Different Components of Solar Power System
A solar power plant directly connected to the home/enterprise and to the traditional electric utility grid.
Solar power systems inter-tied with the grid allows the consumer to get power from either the solar power plant or the utility grid. Switching between the solar and the grid is uniform in nature.
The main advantage of this kind of system is it’s ability to balance the system production and power requirements. When a grid-tied system is producing more power than the home consuming, the excess can be sold back to the Grid in a practice known as “net metering”. When the solar power system is not producing sufficient power, the home can draw power from the utility grid.
Grid-tied systems are the cheapest type of solar power system, due to lesser number of required components.
Components Solar Power system
A full grid-tied residential solar power system requires components to produce electricity, convert power into alternating current for use by home appliances, transfer excess electricity to the grid and maintain safety.
1. Solar Panels
Solar panels are the most visible components of a residential solar power system. The solar panels are installed on the roof and convert sunlight into electricity.
The process of converting sunlight into electricity is known as “photovoltaic effect”. Thus solar panels are also known as PV panels.
Solar panels are rated on their output scale in ‘watts’. Under ideal conditions the maximum output of a solar panel is equal to its output rating . Most commonly used solar panels these days are rated 300W.
Read about: Types of Solar Panels
2. Solar Array Mounting System
Solar panels are laid & joined into arrays and then mounted in the three ways
- On Poles in free standing arrays
- On ground directly
Most common are the Roof Mounted systems. Roof Mounted systems are aesthetically feasible & are quite efficient. Solar panels don’t usually require much maintenance & are to be washed on fortnightly basis for best results.
Type of Solar mounting systems
- Fixed mounts are preset for height and angle and do not move. Since the angle of the sun changes throughout the year, the height and angle of fixed mount arrays are a compromise that trades optimum angle for a less expensive, less complex installation.
- Tracking array mounts move during the day with respect to the position of sun. Tracking array move from east to west with the sun and adjust their angle to maintain the optimal production.
Solar panels produce DC (direct current) power. Standard home appliances use AC (alternating current) for functioning. An inverter converts the DC power produced by the solar panels to the AC power.
Read about: Different types of Rooftop Solar Power systems
4. Net Meter (Utility, Power meter)
In a Net Metering scenario the power meter can register dual readings, i.e. the power consumed from the utility(Electricity Provider, Grid) provider & the power generated by the Solar Power system & sent to the grid/utility provider. Hence able to register both power consumed from grid & sold to the grid.
5. Breaker Panel, AC Panel, Circuit Breaker Panel
Both power sources , i.e. The Grid & the Solar power system are connected to supply electricity at a junction known as breaker panel.