagnetic energy - or light - into electrical energy.