What is AC and DC electricity?

Learn about AC and DC electricity as part of our solar PV system DISCOVER SERIES. Read the first part of the DISCOVER SERIES about solar panels if you haven’t or our second post about solar inverters if you have not. Now back to solar mounting and racks.

  • AC and DC electricity are different from each other

  • Solar panels generate DC electricity

  • Solar inverter is required to convert DC to become AC electricity

Introduction to AC and DC electricity

Alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC) are a form of electrical current. You’ll find that both AC and DC keep appearing in many solar PV articles! And there is a good reason for that, as AC/DC currents are both found in a solar PV system.

Why are AC and DC electricity so important?

Our homes and electrical grids in cities are wired for AC. This is because AC cabling network costs less to build while suffering less losses over distance compared to DC electricity. So most of our electrical appliances work with AC. However, solar PV modules generate electricity in DC. This is due to semiconductor joints characteristics, which are found in solar PV modules, to generate electricity in DC.

combiner box solar pv system 2

How to convert DC to AC electricity?

In order for our electrical appliances to use the electricity generated from solar PV systems, we require a solar inverter to convert DC to AC. Batteries however store energy in DC, so if we were to add a battery storage into a solar PV system design – it would be situated after solar PV panels and before a solar inverter. So that the battery storage gets charged with DC before the solar inverter converts to AC.

Conclusion

With that, we conclude this part of the DISCOVER SERIES on AC and DC electricity. Don’t forget to ask for workmanship warranty if you’re having a solar PV installed. It would be advisable to get an extended warranty or a coverage plan if possible for your solar PV system– it’s worth it. Until next time and thank you for reading!

The views expressed by the author, Michael Leong, are of the author’s own and do not represent the opinions of any entity with which he have been, am now, or will be affiliated.

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