Depending on the application, an inverter may be required to convert 12 volt DC current to 120 volt AC current. Another important consideration is the power efficiency of the application. For example, in motors, the Energy Star™ rating is important to consider. In lighting, the type of light is important in determining the size and configuration of a solar energy system design.
LED (light emitting diode) technologies are rapidly changing the entire lighting industry. The brightness, color array and longevity of this light source is ideal for many applications. Since they require a fraction of the power to produce the equivalent light from a conventional bulb, without the hazardous materials used in CFL (compact fluorescent lights), it offers many advantages in combination with a solar energy power source.
It is important to look at solar energy applications as an investment in a system. The individual components of the system need to be matched and optimized to provide the performance, longevity and value that is typically expressed as the "total cost of ownership."