Direct Current

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Solar electricity is not like ordinary household electrical current that you use to power your home. That is because solar PVs produce direct current (DC) electricity.

Direct current electricity is a steady flow of electrons such as you find in batteries in a flashlight. It means the electrical current is flowing in only one direction in a circuit.

Most appliances and electronic devices in our homes consume alternating current (AC) electricity. This is because direct current electricity (as discovered by Thomas Edison) cannot be transmitted efficiently over long distances.

In order to use conventional electronics, a solar homeowner must install a device, called an inverter, that converts the DC electricity that is produced by PV panels into AC. An inverter converts the 12-volt or 24-volt DC electricity into 110-volt AC electricity.


Some solar-powered homes also leave some DC electricity for electronics that use DC electricity.

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