Solar Panel Terms and Acronyms

The drone industry is awash with acronyms and specialised terms which can make it confusing to read about to someone who is just browsing to see if UAVs can be of help to them in their everyday lives.

The problem is compounded if you’re looking to see how drones equipped with thermal imaging cameras can help you to monitor and maintain your solar panels.  Here’s some of the most common terms and abbreviations explained.


Amorphous – thin-film PV cell made from non-crystalline structure with a more glassy structure.


Just as multiple solar cells make up a solar panel, panels can be wired together to form a solar array.


Balance of System – the Parts that go to make up a solar system apart form the panels – such as inverters, wiring, mounting systems…


EPC – Energy Performance Certificate. A certificate that gives a property a rating from A through G according to its energy efficiency.


FIT – Feed In Tariff. A government scheme that rewards the producer an amount per unit of electricity generated and fed back into the Grid . The scenme closed to new applications at the end of March 2019.


Ground Mounted Solar – Solar arrays at ground level usually in large installations for commercial purposes such as solar farms.


Grid. The network of equipment that connects the suppliers and consumers to deliver the electricity – including the cables, pylons, poles and connectors.

Interconnection Agreement2020-08-27T13:52:42+00:00

Interconnection Agreement. The agreement between a home owner and the utility companies allowing them to connect their solar panels to the grid and receive a credit for surplus electricity provided.


KW – Kilowatt. A unit of measurement of electrical power equal to 1000 watts.


KWh – Kilowatt Hour. A measure of energy based on using 100 watts per hour.


MCS Microgeneration Certification Scheme. A quality assurance scheme certifying solar installers. If you wish to obtain a FIT certificate for your home, you must use a MCS accredited installer.


Monocrystalline. A cell made from a slice of single-crystal silicon, oriented in one direction.

Mounting Hardware2020-08-27T13:52:42+00:00

Mounting Hardware. The mounting equipment used to secure solar panels to roofs or ground based installations.

O & M2020-08-27T13:52:43+00:00

O & M Operations Maintenance – Ongoing maintenance needs of a solar system including cleaning, repairs, maintenance, monitoring and bill management

Off Grid2020-08-27T13:52:43+00:00

Off Grid – having no dependence on the electricity grid at all.


Polycrystalline – a solar cell made of silicon off cuts oriented in different directions.


PV – Photo Voltaic – the name for the technology that converts sunlight to energy

Solar Canopies2020-08-27T13:53:47+00:00

Solar Canopies. Solar arrays that are mounted on the ground but at a height that allows the ground beneath to still be used – for car parking for example.

Solar Design Company2020-08-27T13:53:47+00:00

Solar Design Company. A specialist company that can design solar installations that are optimised for energy production.

Solar Efficiency2020-08-27T13:53:47+00:00

Solar Efficiency. The percentage of sunlight captured and converted into electricity via the solar panels.

Solar Inverter2020-08-27T13:53:47+00:00

Solar Inverter. Takes the Direct Current (DC) by a solar panel or array and converts it to Alternating Current (AC) that can be used by homes and businesses.

Solar Tiles / Shingles2020-08-27T13:53:47+00:00

Solar Tiles / Shingles. Thin film like PV strips that can be directly applied to the roofing under felt just like regular tiles / shingles. They are less efficient than solar panels and degrade over time but they are cheaper and more versatile.

Solar Tracker2020-08-27T13:53:48+00:00

Solar Tracker – mounting hardware used in power plant installations that allow movement in the solar panels so they can follow the sun during the day and maximise output.


STA – Solar Trade Association – A UK body working to promote the benefits of solar energy and make it easy for both domestic and business customers to adopt.


ZNE – Zero Net Energy – when a building or structure generates as much energy as it consumes usually through a combination of renewable energy techniques including solar power.

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About the Author:

Drone Media Imaging are fully qualified and certified by the CAA to fly drone day or night up to 25kg. We hold Operational Authorities and Operating Safety Cases so that we can fly close to uninvolved people. We also hold A2 CofC certification. We are also trained and experienced in Photogrammetry, Mapping and hold a category 2 Thermography qualification
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