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What are solar panels?

Solar panels, also known as photovoltaic (PV) modules, convert sunlight into electricity. Solar panels can produce electricity on cloudy days, but not as much as on a sunny day. If you are paying more than $100 each month in utility bills, you can likely save money with solar power.

Solar panel systems (or solar energy systems) use Photovoltaic (PV) cells to convert sunlight into direct current (DC) electricity. Solar panel cells are made from silicon and were originally developed to power spacecraft and space stations. The cells are wired together in panels that typically measure about 4 feet by 1 foot by 1.5 inches deep. A group of solar panels mounted on a frame is called a solar panel solar panel array.

To provide electricity reliably and safely, solar panel system components typically include an inverter, wiring and optional battery storage and charge controller. Most solar panel systems convert the DC electricity that is produced by the solar panels into the common household form of electricity, alternating current (AC), by using an inverter. AC electricity can then be used to power your appliances directly, or feed back to an electric utility's grid. The DC electricity can also be stored directly in batteries for later use. In this case, to prevent overcharging or discharging of the batteries, a charge controller is used.

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