According to experts, the amount of energy the earth receives from the sun is more than enough to meet the entire world’s energy needs for a whole year.
Yes, that’s right. Solar energy has received some criticism for being inefficient and expensive for most people. But there is a lot of potential in solar power if used in the right way.
Moreover, solar power is an unlimited renewable power source that doesn’t use fuel, produces greenhouse gases, and certainly will help you to save money on long-term utility expenses. With all these benefits, it’s no surprise to see why many homes in Auburn, WA, are going solar.
Solar panels, or PV panels, are made from a thin layer of semiconducting material placed between glass and polymer resin sheets. When exposed to sunlight, the semi-conducting materials become energized, converting the solar power into electricity in what is described as a photovoltaic effect hence the name PV panels.
But there’s a lot more that goes into play when installing solar panels in any residential or commercial setting. Keep reading to understand more about solar panel installation and the vital components involved in the process.
Components You Can Find in Any Solar Panel Installation
1. Solar Panels
Solar panels are the most obvious component of any solar power system since they’re installed outside the house, usually on the roof, where they can receive the most sunlight.
Solar panels are among the most expensive component of any top solar power system. The most cost-effective, however, is made up of between 60 and 144 solar cells. Solar cells are small squares that make up the entire panel or module.
A 60-cell PV panel should measure around 66’’ by 40’’ and produce power output between 300 and 330 watts. A solar panel with more cells will measure more in size and produce about 360 watts or more.
2. Solar Mounting Structures
There are three main ways in which you can mount your solar panels to make sure they’re not blown away or sustain any damage. They include:
- Ground Mounting – The solar modules are mounted on concrete piers closer to the ground to provide more stability. However, this approach would not be practical in areas with regular snow accumulation.
- Pole Mounting – The solar panels have fasted on a pole secured on the ground by concrete. This makes maintenance rather easy since the panels can be placed at a convenient height.
- Roof Mounting – This is the most common form of mounting. It involves putting solar panels on top of your house or business. Although panels don’t require constant maintenance, accessing the roof might be a hassle when you eventually do.
3. Charge Controller
The charge controller manages how much energy flows from the solar panels to the battery. This device helps ensure batteries are charged properly to avoid overcharging, which is crucial in preserving the lifespan of the battery bank.
There are currently two types of charge controllers; Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) and Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT).
In a nutshell, MPPT charge controllers accurately control how much power goes to the batteries when the batteries get full. On the other hand, PWM charge controllers use pulse modulation to switch on and off the rate at which energy from the solar panels goes to the batteries.
MPPT charge controllers are considered much more efficient because they can capture the most power from the panels at any given time. In contrast, PWM charge controllers are limited by the nominal voltage of both the batteries and the panels. For instance, if the system uses a 30-volt panel, the battery bank also has to be 30 volts.
The next component that you need in your solar energy system is an inverter, preferably a battery-based inverter. The work of the inverter is to take DC (direct current) power produced by the solar panels, store it in the battery bank, and convert it to (alternating current) that’s usable by regular home appliances.
Inverters are available in different sizes for different load sizes, so ensure the inverter can feed the off-grid load required. Another consideration you should make is choosing an inverter that can handle all the loads running in your system simultaneously. You want an inverter that can handle all the system loads when added up.
Take note that, unlike charge controllers, the voltage of an inverter is fixed and cannot be changed. As such, bear in mind that the inverter you use should match the system’s voltage where it’s used. A 24-volt inverter cannot work with a 36-volt battery bank. It can only work with a 24-volt battery bank.
Last but not least, the final key component you need for your solar installation is the battery system and will fetch a high price. You need to consider two types of battery chemistries for your solar power system; lead-acid and lithium.
Lithium batteries are very safe to use because they don’t produce gas and can be stored without the need for ventilation. They are also fully maintenance-free and are designed for a certain amount of charging cycles.
Lithium batteries come with an in-built battery management system (BMS) that monitors the state of the battery in terms of temperature and whether it’s being overcharged. If any of these parameters exceed the functional limit, the BMS forces the battery to shut down.
On the other hand, lead-acid batteries are cheaper but require maintenance to extend the battery’s lifespan. Another downside is that they produce hydrogen gas which can be dangerous when inhaled.
The Future for Solar Is Looking Really Bright
As you can see, you don’t need a lot to install a solar panel in Auburn to start powering your home with solar energy. Whether you run a business, school, office, hospital, or even for your home in Auburn, WA, there are electrical companies such as Custom Electrical Services that can help install solar on your premises.
Custom Electrical Services is here to help you find the best way to power your home or business with solar. Whether it’s a complete installation of solar panels, adding battery backup, or just consulting on what size array would be appropriate for your needs, we can install and maintain all that you need.
We also offer financing options as well as maintenance services after installation so there are no worries about any future issues-just peace of mind in knowing that you have the most reliable source of energy. If you need solar installation in Auburn, give us a call at (206) 558-0440 today.