An Introduction to PV Cells, Panels, and Arrays
Based in Commerce City, Colorado, Alan Courtemanche joined Standard Solar in 2015 as a superintendent, and has transitioned to quality inspector, and now senior quality manager. In this role, he is responsible for various aspects of design and construction. While advancing in the renewable energy industry, Alan Courtemanche has gained experience in solar energy installations, passing boththe NABCEP solar photovoltaic (PV) installer exam, and system inspector exam.
Photovoltaic technology is used to harness sunlight and convert the energy into usable electricity. It comes in several forms, though individual PV devices are called cells. The average cell is a physically small object capable of generating between one and two watts of energy. However, chains of PV cells can produce much more power. These collections of cells typically take the form of solar modules or panels.
Modules provide more power than individual cells, but some users may have greater electrical needs. Multiple modules and panels can be linked together to form an array. An array can subsequently be connected to another array or directly to the electrical grid, completing the PV system.
Due to the composite nature of solar device construction, solar power can be used to meet a wide range of energy needs. Individual cells can act as solar batteries, while the average 1,500-square-foot home requires between 15 and 18 solar panels.