Solar Energy Glossary

solar glossary

The Earth’s natural resources are becoming less abundant each and every day, meaning solar energy is becoming more important to our future than ever before. Learn about and explore these commonly used terms and definitions that frequent the solar and electrical industries.

Alternative Energy

Alternative energy is any form of energy that doesn’t consume natural resources or come from a source that would harm the environment.

Electrical Grid

The electrical grid, also known as the power grid, is a complex system that has been around for over 100 years, and it provides the electricity needed to power everything from industrial machines to household appliances.


A gigawatt is one billion watts. To generate this much power would require over three million PV modules on over three acres of land.

Kilowatt-hours (kWh)

Kilowatt-hours (kWh) measure the total amount of energy that an appliance uses in kilowatts over the course of one hour.

Net Metering

Simply put, Net Metering is a billing system that allows you to bank credits with the power grid when your solar system over-produces and then use those credits when you under-produce.

Photovoltaic (PV)

When sunlight hits the solar panels, they interact with photovoltaic cells, or PV cells for short. These cells are often incredibly thin and usually produce about a watt or two of power each.

Renewable Energy

Renewable energy comes from sources that are continuously replenished, or permanently accessible. Solar power was the first renewable energy source to be discovered in 1839.

Solar Array

A solar array begins with solar cells, also known as photovoltaic cells, which are grouped together in order to create solar panels.

Solar Battery Storage

Solar battery storage is a battery device that is attached to an existing solar energy system and holds residual energy.

Solar Energy

Solar energy is a form of energy that is obtained directly from sunlight. It is harnessed by using solar panels.

Solar Inverter

When the sunlight hits your solar panels, the PV cells create an electrical current that runs straight to your solar power inverter. Here, the DC power generated is converted into AC power.

Solar PPA

A Solar Purchase Power Agreement (PPA) is a financial arrangement between a party looking to purchase solar power for their property, and a party providing the equipment necessary to produce solar energy.