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Solar Glossary

Learn important solar terms and what they mean.

Ground Mount

In-ground frame built for your solar panels that tilts them up to an optimal angle (usually 30 degrees) and faces south to optimize production and efficiency. The frame can be built out of galvanised steel or aluminum, and is attached to the ground via concrete foundation.


Process of tying your solar (PV) system into the utility grid.

Kilowatt-Hour (kWh)

A measure of electrical energy equivalent to a power consumption of 1,000 watts for 1 hour.


Converts direct current (DC) from a single solar panel to alternating current (AC). Each solar panel has its own individual microinverter. The output from several microinverters is combined and fed in to the electrical grid.

Monocrystalline Solar Panel

Monocrystalline silicon is used in the manufacturing of high performance solar cells. Single crystal modules are composed of cells cut from a piece of continuous crystal. The material forms a cylinder which is sliced into thin circular wafers. Monocrystalline panels are longer lasting and more efficient then thin-film and polycrystalline. These are the only type of solar panels that our company uses.


An individual solar panel that consists of multiple solar cells, wiring, a frame, and tempered glass.

Net Meter

A new utility meter that replaces your current electric meter when you have a solar (PV) system installed. Net metering allows residential and commercial customers who generate their own electricity from solar power to feed back into the grid. The new meter monitors and tracks your solar production and usage.


North American Board of Certified Energy Practicitioners. The most respected and well-established national certification organization for renewable energy professionals in the country.


Living in a self-sufficient manner without reliance on your utility companies. Off-the-grid homes are autonomous; they do not rely on municipal water supply, sewer, natural gas, electrical power grid, or similar utility services. A large, solar charged battery bank would be required to support and store the necessary energy used to power a home.


A method of generating electricity by converting sunlight into direct current using semiconducting materials (silicon) that exhibit the photovoltaic effect.

Polycrystalline solar panel

Solar cells that are made from similar silicon material except that instead of being grown into a single crystal, they are melted and poured into a mold. These panels are less efficient, but are also less expensive than monocrystallines.

Power Purchase Agreement (PPA)

Much like the lease, the customer is paying for the electricity generated by the solar system, at a lower price per kilowatt-hour than the utilty rate. Power purchase agreements usually require $0 out of pocket, but have a 20 year term, with compounded annual escalators built in.

PV Disconnect

A manually operable switch (or circuit breaker) to isolate the inverter from the PV power source.

Racking System

Hardware components (aluminum rails, L-brackets, lag bolts, etc) that attach solar panels to the roof of your home

Solar Array

Solar modules arranged in a group to capture maximum amount of sun light to convert into usable electricity

Solar Azimuth Angle

Horizontal direction expressed as the angular distance between the direction of a fixed point (north heading) and the direction of the sun. The sun is the point of interest, the reference plane is the horizon, and the reference vector points north. The azimuth is the angle between the north vector and the perpendicular projection of the sun down onto the horizon.

Solar Cell

A semiconductor device that converts the energy of sunlight into direct electricity. Most standard solar panels are made up of 60 cells.

Solar Lease

Solar company replaces utility costs for the amount of electricity generated by the system with a fixed monthly price. The majority of leases are 20 year agreements, where the homeowner agrees to buy their electricity from the lease provider. Most leasing solar contracts have built in escalators that compound annually for the electrictity provided by the system.

Solar Monitoring

Web based monitoring software that tracks your solar system’s performance data in real time. It will highlight your daily, monthly, and life time production for the useful life of the system (25+ years). We actively provide daily monitoring and support for your system behind the scenes, and are alerted if any problems have occurred.


Solar Renewable Energy Certificate. Tradable credits that represent all the clean energy benefits of electricity generated from a solar system. Each time a solar system generates 1,000 kWhs (1MWh) of electricity, an SREC is issued which is sold or traded separately from the power.

String Inverter

Converts the variable direct current (DC) output of a photovoltaic (PV) solar system into alternating current (AC)

Thin-film panels

These types of solar panels use a much thinner level of photovoltaic material. The primary objective of these solar panels is to reduce the overall cost of manufacturing. These thin module prices are much lower in price, but they also have a lower module efficiency (roughly 1/2 of monocrystalline panels).

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