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Glossary

AAE: Autoridad de Asuntos Energéticos (Energy Affairs Authority of Puerto Rico)

AEE: Autoridad de Energía Eléctrica, (the Electrical Power Authority of Puerto Rico, also known as the Puerto Rico Electrical Power Authority, PREPA)

AC Disconnect: Allows for a grid connected system to be disconnected from the utility. Required by the utility as a safety precaution; in the case of a utility power outage the utility wants to be absolutely sure that a renewable energy system will not send power onto the grid where lineworkers may be working.

Active Solar:  Technologies that convert solar energy into usable electricity, light and heat. Photovoltaics and solar hot water systems are example of active solar technologies.

Alternating Current (AC):  Electric current in which the movement of electric charge periodically reverses direction. This is the kind of electric current that powers things in your home.

Ampere (A) or Amp: The unit for electric current.

Array: A group of Solar Modules connected in such a way that will be capable of producing the desired PV energy at a particular voltage and ampere rating

Azimuth:  The direction a solar electric system faces (north, south, east, west). This also referred to as orientation.

Balance of System (BOS) All of the parts of a solar electric system excluding the solar modules and the inverter. Balance of system usually includes items like racking, wires, conduit, and safety disconnects.

Commercial Power Purchase Agreement: See 'power purchase agreement'. Commercial PPA's can enable businesses, schools, governments and utilities to benefit from clean, renewable energy.

Current: The flow of electric charge between two points having a difference in potential (voltage)

DC Disconnect Allows the DC power producer (PV system) to be disconnected from the inverter and home. The DC Disconnect allows for safe maintenance of the system of the battery bank (if one is installed).

Direct Current (DC): Electric current in which the electric flow moves in one direction only. This is a type of low voltage electrical current and is what is produced by solar cells. DC current must be converted into AC current before you can use it in your home.

Disconnect or Safety Disconnect Switch: A switch used to manually connect or disconnect components of a PV system for safety or service

Efficiency:  The ratio of output power to input power expressed as a percentage. Solar modules are given an efficiency rating.

Electric Current:  A flow of electrons; electricity, see Amperes

Electrical Grid:  A system of power distribution lines covering a large area, owned and operated by a public utility that distributes electricity to homes, businesses and other buildings.

Energy:  The amount of work that can be performed by a force

Flat Plate Collector:  A solar thermal collection device in which heat collection takes place through a thin absorber sheet backed by an array of tubing that is placed within an insulated casing.

Gigawat (GW) One billion watts. One million kilowatts. One thousand megawatts.
Grid:  See 'electrical grid'

Grid Parity The point at which solar electricity is equal to or cheaper than grid power (power from the utility company).

Grid-Tied:  A solar system that is connected to the power grid and users the grid as it's energy storage. A grid-tied solar system does not necessarily use batteries.

Ground Mount:  A solar PV electrical system that is mounted on a structure on the ground rather than on a roof.

Insolation:  The measure of solar radiation energy received on a given surface area in a given time. Insolation comes from Incident Solar Radiation.

Interconnection: The process of hooking up a solar electrical system to the power grid.

Inverter: A device that converts direct current (DC) into alternating current (AC) so the Owner can use the solar electricity in his premises. Inverters are part of solar electric systems. They also allow the connection into the Utility Grid

Junction Box:  An electrical box designed to be a safe enclosure in which to make proper electrical connections. On PV modules this is where PV strings are connected.

Kilowatt (KW): One thousand watts.

Kilowatt Hour (KWh):  A unit of energy consisting of 1,000 watts acting over a period of one hour. For example, ten 100-watt light bulbs running for one hour use one kilowatt hour of energy.

Load: Anything in an electrical circuit that draws power when the circuit is turned on.

Megawatt (MW): One million Watts. One thousand Kilowatts.

Micro-inverter: A photovoltaic micro-inverter is a device that converts direct current (DC) from a single solar module to alternating current (AC). A micro-inverter is different from an inverter in that is is converting current from one panel whereas an inverter converts current from an entire solar array.

Module See 'photovoltaic module'

Monocrystalline:  A solar panel that is made from a large, single silicon crystal and has a patchwork pattern. Monocrystalline modules are more efficient than polycrystalline modules

Net Metering: See Section dedicated to this subject.

Net-Zero: This is the condition in which at the end of the Utility billing cycle (usually by month), the total electrical energy used by the User equals the total electrical energy produced by himself; thus no payments for energy consumption would have to be made. There are some basic minimum charges that the Utility Company would still make regardless of the consumption.

Photovoltaic Module: A packaged interconnected assembly of photovoltaic cells, also known as solar cells. The photovoltaic module, known more commonly as the Solar Panel, is then used as the basic component in a larger photovoltaic system (see Array) in order to provide renewable electricity for commercial and residential applications.

Power Purchase Agreement (PPA): A special Contract between a Utility Company and an Independent Energy Producer in which it is established the parameters such as the amount of Power to be provided to the grid, the instantaneous Load Demand capacity, the Time of Day Generating Profile, the Net Availability of this capacity as well as the amount of moneys that will be paid to the Generator for such energy produced. This is usually negotiated on a per-case basis.

PREPA: See AEE above

User: Any natural person or legal entity that is connected to a Utility Grid



Home
About Us
Solar Photovoltaic Systems
What you need to know about Solar PV Energy in Puerto Rico!
Wind Energy
Net Metering Systems
Energy Savings Solutions
Other Tax Credits & Incentives
Safety Considerations
Glossary
Copyright Notice
Contact Us