COMMON TERMS AND INFORMATION
Solar power is the technology of harnessing usable energy from the sun. Solar panels are made up of photovoltaic (PV) cells. A module is a group of cells electrically connected and packaged in one frame. PV cells are composed of special materials called semiconductors, most commonly silicon. When energy in the form of heat from the sun is added to the silicon, it causes electrons to break free from their orbit around the nuclei of the silicon atoms. These atoms are left with a positive charge, while the electrons carry a negative charge. The electrons, or free carriers, carry an electrical current. The free carriers roam around until they find atoms lacking an electron and then fall into the orbit of these atoms. The electric field surrounding the solar cells acts as a diode allowing electrons to flow in a certain direction. This flow is an electrical current. When using metal on the top and bottom of the cells, we can direct that current to be usable outside of the panel.
The use of batteries requires a charge controller. The charge controller ensures that the batteries are not overcharged during the day or drained too much at night. Once the battery has been drained down to a certain level, the controller will not allow more current to be drained in order to protect the battery from damage.