The sun shines down onto photovoltaic (PV) cells. These cells are made of semiconductor layers of crystalline silicon, and they are arranged into panels.

The semiconductor layers are a combination of both positive and negative layers, and they are connected through a junction. Basically, as the sun shines down, the semiconductor material absorbs the light, transferring the light’s energy to the PV cell. This energy knocks electrons loose, and they move from one layer to the other, thereby producing an electric current. This is a direct current (DC). The energy created is then generally either stored in a battery bank for later use or sent directly to an inverter, depending on the set up and type of system.

For regular consumer use, and alternating current (AC) is needed – 230 volt AC powered home appliances require AC electricity. This is where an inverter/UPS comes in. The inverter/UPS takes the direct current and, in simplified terms, runs it through a transformer or a PCU and converts into AC.