Green energy is growing exponentially and becoming a convenient choice for homeowners all around the globe. If you are interested in embarking on a solar journey, you might first want to learn about how the technology works.
Solar Systems and Generators
A solar panel system is made of several different parts. First of all, the solar panels are composed of many solar cells, enclosed together in a frame. There are different types of solar cells, depending on the purity of the material they are made of (usually silicon), which affects their performance. Solar cells convert sunlight into DC electricity, by extracting the electrons from the photons and leading them through a wire. Electricity is then sent to a charge controller. The following steps depend on the type of solar system you are dealing with: the system can be connected the national grid, or be completely off-grid, which means that it only uses the power generated by the solar panels without ever relying on alternative sources.
Off-grid systems are usually preferred in remote areas with difficult access to electricity, and have the benefit of being 100% green, since you never use electricity generated by non-renewable sources. In this case, the system requires a battery to store excess energy produced during the day, which is used after the sun sets to power house appliances. This is where the generator comes into play: some off-grid systems include a generator backup to avoid power shortages that can incur at night or during excessively cloudy days. Solar generators include inverters, which turn the DC power generated from the panels into AC power, which is what most house appliances use.
Types of Generators
Solar generators differ in size: smaller generators can power a few laptops while large systems can satisfy an entire building’s necessities. Moreover, there are different ways to power the generator itself. Truly “green” generators are powered by solar energy, but there are also other options.
- Stand-by generators: this is the type of generator you should go for if you need to power your entire home for longer periods of time. These generators can supply energy to any house size. They are usually powered by propane, gas or diesel, which makes them reliable but not green, and due to the fumes they produce it is a must to keep them outside.
- Portable generators: these generators can be used for different purposes, since they are easy to move around, but they provide a lower amount of energy. They can be powered by fuel or batteries and must be kept outdoors.
- Solar generators: this is the only completely green option, since this type of generator is charged using solar power. These models usually come in small to medium portable versions. Unlike their fuel-charged relatives, they do not produce any fumes and can thus be stored inside.
Advantages of Solar Generators
- They utilize clean, free energy
- They don’t require any fuel and don’t produce toxic fumes, which makes them safer for you and the environment
- They are completely noise-free and don’t require any maintenance
- The generator is charged continuously by the solar power, so that energy is always available when you need it. Portable generators can be charged directly from solar panels or the wall
- Works as an emergency backup in case of blackouts, or when you have exhausted the solar battery power
- They cater to different needs, powering compact, mid-size and heavy-duty devices. They can come in portable solar kits that include small solar panels, so that you can carry them wherever you go
- Solar generators are not affected by very cold temperatures, since they can be stored inside. That makes their life span much longer than traditional generators, between 5 and 20 years
However you can also choose a propane-propelled generator to power your home in case of emergency, which can be the best choice for a large house. Classic standby generators work smoothly with your solar system and substitute the grid when power is down. If your prefer to go for an off-grid system, but are unsure whether solar panels and solar batteries alone would cover your energy needs, you can integrate the system with a generator that starts up whenever a little extra energy is needed.
In both cases - solar or fuel-powered - generators offer you peace of mind and security in case of emergency or high energy needs. Off-grid solar powered homes are less subject to blackouts, but solar batteries usually cover around 70% of an average home’s energy needs during the winter. Therefore, you might need a little help. In places with less-than-perfect solar exposition, very cloudy days might lower the performance of solar panels and make it impossible for you to produce enough energy for the whole day, even in the summer.
Read more: Solar Battery
Would You Like to Invest in Solar Energy?
If you have decided to install a solar system in your home, you will have a lot of researching to do. As you may have noticed, there are many options to choose from and sorting through the possibilities can be a nightmare.
Greenmatch can help you in your research by giving you up to four free, non-binding quotes on solar systems. We only work with certified, trusted suppliers to bring you personalized information to start your solar journey. All you need to do is scroll to the top of the page and fill out the form on the right!