Ten Essential Components Of A Residential Solar Power System
A home solar power system involves multiple components to make it work. Here is a list of the Top Ten Components of a Home Solar Power System:
1) Polar Panels – Otherwise known as [tag-tec]PV panels[/tag-tec]. They are the solar-electric system’s defining component. PV panels capture the sunlight and create direct current (DC) electricity.
PV panels are rated in watts based on the maximum power they can produce when performing under ideal sun and temperature conditions. You will need to use the rated output of your PV panels to determine how many panels you will need to meet your electrical needs. You can then combine the PV panels in a series, which is called a solar array.
2) Array DC Disconnect – The DC disconnect is an important part of a system for maintenance. Using a DC disconnect makes shutting off the power much easier.
3) Charge Controller – A charge controller will drastically increase the life of your battery. This unit will protect the batter from being overcharged. When the battery bank is fully charged, the charge controller will interrupt the charging process. Some charge controllers also stop the battery from discharging at night time.
4) Deep Cycle Battery – This is the type of battery you should use in your system. This is what will store all of the energy produced by your PV panels. A great place to source free deep cycle batteries from is old golf carts of forklifts.
5) System Meter – A system meter is used to monitor how full your battery bank is. You can also see how much power is being used at any time. This is a great unit that can monitor your whole solar electric system.
6) Main DC Disconnect – This unit is placed between the battery bank and the inverter. A main DC disconnect will allow you to disconnect the inverter for maintenance.
7) Inverter – The inverter is what turns the direct current (DC) into alternating current (AC). AC is what most of your household appliances use. I.e Refrigerator, TV, Radio, Microwave, Computer etc. If you do not wish to use any appliances that need AC then you can simply use a DC input. A DC input costs around $10 from any car parts store.
You can also purchase inverters that plug into your homes power socket. These inverters will actually feed electricity back into your home through a normal power socket.
8) Generator – If you are setting up a solar electric system for off-grid living you will need to use a generator. A generator is used to produce electricity for times of cloudy weather or for when you are performing maintenance on the solar electric system.
9) AC Breaker Panel – This is the point where all of the homes electrical wiring meets with the provider of the electricity, whether it is the grid, a solar electric system or a wind electric system. This unit is usually found in a utility room a garage or mounted in a metal box on the outside of the building.
Each state / country has different standards for the way solar energy is connected to the AC breaker panel. For a grid inter-tied solar electric system you have to realize that in most countries it is illegal to hook up your solar energy system to the AC breaker panel unless you are a qualified electrician. It is recommend for you to call your local power company or an electrician.
If you do not wish to go as far as connecting your system to the breaker panel you can simply run your appliances straight from your AC inverter. Running your appliances straight from the inverter is easy and a very cheap option.
10) Kilowatt Per Hour (KWH) Meter – If your home is grid-tied, you will have a [tag-tec]kilowatt per hour[/tag-tec] meter. This will monitor both the electricity coming from the grid and to the grid from your solar electricity system.
If you are producing more electricity then you are using, you will notice you are actually turning this meter backwards!
Home Solar And Wind Power Videos
Do you want to know how you can use solar modules or wind generator to reduce your home energy consumption? If you do, check out the 30 solar and wind power for home videos e-book we’ve compiled. It’s free to download.