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What is a PV system (photovoltaic system)?

A photovoltaic system, also known as a PV system (or PVA) or solar generator, is a solar power system in which part of the solar radiation is converted into electrical energy by means of solar cells. The typical direct type of energy conversion is called photovoltaics. In contrast, other solar power plants (e.g. solar thermal power plants) work via the intermediate steps of thermal energy and mechanical energy. According to § 3 No. 1 EEG, each module is an independent system. According to § 9 EEG, several solar modules are considered to be one system only to determine the installed power under certain circumstances.


The nominal output of conventional photovoltaic systems ranges from the low single-digit kW range, as is common for house roof systems, to a few MW for commercial roof systems, while open-space solar systems are usually at least in the MW range. As of January 2017, the most powerful photovoltaic system is located near the Longyangxia Dam in China and has an output of 850 MWp (megawatt peak).

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