Solar made easy

Solar made easy
Solar made easy. Photo credit tupungato

Installing a solar panel system on your home may seem complex and bewildering, but a residential solar panel system required for most homes is fairly simple.

Here’s a quick summary of the components that you will need to start converting the sunlight that falls on your roof into low cost, renewable energy that your family can use:

Photo Voltaic (PV) Solar panel are the most important component of the system. It’s the panels that actually capture the light so that it can be converted into a useable power source. The panels installed on your home should be of high quality and be backed by a warranty. Investing in a good quality solar panel insures that your system will provide years of low maintenance service. The panels we use for our customers are backed by a 25 year warranty.

The PV panels will be installed on a rack that is physically attached to your roof.  To order prepare for the installation, the roof needs to be in good repair. Your installer needs to have the knowledge, skill and experience needed to do the job right the first time. You always want to deal with a reputable installer who stand behind their work.

The next step in converting the light captured by your PV panels into useable energy happens in the inverter. For residential installations, a simple device known as a string inverter is used to make the energy received into the solar panels ready for use in your home or for entering the grid if you have a grid-tied system. This step is necessary because the solar panels produce electricity that is direct current (DC) but alternating current (AC) is what we need in our homes.

Those are the two necessary components needed to start converting sunlight to electricity. Your solar consultant will go into details about other accessories and components that may be needed for your installation.

With the basic system described – solar panels plus inverter – electricity needed when the panels are not active will be supplied by the grid. However, adding a battery system allows storage of the electricity produced during the day to be used round the clock. A battery back-up system can also be used when electricity from the grid is not available, such as in the aftermath of a storm.

Converting your home to solar is as easy as 1-2-3 and the first step is scheduling an appointment to find out how you can get started saving money on your electric bills.

Residential solar storage necessary to reach energy goals

Residential solar storage is one of the keys to increasing the use of solar energy. Solar storage, provided by battery systems, makes energy produced during sunny days available so that it can be used at night and on days when sunshine is limited.

Using current technology, it’s possible for homeowners to customize the residential solar power system so that the solar energy they generate can be used in emergencies. To get the best coverage, a qualified solar consultant can help.

Here are a few things to consider in designing a residential solar storage (battery back-up) system

  • How much capacity does each battery provide, or how many kilowatt hours of energy can be stored?
  • What is the batteries power rating? This tells you how much power the battery can deliver at one time.

The answer to these two questions is used to determine how many batteries are needed to reach your goals. Residential solar batteries are designed to be highly customization to individual needs. For example, if your goal is to keep a few crucial appliances running for a long time, then your residential solar storage system should have higher capacity and a lower power rating. However, if you need to keep all your appliances running for a short time, then lower capacity and a higher power rating would be recommended.

An additional factor to consider in designing your residential solar storage system is the depth of discharge (dod) of the batteries. Dod is shorthand for how much of the battery capacity will be available. The depth of discharge also determines how long your batteries will last before they need to be replaced. The dod of the batteries in your system are a critical factor in how well your system meets your needs.

In designing your system, your solar consultant will provide you with choices that match your goals, along with information about expected life of and warranties for all components in your system.

In 2017, much of the research related to solar power generation is aimed at reducing the cost of storage of solar generated power. The Austin SHINES program is part of that effort. Of course, SHINES is an acronym – it’s shorthand for Sustainable and Holistic Integration of Energy Storage and Solar PV. This initiative, funded by the Department of Energy, is aimed at improving storage and other technologies so that Texas and other states can take advantage of their abundant solar resources. The potential for our state is huge, with most cities across the state receiving approximately 200 days of sunshine per year.

Get started now in taking advantage of that abundant energy by scheduling a solar consultation.

Photo copyright: zstockphotos