A solar system consists of the following components connected together to generate power as per the drawing below -
A Solar Panel - This is a string of Photo-voltaic cells connected together to generate a fixed amount of power when sunlight falls on it. We typically place a series of these Panels that is shown as Solar Array in the schematic above, on the roof or any other place that is shade-free. The Solar Panel generates DC or Direct Current.
The optional Charge Controller and Battery - This is an OPTIONAL part of the Solar Plant. These are used in only those cases where there is no connection to the Utility Power, and all of the power requirements of the building are to be only met through Solar Power. In such cases the Solar Power generated by the Panel is first used to charge batteries.
The Inverter - This is the HEART of the Solar Plant. Put simplistically, it converts the power generated by the Solar Plant to Alternating Current or AC, that is accepted by all Electrical Devices in the Building. Thus, this is what ensures that all existing Devices can be used as is, when we switch to CLEAN & GREEN Solar Power.
The Utility Meter - This meter continually measures your Electricity Consumption, and can even count the amount of excess power your Solar Plant might be generating beyond what you use, that can be given back to the Utility Grid. Any such power that is given back reduces the amount that appears on your Utility Bill each month.