In part 2 of our Solar Glossary series, we’re exploring the hardware and software components that make up a solar power system. You’ll see these terms often when comparing one system to another, so it’s helpful to get to know them. We’re also including here the names of some of the most commonly mentioned Enphase Components, to help you understand what they are and how they fit into the system.
General Solar Components
Array: When you connect multiple solar panels together to form your home’s solar system, that panel collection is called an array, or a solar array.
Ground-mounted solar: A solar system that’s installed on land instead of on a rooftop. You’ll often see these systems used for utility or agricultural uses on a large scale, but can also be used for a home system when a roof-mounted system isn’t possible.
Inverter: Inverters convert the direct current (DC) power generated by solar panels into AC power, which is the kind of energy used to power your home. Inverters are generally large boxes that connect to a home’s electric panel/breaker box.
Microinverter: Like an inverter, a microinverter converts the DC power produced by solar panels into AC power. Pioneered by Enphase, microinverters are small and operate independently. They connect directly to the back of each solar panel on your roof, independent of the series or parallel connection of the solar panels, providing more efficient power production and ensuring all wiring on your rooftop runs safe AC power.
Photovoltaic: Photovoltaic is the phenomenon of conversion of light into electricity using semiconducting materials.
Solar canopies: Solar panel arrays that are raised up off the ground, allowing for the land underneath to be useable for other purposes. (Think parking lots, carports, and even school playgrounds.)
Solar cell: These are the tiny silicon cells that harness light from the sun. Multiple solar cells are connected in series and parallel to form the Solar Panel.
Solar-plus-storage: A solar system that also includes a battery/solar energy storage.
Solar Storage: The collection of excess solar energy that’s stored by a solar battery system for use at a later time (e.g. at night or when Solar PV power available is less than load requirement) or for backup power.
Encharge™ storage system: Encharge is an all-in-one AC-coupled storage system, made up of a combination of multiple battery units and embedded microinverters that form their own independent grid. The Encharge system can be used to start a small or partial system, and combined with multiple units to create backup storage for an entire home. Learn more about Encharge storage system.
Enlighten: The Enphase solar monitoring software used by customers who have an Enphase system installed. With Enlighten’s browser-based or mobile app, you can track your overall energy and per-panel energy production data, monitor your system’s health, and share your data with family and friends — all from a simple, easy-to-use interface. Learn more about Enlighten.
Ensemble™ Technology: This is the energy management system invented by Enphase — and reinventing the way people think about solar technology. Released in 2020, Ensemble technology allows for consistent energy production, usage, and monitoring even when the energy grid is down or nonexistent. Learn more about Ensemble Technology.
Envoy: The brains of the Enphase Home Energy Solution, Envoy collects real-time data from your microinverters and delivers remote updates back out to them, to keep your entire system in constant communication. Learn more about Envoy.
Click here to read part one -Electrical and Solar Energy Definitions, and part three Solar Power Purchase Agreement Definition, and Financial Contract Terms.