the Green Blog‎ > ‎

Solar Education and Information


There are so many reasons to choose Solar Power as an alternative to "plugging in" to the electric grid; here are just a few:

Solar Power allows you to "unplug" from the public utility grid
saves money!

Solar Power is FREE and abundant!
saves lots of money!

Solar Power lets YOU take charge of your electric bill!
lets you decide how much you want to save!


The following information describes the different types of complete systems which are available. Depending on what you would like your complete solar panel system to do, it determines the size panels which will be necessary. As an overview, the following diagrams explain how the different types of systems convert free energy from the sun into usable, clean energy!


The functional and operational requirements will determine which components the system
will include. It may include major components as; DC-AC power inverter, battery bank, system
and battery controller, auxiliary energy sources and sometimes the specified electrical loads (appliances).

Please refer to the diagram below for a visual depiction of a general solar panel system.

 

photo voltaic system components

Here Are The Major System Components, and What They Are Used For


PV Modules - convert sunlight instantly into DC electric power.

Inverter - converts DC power into standard AC power for use in the home, synchronizing with utility power whenever the electrical grid is distributing electricity.

Battery - stores energy when there is an excess coming in and distribute it back out when there is a demand. Solar PV panels continues to re-charge batteries each day to maintain battery charge.

Utility Meter - utility power is automatically provided at night and during the day when the demand exceeds your solar electric power production.

The utility meter actually spins backwards when solar power production exceeds house demand, allowing you to credit any excess electricity against future utility bills.

Charge Controller - prevents battery overcharging and prolongs the battery life of your PV system.

In addition, an assortment of balance of system hardware; wiring, overcurrent, surge protection and disconnect devices, and other power processing equipment.

What Size System Should I Choose?

The size of the PV system that will meet your expectations depends on your individual needs, site location and climate.  Please contact us and our engineers and consultants will prepare a customized system quote.

The modular design of PV panels allows the systems to grow and change as system needs change and grow. You can start with our storm outage backup system Starter Kit, an all-in-one entry level solar photovoltaic package, and then grow into full independence!

Solar Panel System Maintenance

PV systems require very little maintenance. Having no moving parts makes them practically maintenance-free. Hose down the (cool) modules occassionally.  That's it.

Types of Solar Panel (PV) Systems

Photovoltaic-based systems are generally classified according to their functional and operational requirements, their component configuration, and how the equipment is connected to the other power sources and electrical loads (appliances). The two principle classifications are Grid-Connected and Stand Alone Systems.


Grid Connected
Grid-connected or utility-intertie PV systems are designed to operate in parallel with and interconnected with the electric utility grid. The primary component is the inverter, or power conditioning unit (PCU). The inverter converts the DC power produced by the PV array into AC power consistent with the voltage and power quality required by the utility grid.  The inverter automatically stops supplying power to the grid when the utility grid is not energized. A bi-directional interface is made between the PV system AC output circuits and the electric utility network, typically at an on-site grid-connecteddistribution panel or service entrance. This allows the power produced by the PV system to either supply on-site electrical loads, or to back feed the grid when the PV system output is greater than the on-site load demand. During periods when the electrical demand is greater than the PV system output (night-time), the balance of power required is received from the electric utility This safety feature is required in all grid-connected PV systems, it also ensures that the PV system will not continue to operate and feed back onto the utility grid when the grid is down for service or repair.


Stand Alone System
Stand-alone PV systems are designed to operate independent of the electric utility grid, and are generally designed and sized to supply certain DC and/or AC electrical loads. Stand-alone systems may be powered by a PV array only, or may use wind, an engine-generator or utility power as a backup power source in what is called a PV-hybrid system. The simplest type of stand-alone PV system is a direct-coupled system, where the DC output of a PV module or array is directly connected to a DC load.

stand-alone pv system

Since there is no electrical energy storage (batteries) in direct-coupled systems, the load only operates during sunlight hours, making these designs suitable for common applications such as ventilation fans, water pumps, and small circulation pumps for solar thermal water heating systems. Matching the impedance of the electrical load to the maximum power output of the PV array is a critical part of designing well-performing direct-coupled system. For certain loads such as positive-displacement water pumps, a type of electronic DC-DC converter, called a maximum power point tracker (MPPT) is used between the array and load to help better utilize the available array maximum power output.


In many stand-alone PV systems, batteries are used for energy storage. Below is a diagram of a typical stand-alone PV system with battery storage powering DC and AC loads.

stand-alone pv system



Here's the math behind the whole solution:

Average household uses X amount of electricity. Solar power generates Y amount of electricity.
Average household saves Z amount of electricity, which equals an average savings of $$

For years, when we buy an electronic item, it has added to our energy bill at the end of each month. Finally, each new electronic device that is solar-enabled will reduce the amount of your energy bill at the end of each month. Adding more devices used to increase your electric bill, now the more devices you add, the less your bill will be each month!