A grid-connected PV power system is an electricity generating solar PV power system that is connected to the utility grid. A grid-connected PV system consists of solar panels, one or several inverters, a power conditioning unit and grid connection equipment. They range from small residential and commercial rooftop systems to large utility-scale solar power stations. Unlike stand-alone power systems, a grid-connected system rarely includes an integrated battery solution, as they are still very expensive. When conditions are right, the grid-connected PV system supplies the excessive power, beyond consumption by the connected load, to the utility grid.
Solar energy gathered by photovoltaic solar panels, intended for delivery to a power grid, must be conditioned, or processed for use, by a grid-connected inverter. Fundamentally, an inverter changes the DC input voltage from the PV to AC voltage for the grid. This inverter sits between the solar array and the grid, draws energy from each, and may be a large stand-alone unit or may be a collection of small inverters, each physically attached to individual solar panels. The inverter must monitor grid voltage, waveform, and frequency. One reason for monitoring is if the grid strays too far out of its nominal specifications, the inverter must not pass along any solar energy. An inverter connected to a malfunctioning power line will automatically disconnect in accordance with safety rules, for example UL1741, which vary by jurisdiction. Another reason for the inverter to monitor the grid is because for normal operation the inverter must synchronize with the grid waveform, and produce a voltage slightly higher than the grid itself, in order to enable energy to smoothly flow outward from the solar array.