Solar Power Systems provide clean, reliable electricity that reduces energy costs. It also helps reduce emissions that contribute to climate change and health issues.
To model the value of solar, the researchers analyzed prices at hundreds of “pricing nodes” in six power markets. They counted energy and capacity revenues as well as market, health, and climate benefits.
Solar panels (also known as photovoltaic cells) convert sunlight into electricity. They are the key component of any PV system.
When silicon or other semiconductor material is exposed to photons of sunlight, it releases electrons that create electric current. These electrons flow through the wiring in a panel and are converted to alternating current by the inverter. The resulting AC power is what you use to plug in your appliances.
The smallest photovoltaic systems power calculators and wristwatches; larger ones can power entire homes and businesses. Many people choose to add solar batteries to their PV system so they can have uninterrupted energy and are not dependent on the grid.
You don’t need planning permission to install a domestic solar PV system as long as it does not protrude more than 200mm from your roof surface. However, excessive shade or exposure to high winds can degrade their performance.
There is more solar energy hitting the planet every day than we can use in a year. That energy needs to be converted from DC into AC power, which is what inverters do.
Inverters come in a range of sizes and power ratings – the key factor is how much surge capacity they have (watts at peak) and for how long. If you run a pump that requires a high startup surge, the inverter must be rated to handle this.
Microinverters at each panel offer performance benefits if your roof is complicated or you experience shading, but they also cost more than string inverters. If you want the benefits of microinverters without the extra cost, you can opt for power optimizers instead. These are placed on each panel but feed into a standard string inverter.
Batteries help store excess energy generated by solar and wind systems. When the sun goes down and the wind stops blowing, batteries discharge that stored energy to support electricity needs.
Residential solar paired with battery storage–generally called solar-plus-storage systems–help you reduce your dependence on the grid during peak energy hours and buffer you against expensive time-of-use (TOU) electric rates. This allows you to avoid fossil fuel-sourced power generation that produces greenhouse gas emissions.
A key consideration when choosing solar batteries is their round-trip efficiency, which measures how much of the energy put into a battery is used later. Other factors include depth of discharging (DoD) and lifespan. Lithium-ion batteries, the most popular solar battery technology, have a lifespan of up to 20 years. They also have the lowest environmental impact of all the battery technologies.
We’ve all seen solar panels in a field or on rooftops, but what is the equipment that secures them in place? These are known as mounts or racking and they account for around 10% of the total solar system cost.
Roof mount systems are the most common and use rail-based solar racking to support modules. This type of mounting system requires a professional installer to inspect your roof for damage and ensure it can support the weight of the array.
There are also ground mount options such as fixed and pole mounts. Ground mounts offer flexibility and can be erected in places with optimal sunlight. They can also be combined with a tracker feature that moves them throughout the day to follow the sun.
Solar monitoring helps you track your system’s performance over time, troubleshoot problems, and understand your investment’s financial return. It also makes sure your solar energy is being used, and not going to the grid or getting wasted.
Solar monitors connect to the internet (or a cellular network) so homeowners and solar installers can view system data remotely. Most systems update their data every 10 or 15 minutes, which is frequent enough to show you how much power your home is using.
Enphase offers a system monitor called Envoy that works with their microinverter and DC power optimizer systems. Their software allows you to access module-level information about your PV system through a web portal or mobile app. Other companies offer a similar solution. One example is Sense, which is installed by a certified electrician and can be connected to your wifi.