How Solar PV System Works?

John McEvoy
May 21, 2024

Are you tired of rising energy costs and looking for a sustainable alternative? In Ireland, many homeowners and businesses are turning to solar energy as a reliable and cost-effective solution. 

In this blog, we'll explore how a Solar Photovoltaic (PV) System utilises the power of the sun to generate electricity. From the basic components of the system to the step-by-step process of converting sunlight into usable power, we’ll cover everything you need to know to understand the workings of this green technology. 

So, let’s get right into it!

What is a Solar PV System?

A Solar PV System, short for Solar Photovoltaic System, is a way to make electricity using sunlight, which is a clean and endless source of energy. This system uses special panels, called solar panels, that you often see on rooftops. These panels have a special ability to catch sunlight and turn it into electricity.

This electricity can then be used to power lights, appliances, and even machines in homes and businesses.

Why is a Solar PV System Needed?

Solar PV systems are needed for several reasons:

Saves Money: 

Once you set up solar panels, the electricity you make is nearly free. This can save a lot of money on your electricity bills in the long run.

Clean Energy: 

Solar power is much cleaner compared to burning fossil fuels like coal and gas. Using solar panels helps cut down on harmful pollution and reduces our impact on the climate.

Energy Independence: 

By generating your own electricity from the sun, you are less dependent on big power companies and less affected by rising energy prices.

Low Maintenance: 

Solar PV systems are also great because they don’t need a lot of care or repair to keep working properly.

Overall, solar PV systems not only help in saving money but also contribute to a cleaner environment and a more stable and independent energy supply for homes and businesses.

How Solar PV Systems Exactly Work?

Understanding how a Solar PV System works is quite straightforward. Here's a simple breakdown of the process:

Catching the Sunlight:

The main job of solar panels is to catch sunlight. These panels are made up of many small units called solar cells, usually made from a material that is good at catching sunlight.

Converting Sunlight to Electricity:

When sunlight hits the solar cells, it causes them to produce electricity. This electricity is in a form called DC (Direct Current), which is not the type of electricity typically used in homes.

Changing the Electricity Type:

To turn the DC electricity into the type of electricity that can be used in your house (AC or Alternating Current), the system uses a device called an inverter.

Using the Electricity:

After the inverter changes the electricity to AC, it’s sent through your home’s wiring, letting you power your lights, appliances, and other devices just like you would with power from the electricity company.

Extra Electricity:

If your solar panels make more electricity than you need, the extra power can be sent back to the electricity grid. Some places even pay you for this extra electricity, which can help save more money on energy costs.

That’s basically how a Solar PV System works to provide clean, renewable energy to your home by simply using the power of sunlight!

How Do Different Components of a Solar PV System Work?

A Solar PV System is made up of several key parts, each playing an important role in turning sunlight into usable electricity. Here’s how each component works:

Solar Panels: 

These are the most visible parts of the system. Solar panels are made up of many smaller units called solar cells, usually made from a material that can capture sunlight.

When sunlight hits these cells, they generate a form of energy that can be converted into electricity.


This is the device that takes the energy produced by the solar panels and changes it into a form that your home can use.

The energy from solar panels is not ready to use straight away; it needs to be converted from direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC), which is the type of electricity used in most homes.

Mounting Systems: 

These are the structures that hold the solar panels in place, either on your roof or on the ground. They need to be strong and stable to make sure the panels are well-secured and angled correctly to catch the most sunlight.

Battery Storage (optional): 

Some solar systems include batteries to store electricity for use when the sun isn’t shining, like during the night or on cloudy days. This can help keep your home powered 24/7 without needing electricity from the grid.

Charge Controller: 

This component is important if your system has batteries. The charge controller regulates the voltage from the solar panels, helping to safely charge the batteries without overcharging them, which can extend their life.

Disconnect Switches: 

These are safety features that allow you to turn off your solar system. They are used when you need to do any maintenance or in emergencies to make sure the system is completely shut down and safe to handle.

Wiring and Electrical Connections: 

All parts of your solar PV system are connected with wiring. This wiring carries the electricity from the solar panels to the inverter and from the inverter to your home’s electrical panel.

These components work together to make sure that the sunlight your roof captures is efficiently turned into electricity that’s ready to use in your home.

What Maintenance and Monitoring is Required for the Solar System?

Keeping your solar PV system running smoothly involves some basic maintenance and regular monitoring. Here’s how you can ensure your system performs at its best:

Basic Maintenance Requirements

Solar panels require very little maintenance, which is one of the great benefits of solar energy. Generally, it’s important to keep them clean and free of debris, such as leaves or dirt, which can block sunlight and reduce efficiency.

Many people simply rely on rainfall to naturally clean their panels, but in dry or particularly dusty areas, you might need to wash them with water occasionally. Checking for any damage or wear to the panels or the mounting equipment is also a good practice, especially after severe weather.

Monitoring System Performance

Monitoring your solar system’s performance is important to ensuring you are getting the most out of your investment. Many solar systems come with monitoring software that allows you to track the amount of electricity they produce. You can usually access this data through a mobile app or a web-based dashboard provided by the system's manufacturer or installer.

This software not only shows how much power you’re generating but can also alert you to any issues or inefficiencies in the system. Some systems also integrate with home energy management systems, giving you detailed insights into your overall energy consumption and production.

By regularly checking the condition of your panels and using monitoring tools, you can maximise the lifespan and efficiency of your solar PV system, ensuring it continues to provide clean energy and save on electricity costs for years to come.


We've explored the remarkable technology of Solar PV Systems, explaining how they use the sun's power to provide clean, renewable energy. From the panels that capture sunlight to the inverter that converts this energy into usable power, each component plays an important role. By choosing solar energy, you're opting for a cost-effective and environmentally friendly solution that offers independence from traditional energy sources.

All set to make the switch to solar power? Contact HP Roofing today to learn more about installing a Solar PV System on your property. Let's utilise the sun's endless energy together and power your home or business sustainably!

Contact us today!

HP Roofing is a team of residential & commercial roofing contractors and solar panel installation experts in Dublin. We offer a wide range of services, from roof repairs and replacements to solar PV installations and maintenance, with quality beyond expectations.
Call HP Roofing 01 453 3366

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the financial benefits of solar energy?

Solar energy can significantly reduce your electricity bills and protect against future rate increases. It can be a smart investment regardless of your location due to its potential savings.

What are the environmental benefits of solar energy?

Solar power reduces greenhouse gas emissions and decreases pollutants like sulfur dioxide and particulate matter, which can lead to health issues.

How does solar impact my property values?

Homes with solar energy systems sell for more than homes without them, particularly if the solar system is owned rather than leased.

Will my system need maintenance?

Solar PV systems are generally low maintenance. Regular inspections are advised to ensure optimal performance, but frequent cleaning may not be necessary unless specific environmental conditions exist.

How long does the equipment last?

Solar panels can last for 25 years or more, often still producing at least 80% of their initial output by the end of this period. Inverters may need replacing every 10 to 15 years.

Can solar panels be recycled?

Yes, solar panels can be recycled, and the industry is developing more effective recycling methods to reuse materials from old panels.

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*FYI, parts of this blog post were drafted by artificial technlogy. But rest assured, it's been thoroughly researched, edited, reviewed and me & my team.
Founder @ HPRoofing

The founder of HP Roofing, with years of industry experience, providing top-notch roofing and solar panel services for residential and commercial properties in Dublin, delivering high-quality and customised solutions that combine both aesthetic appeal and durable functionality.