Schematic of a solar power plant
Here’s some quick physics: The energy in sunlight is contained in small energy packets called photons. So, just remember: Photons = Small packets of energy.
Solar panels convert the energy contained in the photons to electricity.
So, when you hear the term Solar PV, rest assured it refers to the same solar panels you are familiar with. The electricity generated by solar panels is in the form of direct current (DC).
However, almost all the electrical equipment we use (Fans, lights, TV…) run on Alternating Current (AC). Conventional grid power is generated as AC.
So you need an equipment called inverter to convert the direct current (DC) generated by the solar panels into AC.
Enter the inverter.
The inverter converts the DC power from the panels to AC power, which is in turn fed to your appliances, and is no different from the AC power you get from the grid.
The above set up pretty much completes the core of a basic solar power plant. All other components are mainly for additional support.