There are two primary types of solar power systems: grid-tied and off-grid or stand-alone.
Both stand-alone and grid-tied systems convert sunlight to electrical energy using PV panels. There is plenty of information on solar panels here.
Although both systems produce electricity in the same way, they store it differently. The stand-alone system would use batteries or energy storage systems to store the energy. Batteries may require charge controllers and battery management systems (BMS) to function. More information about batteries can be found here.
Grid-tied systems “store” energy by exchanging it with the commercial electric grid. A properly sized system will produce more electrical energy when the sun shines than the system’s loads require. The excess is pushed into the grid.
A critical function of the main PV system is to convert direct current (DC), electrical energy produced by the solar panels, to alternating current energy (AC) required by most modern loads and for exchange with the commercial grid. Both systems require an inverter. An off-grid system converts DC from the battery bank to AC and protects the battery bank from over discharge.
The grid-tied inverter, however, must do much more. It must also sense the critical characteristics of the AC signal on the grid so it can synchronize the AC it is generating from DC with the grid or not produce power if it can’t. It must also shut itself down if the grid goes down to prevent “islanding” (independently sending power into a grid that is otherwise dead) and possible damage to the system. More information about inverters can be found here.
Solar panels must be secured to the ground or roof through a solar racking or mounting systems. These are usually made of a type of metal. Carport structures and tracking systems also fall under the mounting category. More information on roof-mounted and ground-mounted systems can be found here.