Photovoltaic systems (PV system) use solar panels to convert sunlight into electricity. A system is made up of one or more solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, a DC/AC power converter (inverter), a racking system that holds the solar panels, electrical interconnections, and mounting for other components. Optionally it may include a maximum power point tracker (MPPT), battery system and charger, solar tracker, energy management software, solar concentrators or other equipment. A small PV system may provide energy to a single user, or to an isolated device like a lamp or a weather instrument. Large grid-connected PV systems can provide the energy needed by many users. The electricity generated can be either stored, used directly (island/standalone plant), or fed into a large electricity grid powered by central generation plants (grid-connected/grid-tied plant), or combined with one or many domestic electricity generators to feed into a small grid (hybrid plant). Systems are generally designed in order to ensure the highest energy yield for a given investment.

Photovoltaic solar panel used by greenhouses can generate electricity without an adverse effect on the crops grown within, while additionally providing cooling in summer. The system is designed to exploit the annual oscillation - the variation in the height of the sun's path across the sky over the course of the year. In theory, no solar radiation is compromised over winter, but surplus radiation can be diverted to electricity-generation during summer.