When talking about solar PV people will most commonly speak about solar panels, having solar panels installed. They are of course the hub of the matter, but there are multiple other components which go into a solar PV system.

It’s important to know all the elements of your solar PV system, to ensure that it is properly looked after, and to have a better understanding of the price before you commit to such a large investment.

useful type of solar power systems are solar PV

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Solar PV – Essential

These are the must have parts of a solar PV system, without which you won’t be generating any of that green electricity

Solar Panel

The most important part of any solar PV array. Solar panels consist of individual cells of photovoltaic material which convert sunlight directly into electricity, arranged into larger panels.

Solar panels used in most domestic and commercial uses consist of every monocrystalline, polycrystalline, or thin-film technology. These are made from a single crystal per cell, multiple crystals melted together, and layers of photovoltaic material respectively.

The different types of panels come with different price points, power outputs, and levels of efficiency.

Solar panels are a significant investment


Solar panels produce direct current (DC) electricity when struck by photons. However, in order for that electricity to be of any use, it has to be converted to alternating current (AC) before it can be used by household appliances.

The inverter does exactly what the name suggests, turning DC electricity into AC so that it can be used in your home

There are multiple different types of inverters. String Inverters which are hooked to the entire array of solar panels, microinverters attached to each individual panel, and hybrid inverters which work with solar battery storage.

Solar Inverter

Smart Meter

Unless you’re not connected to the utility grid, then your solar PV system is going to require the installation of a smart meter.

A smart meter measures how much electricity you use like any regular electricity meter, but does so far more accurately. Among their advantages, they measure how much grid electricity you are using, and how much your solar panels produce. No more sending in meter readings or getting inaccurate estimated bills.

Going in the other direction, a smart meter also measures how much excess electricity your solar panels are pumping back into the grid, ensuring you get paid the proper tariff fee for it.

smart meters are being installed in homes across Ireland

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Solar PV – Optional

Many people are happy with just having solar PV panels installed to produce electricity for their property. But beyond that, there are other components which can be purchased to squeeze a little extra out of the system to meet your needs.

Power Diverter

A Solar Power Diverter takes excess electricity produced during the peak output of your solar panels, and uses it for the immersion in your hot water cylinder.

With a power diverter installed, your solar PV panels are not only able to produce household electricity, but also hot water.

Solar Power Diverter

Solar Battery

Excess electricity which is not used by your property at the time will otherwise be dumped back into the grid, now for a tariff fee. But if you’d rather use that electricity in your property, it can be stored in a solar battery.

Solar Battery Storage is a simple concept. It is a battery bank which is used to hold electricity from the peak output of your solar PV system, so that it can be used later on when they are no longer making power.

excess electricity is diverted to your battery to charge it to capacity

Charge Controller

The Solar Charge Controller sits between your solar panels and any battery storage system. Its job is to regulate the voltage of the electricity coming into your battery, and to ensure that it doesn’t get overcharged as it approaches full capacity.

Without a charge controller, it would be easy for a battery to become damaged by unregulated power flowing from your solar panels.

Monitoring System

With the cost of investing in a solar PV system for your property, you’ll want to make sure that your panels are performing at their peak, and make sure to keep on top of any issues which might arise. 

A solar monitoring system consists of sensors, the hardware, and a data display platform, the software. It provides information on the output of your solar panels, and often information on other devices connected to the system.

A monitoring system can also be used to keep an eye on the health of your solar panels, and alert you to any issues as they arise.

a data display allowing you to track information about your solar panels

Solar Thermal

Solar thermal collectors are used to produce hot water unlike the electricity made by solar PV systems. They gather heat from sunlight and use it to heat water, or a heat transfer fluid which brings the heat to your hot water cylinder.

There are two main types of technology used for solar thermal systems, flat-plate collectors and evacuated tube collectors.

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