Solar Power Glossary – Explanations for Key Industry Terms

Residential solar panel system info

Solar Power Glossary – Explanations for Key Industry Terms

If you’re thinking about making the switch to solar power and researching the process, you’ve probably come across a few unfamiliar industry terms. At Nationwide Solar, we’re committed to helping homeowners understand the benefits of going solar, and our team is happy to answer your questions. But this glossary may contain at least some of the information you need.


An array is a group of photovoltaic panels that are wired together. The number of panels in an array depends upon the desired level of energy production.

Balance of System

To generate electricity, an array needs more than solar panels. The balance of system (BOS) refers to the inverter, wiring, mounting racks and other necessary components.

Conversion Efficiency

When used in reference to a solar power system, this term explains how much of the light energy captured by a photovoltaic panel is converted into useable electricity.


Most solar power systems are grid-connected, as that allows for electricity when the sun isn’t shining. Interconnection is the process of getting hooked up to the utility grid.


Photovoltaic panels harness energy from the sun, which comes in the form of DC power. To convert that into the AC power we use in our homes, you need an inverter.


A kilowatt (kW) is a measurement of electrical power equal to 1,000 watts. Kilowatts are typically used to indicate the size of a solar power system.


A kilowatt-hour (kWh) is one hour of energy usage at the rate of 1,000 watts. This measurement is commonly found on utility bills and represents electricity consumption.

Net Metering

Net metering offers a credit or payment for the excess electricity produced by a grid-connected array, which offsets the amount due to the utility company.

Passive Solar

This term refers to specialized home landscaping, construction and design techniques that help optimize energy output without the use of mechanical equipment.

Photovoltaic Cell

A photovoltaic cell is a light-capturing component made of silicon. Solar panels have dozens of cells arranged in a grid and encased by a semiconducting material.

Need More Information?

If you need an explanation of another industry term – or if you’d like more information on making the switch to solar power – the professional team at Nationwide Solar is ready to help.

We offer free, no-obligation consultations to homeowners in Utah, Idaho, Oregon and Washington, and we’ll give you the straight truth about the costs, savings and benefits of going solar. We’re here to meet your needs, and we’re known for our exceptional customer service.

With us, switching to solar power is both easy and affordable. Contact us online or give us a call today!

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