small solar electric modules

solar module

In addition to solar cells, a typical photovoltaic (PV) module or solar panel consists of these components:


  • A transparent top surface, usually glass
  • An encapsulant – usually thin sheets of ethyl vinyl acetate that hold together the top surface, solar cells, and rear surface
  • A rear layer – a thin polymer sheet, typically Tedlar, that prevents the ingress of water and gases
  • A frame around the outer edge, typically aluminum.

    Energy performance ratings

    Energy performance ratings for PV modules include the following:


  • Peak watt (Wp)
    Measures the maximum power of a module under laboratory conditions of relatively high light level, favorable air mass, and low cell temperature. These conditions are not typical in the real world.

  • Normal operating cell temperature (NOCT)
    Measures a module's nominal operating cell temperature after the module first equilibrates with a specified ambient temperature. It results in a lower watt value than the peak-watt rating, but it is probably more realistic.

  • AMPM standard
    Measures the performance of a solar module under more realistic operating conditions. It considers the whole day rather than "peak" sunshine hours, based on the description of a standard solar global-average day (or a practical global average) in terms of light levels, ambient temperature, and air mass.