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Some definitions of Alternative Energy terms


  • Alternating current (AC)

    Electric current in which the direction of flow is reversed at frequent intervals. The most common type of household electricity.

  • Ampere or amp (A)

    The unit of measurement for the electric current. One amp is produced by an electric force of 1 volt acting across a resistance of 1 ohm.

  • Ampere-Hour (Ah/AH)

    A measure of the flow of current (in amperes) over one hour; used to measure battery capacity.

  • Annual solar savings

    The amount of energy saved by using a solar system as compared to a nonsolar system.

  • Array -

    An assemblage of individual elements. In a PV system this is the term for the entire collection of solar panels.

  • BIPV -

    Building integrated Photo Voltaics. This term is used to describe Photovoltaic cells and modules designed to be a part of, and blend in with, other building elements. An example would be Solar PV shingles, or Solar PV Standing seam roofing.

  • Charge Controller

    A component of a photovoltaic system that controls the flow of current to and from the battery to protect it from over-charge and over-discharge. The charge controller may also indicate the system operational status.

  • Circuit breaker

    A safety device that shuts off power when it senses too much current.