Solar Glossary

The solar power glossary

C CO2 abbreviation for carbon dioxide. harmful substance which is emitted when fossil fuels combust. With a solar power system, more CO2 is saved within a few years than the CO2 emitted while manufacturing the solar modules themselves.
D DC and AC cables indicates direct current and alternating current cables.
E Environmental management a company's approach to systematically reducing the effect its actions have on the environment. Company strategies should combine economic growth with environmental sustainability. The reduction of harmful emissions, waste avoidance and the use of renewable energies are included in the catalogue of environmental measures implemented. A company's environmental guidelines, environmental auditing and standards such as ISO 14 001 are an integrated part of such an approach.
EPDM ethylene propylene diene monomer rubber, an exceptionally resistant synthetic material used in the automotive industry. SolarWorld uses EPDM to seal and hold solar modules and laminates in place.
EVA abbreviation for ethylene vinyl acetate, a synthetic material. EVA film binds cells to the solar glass in modules and to the film on the rear.
F Flasher exceptionally large flash unit which is used during quality checks on modules.
Flat roof installation type of installation for solar power modules where the solar modules are fitted to flat roofs using an angled or telescopic structure.
Full integration consolidation of all upstream and downstream production stages of a product under management of a single company. SolarWorld AG covers the complete value chain, from the raw material, silicon, through to finished modules.
I ISO 9001 international quality management standard which specifies recognised requirements for quality management systems.
ISO 14001 international environment management standard which specifies recognised requirements for environmental management systems.
ISO certification certification (from Latin 'certe' = certainly, surely and 'facere' = do, make, produce) refers to a process used to prove compliance with specific requirements for management systems (companies). Certificates are issued on a time-limited basis by independent certification bodies such as TÜV, DEKRA and Bureau Veritas and verified independently with regard to standards.
Ingot mould casting mould into which silicon is melted and then cooled, turning it into a polycrystalline block in the process.
Inverter converts direct current generated by the solar cells to grid-compatible, alternating current; it also stores operating data and monitors the grid connection.
J Joint venture cooperation in an economic activity between two or more companies in order to optimise expertise and resources.
M Module a photovoltaic module is an interconnected assembly of solar cells. It is made weatherproof by sealing the assembly with silicon behind glass in an aluminium frame.
Module/cell efficiency a module or a cell's efficiency is defined as performance according to surface area. However, the efficiency rating does not indicate the yields a module or cell may produce.
Monocrystalline solar silicon is solidified into a uniform, cylinder-shaped crystal as a result of conditions during the crystallisation process.
Monosilane monosilane is the simplest form of silane (silicon analogues of alkane hydrocarbons). It is used in solar silicon production.
Multicrystalline as a result of conditions during the crystallisation process, solar silicon is solidified into a silicon block consisting of several smaller crystallites of varying sizes and orientation.
O Off-grid solar power systems which are not connected to an electricity network. The electricity produced is consumed or stored directly on site (so-called stand-alone systems).
On-grid solar power systems which are connected to a regional electricity grid. When a large amount of electricity is produced due to optimum levels of sunlight, electricity is fed into the grid; electricity can be drawn from the grid if necessary (when it is dark).
P Photovoltaics refers to the method of directly converting solar radiation into electrical energy.
Plus sorting all modules achieve an output greater than their specified nominal output (according to performance test). This guarantees optimum efficiency in the system without the need to sort modules.
Profitability a solar power system's profitability is calculated based on the system's costs, feed-in tariffs and solar incidence at its location. On average, a south-facing system with a roof pitch of 30° pays for itself over 12 to 14 years.
PV systems short for photovoltaic systems or solar power systems.
R Recycling return of used materials to the economic cycle and their processing into new products. The advantages lie in the reduction of the amount of waste and the conservation of raw materials.
Renewable energies energies which come from a natural, non-depletable source, such as the sun, water, wind, geothermal heat und biomass.
Rooftop installation in this type of installation, supporting structures are installed above the roof covering and solar modules are fastened on top.
S Secondary silicon recycled silicon
Self-generated electricity self-generated electricity can be consumed on site with any remaining power fed into the public grid. In both cases, the feed-in rate for solar electricity is guaranteed by the German state for twenty years under the German Renewable Energy Law. The more electricity is consumed on site, the greater the revenue achieved from the solar power system concerned. The proportion of electricity used on site can be increased to over 60% using intelligent consumption management products. Those who produce self-generated electricity are unaffected by increases in electricity prices. Pressure is also taken off the German grid, as solar power generation and consumption are synchronised directly in the building where the power is used.
Solar-grade silicon refers to silicon crystals which have a sufficiently high grade of purity to be used in photovoltaic applications. The chemical element silicon is a semi-conductor and forms crystals with a resistant diamond structure. It is the second most common element in the earth's crust after oxygen. For processing in the solar sector, raw silicon is purified to achieve solar-grade silicon and then cast into blocks for further processing into wafers.
Solar power system complete system of solar panels which produces a direct current thanks to the photovoltaic effect. An inverter converts the generated electricity into alternative current, so it can be fed into the grid.
Solar panel laminates unframed photovoltaic modules which are embedded in the supporting structure using EPDM rubber strips; are used in completely integrated applications such as the SolarWorld AG Energyroof.
SolarWorld GT Solar-powered racing car specially manufactured by SolarWorld AG in cooperation with Bochum University of Applied Sciences. For further information about SolarWorld GT, visit
Solar cell see 'cell'
Solar2World the 'Solar2World' programme is where the SolarWorld Group brings together all its social commitment projects for the use of solar energy technology, especially in developing countries.
Stand-alone system solar power systems which are not connected to an electricity network. The energy produced can be stored in batteries ready for use at a later stage.
STC (standard test conditions) standard test conditions are conditions under which a module or cell's electric and voltage characteristics are measured and then entered on the module data sheet. STC = 1,000 W/m², 25° C cell temperature, solar spectrum AM = 1.5.
Sundeck in-roof solar power system solution which is suitable for sloped roofs with a roof pitch between 20° and 60°.
Sunfix plus mounting systems for sloped and flat roofs which contain all components required to install a solar power system - from single screws to the supporting structure.
Sunmodule Plus  Sunmodule Plus is an innovative module concept. Plus sorting means that each module achieves a greater output than their specified nominal output (according to performance test), thus guaranteeing optimum efficiency in systems without the need to sort modules.
Suntrol intelligent monitoring system which a solar power system operator can use to track and compare achieved yields. The Suntrol  product range includes the Suntrol  display panel, the Suntrol data logger, the Suntrol internet portal and the Suntrol application for iPod touch.
Sustainability 1. the capacity to endure; refers to a system which lasts a long time; 2. scientific concept regarding objective limits to exploiting the environment; 3. ethical-normative concept, the core of which is the issue of fairness and balance."
Sustainability management management of environmental, social and economic factors, firstly, in order to achieve sustainable company and business development and, secondly, to ensure a company makes a positive contribution to the sustainable development of society as a whole.
V Value chain, solar the solar value chain refers to the production stages from sand or raw silicon processing through to the finished photovoltaic module, including recycling.
W Wafer extremely thin discs made of solar-grade silicon used to make solar cells. They can be monocrystalline or multicrystalline.
Watt international unit of power named after the Scottish inventor James Watt; symbol: W.