With a home solar system, you have to picture the sun that shines on it.
The solar panel generates 12, 24 or 48 dc volts. (DC stands for direct current.) While utilizing the free energy from the sun.
Use a controller to deliver a stable voltage to the batteries. It prevents damage to your batteries when fluctuations occur.
Now the 12, 24 or 48 volts dc go into an inverter. Two things happen here. It changes the dc voltages to AC. (AC stands for alternated current). The output voltage of the inverter is also pushed up to 120 or 240 volts. It depends on your specific requirements.
You can use a solar power system as a sustainable source of cheap energy for years to come. The system is cheap to operate, and the cost of maintenance is low.
When you use an off-grid home solar system system, batteries can become expensive though. This is because you must maintain and replace the batteries.
Although we enjoy the free sunshine we should always bear in mind that there are certain variables that influence the efficiency of your home solar system.
The angle with which the sun shines on the panel can reduce the amount of electricity that is generated.
When the sun shines perpendicular to the solar panel the amount of electricity that is generated is at its maximum.
The path that the sun follows determines the angle and the amount of electricity that is generated.
During the winter the path of the sun is closer to the horizon and he angle with which the sunlight is reflected will always be smaller than in summer time. Thus less electricity will be generated during the winter months...
The time of day also determines the angle of reflected sunlight.
So we can conclude that in summer at noon the most electricity will be generated. Peak wattages will now be realized.
During the rest of the seasons and time of day, a solar panel will be less efficient due to the variations in time of day and in season of the year.
It is then also important to pay attention to the angle in which we set up our solar panel. The better the angle, the more sunshine will be reflected and more electricity will be generated.
As a rule of thumb it is good enough if you set up the angle of your panel for your home solar system similar to the degrees of latitude of your area.
The easiest way to find the latitude of your area is to quickly Google it.
The efficiency of the solar panel depends on the type of material in use. It also depends on the size of the surface that makes contact with the rays of the sun.
Bear in mind that the better material will be more expensive. The panels will last longer though and with better efficiency.
The surface of the panel should be being kept as clean as possible. Dirt can reduce the efficiency of your home solar system.
You get monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin-film solar panels. The solar panels capture the heat from the sun. It produces electric energy that we measure in watts. This is to determine the amount of power that a solar panel produces.
The largest output occurs when the sun is perpendicular to the panel. This is during mid-day. The output is DC voltage, 12, 24 or 48 volts.
We must convert to AC voltage when used for home appliances.
You can compare the charge controller with the voltage regulator of a motor car.
When in operation it protects the batteries from fluctuation in the supply voltages.
It also protects the batteries from overload. It ensures a long and trouble-free operational period for the bank of batteries.
Additionally, the charge controller prevents power draining back into the solar panel. This is at night time and during cloudy days when the system generates no electricity.
Solar energy comes with one big disadvantage. The source of heat to generate electricity is only available for a limited period during the day.
To generate enough electricity for e.g., a household, you need to install more than enough solar panels. We then must store excessive electricity by making use of battery banks.
The batteries are a backup. When the sun is gone you must have electricity stored away in your batteries. This is to provide enough energy for your household.
The bank of batteries must have enough capacity to provide enough electricity.
You can use the dc volts from the batteries to operate dc appliances.
It is also used to provide electricity to your 120 or 220 v home appliances. An inverter adapts the 12, 24 or 48 v dc to your home appliances.
You need proper deep cycle batteries for your home solar system.
A deep cycle battery withstands periodic charge and discharging better than a car battery.
The inverter has a dual function. It converts dc to ac voltages and it pushes low voltages up to 120 or 220 volts. This is to provide enough electric energy to your normal home appliances.
It is possible to use the output of the inverter to feed electricity back into the grid. It depends on the system you are using i.e. off the grid, grid tie or a hybrid system.
It is important to know that you get square wave and sine wave inverters. Sine wave inverters are more expensive. The operation though is much more effective than the square wave inverters.
My suggestion is that you always buy a proper sine wave inverter.
You do not want to experience problems from an ineffective inverter. It is best to pay the price, go for quality, and have peace of mind.
We need a solar inverter to convert DC voltage to AC voltage when we want to use it for home appliances.
When using an off-grid home solar system you do not need the utility power grid.
The system generates electricity and stores it in a power bank. It is available for users without any connection to the power grid.
To store enough energy, you need large-capacity batteries. These batteries can be quite expensive.
It is still better and cheaper than paying an ever-increasing electricity bill for years to come.
With the grid-tie systems, the solar panels generate the DC power. The DC power goes into a grid-tied inverter.
The grid-tie inverter converts the DC power to AC power. You then use the power for your household requirements. The system then delivers any excess power to the grid. When you need more power than your system can generate it again draws power from the grid.
This system does not use batteries and no stored energy is available. It only functions when the grid is up and running. When the grid does not operate the grid-tie system cannot function. It will shut down with immediate effect.
A hybrid solar system generates power in a similar manner as grid-tie solar systems. It uses hybrid inverters and batteries to store energy.
It can use different sources to power the battery bank. It does not only have to be solar panels. It can utilize power from the grid or from electric generators.
The hybrid system is handy to have during power outages. You can use it as a power backup because of the stored energy in the battery banks.
Bear in mind. You will experience some losses when you plan to power your household appliances.
You will have less than peak power due to the reasons mentioned above.
Another problem is possible resistance in the wiring of your home solar system.
It is good practice to go for a system with a capacity of 15 to 20% more than your calculated household requirements.
A solar power system can last for many years. The different components come with proper warranties. The solar panels come with a warranty of 20 to 25 years.
You must maintain and replace batteries. At present high-quality batteries are available.
Dirty vs clean solar panels.
The frequency of replacement is not too high.
It is good practice to clean dirty panels. This ensures proper operation with high efficiency.
After consideration of the limitations, it is still worth it to go for solar electricity.
Invest in a solar power system to rid yourself of high energy bills. You can enjoy cheap and “clean energy” for years to come.
Over the years a proper home solar system will reduce your carbon footprint to a near zero. You will save up to tens of thousands of bugs.
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