There are several different companies to have to understand what is needed to run my house on solar electric power. There are three different systems to choose from a grid intertied system, grid intertied that contains a battery backup and a standalone system. Each one will have slightly different needs and materials though the main part of the system, the solar connection and conversion will be the same.
The main parts of a grid intertied system include the photovoltaic array, array DC disconnect followed by an AC breaker panel then connected to an inverter monitored by a Kilowatt hour meter and finally connected to your home and to/from the utility grid.
The grid intertied with battery backup will have a photovoltaic array, charge controller, array DC disconnect, system meter, battery bank, inverter, Main DC disconnect, breaker panel, meter and connects to your home and to/from the utility grid.
Off grid or standalone systems are typically found in rural areas, they can be used anywhere. The components required for an off grid system include the photovoltaic array, charge controller, array DC disconnect, battery bank, Main DC disconnect, system meter, inverter, AC breaker panel, backup generator and a connection to your home.
Each component has an important function. The photovoltaic panels are where the sunlight is converters into an electric current. The semiconductor material is what makes this occur using the photovoltaic effect. You will typically need to mount this array on a rack or your roof so that it is away from any shade and cannot be affected by daily life, such as children playing.
The DC disconnect is needed if you should have to interrupt the flow of the electricity and is mainly important for troubleshooting. This discount works like a circuit and can even use fuses. There is another breaker box that does the same function in your home so you can turn the electricity off to different parts of your home.