Solar Energy Equipment

Read about the Components That Make Up a Solar PV System

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What Is Solar Energy Equipment?

Solar system equipment is an important component of a solar energy system. The instalment of this equipment has the purpose of harnessing the sun’s energy and converting it into electricity, necessary for households or businesses. Among solar system equipment, we find several components such as solar panels, inverters, racking systems, and batteries..

Solar Panels

Solar panels are the components that harness and store the energy from the sunlight. Photovoltaic solar panels (PV) are composed of silicon semiconductors, which capture energy from the sun’s rays. This process is named the photovoltaic effect. When exposed to the sun, PV solar panels produce energy in the form of a direct current charge, which can be measured in units of watts.

Solar panels can range in their energy output from roughly 75 watts to 350 watts, with an average output of about 250 watts. When solar panels are grouped together, they form a solar panel system. The energy potential of the system is calculated by the number of panels multiplied by their power output. Common in UK households are the 5 kWh solar systems, which are composed of 20 panels, each with a 250-watt power output. Based on these numbers, an annual solar production can be estimated of 6,500 watts per year. This is more than enough to sustain an average-sized household in the UK with all of its necessities.

Inverters

Solar panels produce a direct current charge, which needs to be converted to alternating current in order to supply power to appliances. This is done with the help of inverters, which regulate and adapt the energy produced by solar panels to levels necessary for energy usage. The inverters are compatible with single-phase applications (found in most households) and three-phase applications. Solar inverters connect the solar panel system to the existing electrical meter. There are two main types of inverters for solar energy systems, central inverters and micro inverters.

Central Inverters

Central inverters are less expensive than its counterpart and are commonly used for solar systems which have a large solar access. They can convert the power produced by all the solar panels linked together. The size of central inverters is similar to the solar panel size and is installed indoors typically on a wall. This inverter is most effective when all the solar panels connected to it have the same specifications and work under similar conditions, thus putting out the same amount of power.

Micro Inverters

Micro Inverters are used when a part of the solar panel system is temporarily shaded from the sunlight. They are assigned to each individual solar panel, allowing technicians to monitor and analyse each solar module’s energy production. This leads to a higher price for these components, but also to a higher level of information access. Micro inverters are beneficial in situations where a central inverter is not compatible with the system.

Read More: Solar Inverters

Image of a solar energy unit

Racking Systems

Solar Panel Systems for households or businesses are most commonly installed on either the roof of a facility or mounted on the ground. The term 'racking' refers to the structural systems that secure the solar panels in place. Since these racking systems are designed to support the weight of the solar panels, their method of attachment varies based on their mounting style and location.

Ground Mounts

Ground mounts are typically made of aluminium racking supported by galvanised steel, ideal for applications with open spaces such as solar farms. Ground mounts allow for larger solar systems to be installed. In the possibility of limited roof space, ground mounts can be the solution to installing panels on the ground. Ground mounts are attached to the ground through concrete pillars or footings.

Ballasted Roof Mounts

Ballasted roof mounts are typically composed of 'ballast trays,' which are made of polyethene, a recycled material, which helps prevent puncturing of roofing components. Ballasted mounts are ideal for applications with flat roofs, such as solar panels for commercial buildings. One advantage of these mounts is that they allow for minimal penetrations of the roof surface. This is both more aesthetically pleasing and preserves the roof integrity.

Flush Roof Mounting

Flush roof mounting allows for solar panels to be mounted onto homes in a secure and low-profile fashion. They are ideal for pitched roofs of varying angles, such as solar or thermodynamic panel for homes, allowing for minimal penetrations by tying into existing roof framing. An advantage of these mountings is that they are fitted with waterproof components, which are sealed and inspected regularly, and allow for solar panels to be installed on asphalt shingle, wood shake, metal, and slate roofs. Their structure permits wiring, grounding, and micro inverters to store below solar panels.

Solar Battery Storage System

Some may be startled about how much a solar battery storage system costs, and then fail to see the benefits it provides. With a solar battery storage system, you can easily store the surplus energy for either future use or sell it back to grid to gain some money back.