Types of Photovoltaic (PV) System


  1. Stand-Alone PV System:
    • A stand-alone PV system operates independently and is not connected to the main electrical grid.
    • It typically includes a PV array, and may optionally incorporate a battery bank for energy storage.
    • The system directly powers end-use appliances, making it suitable for remote locations or areas with limited access to the grid.
  1. Grid-Connected PV System (Including Building-Integrated):
    • A grid-connected PV system is linked to the main electrical grid, allowing for a bidirectional flow of electricity.
    • Excess energy generated by the PV array can be fed back into the grid, often through net metering arrangements where users receive credit for surplus electricity.
    • Building-integrated PV systems seamlessly integrate solar panels into the structure of buildings, such as solar roof tiles or solar windows.
  1. Grid Backup (One-Way Grid-Connected System):
    • In a grid backup system, the PV system is primarily designed to provide power to the end-use appliances, with the grid serving as an auxiliary supply.
    • Feedback to the grid is not allowed, and the PV system is configured to operate independently in the event of grid outages, ensuring continuous power to critical loads.
  1. Grid-Interactive PV System:
    • A grid-interactive PV system allows for both the import and export of electricity between the PV generator and the grid.
    • Excess power generated by the PV array can be supplied to the grid, and electricity can be drawn from the grid when the demand exceeds the PV system’s output.
    • This type of system supports a dynamic exchange of power, providing flexibility and optimizing energy use.

Each type of PV system has its unique characteristics and applications. Stand-alone systems are suitable for off-grid scenarios, while grid-connected and grid-interactive systems offer advantages in terms of flexibility, grid support, and the potential for financial incentives through net metering programs. Understanding these distinctions helps users choose the most appropriate PV system based on their energy needs and location.