Solar Panel System Components
The Solar Company’s solar power systems consist of an array of solar panels (or modules), a mounting system, and an inverter with a computerized solid-state controller. The solar panels generate DC electricity directly from sunlight. The inverter converts the DC electricity produced by the solar panels into AC electricity to be usable in the home. The computerized controller also regulates the solar power system and ensures peak performance. A standard system is designed to stop working the moment there is a power interruption. In applications that are not connected to the grid or require back-up power, batteries are also required.
Solar Panel Installation
For most customers, residential or commercial, the roof is the best location for solar panel installation. It usually already has the structural specifications that the solar panels require. All that is needed is mounting hardware and appropriate flashings. If the roof is not applicable or desired, various other mounting options are available, including shade awnings or ground-mount options (i.e., standard ground-mount, ground pole, or trackers).
The inverter is commonly installed near the main panel either indoors or outside. Since it is made with solid-state electronics and performs better in cooler conditions, the inverter should be located out of afternoon sun. Usually, the best location is near the main electric panel.
This allows you to remotely view your system’s performance through your computer or remotely on a wireless device.
If you decide you want a battery back-up system or need a stand-alone energy solution, The Solar Company can design and install a system that is right for you. Some back-up systems and all stand-alone systems require a gas generator (propane, natural gas, diesel, etc.). Battery banks vary in size depending on power loads but generally need 10-20 sq. ft. and may require venting.
How do solar panels convert the sun’s energy into electricity?
The sun transmits energy in the form of electromagnetic radiation. When this radiation is absorbed by the solar cells, a chemical reaction occurs, causing rapid electron movement. Because of the way the cells are manufactured with layers of material with differing atomic structures, the electrons are forced to move in one direction, creating direct current, or DC. It then flows into an inverter which converts the DC into alternating current, or AC, to be usable in your home or business.
What Kind of Maintenance do Solar Panels Require?
Solar panels generally require very little maintenance since there are no moving parts. A few times a year, the panels should be inspected for any dirt or debris that may collect on them. Always make sure you are safety conscious when inspecting panels and don’t take any needless risks! If your panels are too high up on the roof to see very well from the ground, use caution with ladders.
For a general cleaning, simply use a standard garden hose to wash the face of the panels during either the early morning or in the evening. Avoid spraying cold water onto hot panels or you could risk cracking them!
There are also automated cleaners that work similar to sprinklers, such as the Heliotex system, which can be programmed to clean your panels as needed – a good choice if you are in an especially dusty area.
Professional solar panel cleaners are also in abundance and can come out periodically to clean them throughout the year. Check local listings for high-rated, reputable solar panel cleaning companies. This is a better choice for panels that are too high to reach well with a garden hose or if you want a more thorough cleaning.
Standard solar panel maintenance is the best way to make sure they are always producing efficiently.
Here are a few images of how Solar Energy works: