Solar Energy Terminology Glossary

Dad holding child in arms and pointing at solar panels installed on the roof of a house
There are many technical terms used in the world of solar energy. Learn 30 common solar industry terms and their definitions.

There are many technical terms used in the world of solar energy. Understanding the essential components of systems can help you know how best to invest in solar for your home or commercial property, as well as how to use your new system from Holu Hou Energy. Below are 30 common solar industry terms and their definitions.

Alternating Current (AC): AC is the electrical current type that systems and devices inside homes or businesses can use. Solar systems use an inverter to convert direct current (DC) to AC.

Array: A group of solar panels working in a system is called an array. Arrays function as a single power unit despite multiple parts.

Balance of System (BOS): A term used to refer to all the components needed to install a solar set-up. BOS does not usually include solar panels; it includes auxiliary systems like inverters, cables, switches, fuses, installation equipment, and more.

Direct Current (DC): When solar cells absorb sunlight, they produce a direct electrical current. The produced DC is converted to AC for household or commercial use.

Electrical Grid: Also known as a power or utility grid, the electrical grid delivers electricity between the generation sites of power suppliers and consumers. Many solar systems use a hybrid system of off-grid and grid-connected systems, relying on inverters and batteries while maintaining a connection to the grid.

Inverters: Inverters are the components that convert direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC). Many solar energy systems use central inverters, however micro-inverters are growing in popularity. Instead of a few large inverters, micro-inverters are individual units installed on each solar panel.

Kilowatt-Hour (kWh): A kWH is a measurement of electrical energy generated or consumed over time, equivalent to the consumption of one kilowatt of power for one hour.

Kilowatts: A kilowatt is a power unit equal to 1,000 watts, which measures the rate at which energy is generated or used at a specific moment.

Load: Load most commonly refers to the amount of power household or commercial devices and appliances consume.

Lithium-Ion Battery: A type of battery that utilizes lithium ion to store energy. Lithium-ion batteries are popular in solar energy systems due to their small size and long lifespan.

MDU (Multi-Dwelling Unit): An MDU is a term for any property type that has multiple housing units in a building or series of buildings, such as apartments, duplexes, or townhouses.

Module: A module refers to a single solar panel or battery that is part of the entire system.

Monitoring System: A system that allows remote access to check the performance of solar energy systems. Monitoring systems provide information such as the amount of energy being used, which appliances are using power, battery levels, and electricity rates. Holu Hou Energy utilizes a monitoring system called the HoluPower Smart Panel.

Net Metering: Net metering is a technique for selling excess solar power to the electrical grid. Consumers take advantage of their extra generated power by exchanging it for compensation, usually through electric bill credit.

Photovoltaic (PV) Cells: A synonym for solar cells.

Photovoltaic Effect: The process of a solar cell generating electricity from sunlight.

Renewable Energy: Energy generated from naturally replenishing sources, such as the sun, wind, or water.

Resilience/Energy Security: Energy security and resilience is having a system in place to have reliable energy, even when the grid is down or there are extreme weather conditions. Having a solar set-up for your property is a method of being energy secure.

Solar Batteries: A form of solar energy storage, solar batteries house excess energy generated by solar panels. Holu Hou Energy offers a 3rd generation energy storage system called HoluPower xP Energy Storage System.

Solar Carport:  A raised structure with solar panels installed on top of it. Solar carports offer shade as well as optimize space for both parking and solar production.

Solar Cell: A device that makes up a solar panel and converts light into electricity when exposed to light particles (photons).

Solar Efficiency: The amount of sunlight energy solar panels can convert to electricity.

Solar Energy: Solar energy is the light and heat from the sun that can be converted into electricity usable in your home or commercial building.

Solar Farm: Also known as solar parks or solar power plants, solar farms are an extensive collection of ground-mounted connected solar panels.

Solar Installer: An individual or company that safely and properly installs solar equipment.

Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC): The ITC is a federal incentive to purchase and install a solar energy system for your home or business. The ITC reduces the amount you may owe on your taxes.

Solar Panel: The solar panel is the main structure of a solar energy system and is responsible for converting sunlight to electricity. Solar panels are made of a collection of solar cells.

System Modularity: The ability to change parts of a solar system without replacing the entire system, offering scalability and flexibility. Holu Hou allows for easily adding batteries, panels, and inverters to your existing solar system to meet changing needs.

Turn-Key Renewable Energy: A turn-key energy solution is a “package” that includes all the components and installation to make renewable energy work for your property. Holu Hou Energy offers turn-key solutions that fit your needs and budget so you can go solar faster.

Watts (W): A unit of power used to measure the rate of energy output rate by a solar energy system. There are 1,000 watts in a kilowatt.

Interested in learning more about solar or adding a solar energy system to your property? Contact Holu Hou Energy today to get started!