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Grid-connected system

Grid-connected system
Main article: Grid-connected photovoltaic power system

Diagram of a residential grid-connected PV system
A grid connected system is connected to a large independent grid (typically the public electricity grid) and feeds power into the grid. Grid connected systems vary in size from residential (2-10kWp) to solar power stations (up to 10s of MWp). This is a form of decentralized electricity generation. In the case of residential or building mounted grid connected PV systems, the electricity demand of the building is met by the PV system. Only the excess is fed into the grid when there is an excess. The feeding of electricity into the grid requires the transformation of DC into AC by a special, grid-controlled solar inverter.[citation needed]

In kW sized installations the DC side system voltage is as high as permitted (typically 1000V except US residential 600V) to limit ohmic losses. Most modules (72 crystalline silicon cells) generate about 160W at 36 volts. It is sometimes necessary or desirable to connect the modules partially in parallel rather than all in series. One set of modules connected in series is known as a 'string'.[citation 

There is financial support available for people wishing to install PV arrays. In the UK, households are paid a 'Feedback Fee' to buy excess electricity at a flat rate per kWh. This is up to 44.3p/kWh which can allow a home to earn double their usual annual domestic electricity bill.[9] The current UK feed-in tariff system is due for review on 31 March 2012, after which the current scheme may no longer be available.[10]

Power plants
Main article: Photovoltaic power station

Waldpolenz Solar Park, Germany
A photovoltaic power station (solar park or solar farm) is a power station using photovoltaic modules and inverters for utility scale electricity generation, connected to an electricity transmission grid. Some large photovoltaic power stations like Waldpolenz Solar Park and Topaz Solar Farm cover tens or hundreds of hectares and have power outputs up to hundreds of megawatts.

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