Considering solar power? This following is provide to help answer some of the common questions we get. If you still have questions or want an estimate on installing solar, please call us at 724-427-6900.
WHAT ARE THE COMMON COMPONENTS OF A SOLAR PHOTOVOLTAIC (PV) SYSTEM?
Whether off-grid...where you create all of the electricity you use...or grid-attached...which allows you to reduce or eliminate your monthly electric bill while remaining connected to the public power grid...solar systems may include the following components:
Racking System...the racking system secures the solar panels onto a pole, roof or on the ground. The racking system can vary based on the location of the solar array (group of panels). Some racking and mounting systems can allow the panels to follow the path of the sun to get the optimal exposure, although the majority of installation hold the solar panels in a fixed position.
Inverter...an inverter takes the Direct Current (DC) and transforms it into Alternating Current (AC) which is what is used by most modern electronic devices (laptops, TVs, coffee makers, etc.). The inverter needs to be sized appropriately for the amount of DC power produced and the amount of AC power needed.
Disconnects...usually DC and AC power disconnects are installed to allow maintainers, first responders and owners to shut off power. Note: All systems we install meet various safety and compliance codes. This means that any grid-tied system is "grid aware" and shuts down automatically if the grid is down. This prevents technicians from injury when repairing down power lines.
Batteries....If you want to access the power created by solar panels at night, then you will need some batteries to store electricty and release it when needed. The type of battery will determine how and where they need to be stored. The batteries need to be sized for the expected power consumption before being recharged. We can help determine the number of batteries needed based on their capacity and depth of discharge rating.
Charge Controller...If batteries are included in your solar system, then you will need a battery charger control to prevent overcharging the batteries. Sometimes other components (e.g. inverters) incorporate the charge controller function. Again, let us help you size the charge controller to match the batteries and power output of the solar panels.
HOW MUCH WILL THIS COST?
The price of the system will vary based on the size, complexity and location. The good news is that the price of many of the components has dropped significantly from even four or five years ago...and they continue to decline. The addition of batteries adds flexibility but also increases the cost. A typical grid-tied system (without batteries) can cost in the range from $12,000 to $17,000 (or higher). Let us give you a free estimate.
We often recommend SolarWorld panels in our solutions, so check out some of the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) from their website: