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Momentum as a cost effective way to incorporate solar electricity into our everyday lives. Now we can take advantage of available solar energy while still enjoying the safety net of the utility grid.

How Solar Panel or PV Modules Work

In very basic terms, a solar panel (PV module) is a device that will produce a flow of electricity under sunlight. This electricity can be used to charge batteries and, with the aid of an inverter, it can power normal household electrical devices, or "loads". PV modules can also be used in systems without batteries. Most solar panels (properly called "modules") are framed in aluminum, topped with tempered glass, and sealed by a waterproof backing. Sandwiched between the glass and backing layers are the photo-reactive cells themselves, often made of silicon. On the back of the module is a junction box that may or may not have two cables coming out of it. If the junction box has no cables, it can be opened to access the electrical terminals where wires can be attached to conduct the generated electricity away from the module. If there are cables already in place, the junction box is usually sealed and not user-accessible. Sealed junction boxes are more common.

There are lots of ways to make use of solar electricity. One of the simplest is to charge small electronic devices, like cell phones and music players, with lightweight, portable PV modules. These small battery-charging solar panels are even being integrated into backpacks and clothing for maximum conveniences. Solar panels can be used individually or wired together to form a Solar Array. For larger electrical loads, there are two main types of systems for providing electrical power to homes, cabins and offices, etc: Stand-alone battery based. systems (also called 'off-grid' systems) and Grid-tied systems (also known as Utility-interactive). You'll want to decide which system is best for your needs by reading more about both.