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Solar Panel Systems

Solar panel systems

Posted on October 13, 2017 by Matt Seidell in Electrical

Solar panel systems provide a clean and renewable source of energy for residential buildings. They can also help homeowners lower their energy bills, leading to considerable savings over the years. If you are interested, consider the following information.

Types

Solar panel systems for residential buildings are available in two main types, off-grid and grid-connected. Off-grid systems are stand-alone ones that are not connected to a local utility company. Grid-connected systems are ones that are connected to a local utility company. These systems are able to use the grid for power when they are unable to produce enough energy on their own. The utility company arranges to purchase any excess power that grid-connected systems produce. Some grid-connected systems also have a battery backup in place to ensure a steady supply of energy.

Design Considerations

  • Roof Age & Condition: we like to see roofs with at least 15 years of service life remaining.
  • Roof Slope: 30-35 degree slope is ideal, but a larger or smaller angle works just fine too.
  • Roof Orientation: due south is ideal. Any orientation will work, but the further north the solar array faces, the lower the solar production.
  • Types of Solar Modules: we like to use crystalline type modules consisting of 60 or 72 cells.
  • Types of Inverters: there are a handful of different inverters that we prefer to use. We’ve installed String Inverters, DC Optimized Inverters, and Microinverters. All have slightly different functions, different price points, advantages and disadvantages – but ultimately, they all convert sunlight into electricity.

 Features

Solar panel systems feature panels containing solar cells, which use photovoltaic technology to absorb sunlight and convert it into energy for household use. Since this energy is in DC form, these systems require an inverter to turn it into AC electricity.

Advantages & Benefits of Solar Panel Systems

Solar panel systems provide important benefits and advantages compared to other energy systems, especially those that run on fossil fuels.

  • Clean energy: They offer a clean source of energy that is renewable and will be for many years to come.
  • Minimal maintenance: These systems are also relatively easy to care for since they do not need as much maintenance as other energy systems.
  • Incentives: When it comes to cost, homeowners can take advantage of financial incentives that are available for investing in solar power. This includes tax credits and rebates from utility companies.
  • Quiet energy production: Solar panel systems run silently, which can be a big advantage in more populated areas.

Requirements

Homeowners can determine their energy requirements by taking certain factors into consideration. These include household’s energy needs, the number of sunlight hours they get and the number of solar panels that would provide them with the hourly wattage needed. Keep in mind that professional solar panel system installers typically perform these calculations for homeowners. Another requirement to consider is roof load, which refers to how much weight a roof can support. Most roofs can support solar panels as long as their weight is distributed evenly. Other requirements include having a roof that does not have extensive wear and tear or existing problems.

 

Common Parts & Construction Materials

Residential solar panel systems have the following parts:

  • Solar cells: These parts convert solar energy into electricity. Solar cells can be made from the thin film with semiconductor materials or various forms of silicon, such as monocrystalline silicon.
  • Solar panels: These panels, which contain solar cells, absorb energy from the sun.
  • Arrays: Solar panels connect to form arrays, which are mounted to a home’s roof or to the ground or a pole for freestanding arrays.
  • Balance-of-system parts: Different balance-of-system parts include mounting racks, batteries, inverters, and wiring. Inverters turn DC power into AC power, while batteries can be used for storing energy.

 

Mistakes to Identify

Solar panel systems are designed to last for many years as long as they are installed correctly. When they have been improperly or poorly installed, homeowners should watch for the following warning signs

  • Water damage: Roof leaks can occur when solar panels do not have proper flashing around them, as well as a watertight sealant. This helps prevent water from getting through the roof.
  • Loose racking: The use of low-quality materials and poor installation can cause racking to become loose, especially in windy conditions.
  • Fire hazard: Poor installation can lead to fires due to faulty wiring or other electrical problems. Potential fire hazards can be harder to detect, but homeowners should have their system inspected if they experience any problems with power, such as frequent fluctuations.

Call Current Electric today for information about solar panel systems!

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