Do you want to cash in on the benefits of solar energy? Purchase the right solar equipment and better yet, let experts install those components for you.
Solar energy equipment comprises all the components of a solar system. Installation of all the solar equipment components enables the harnessing of the sun’s energy and its conversion into electricity.
To fulfil the power demands of your home or office, you must know everything about the key solar equipment components: solar panels, solar inverters, mounting structures, a net meter, and solar accessories.
Let us learn everything about each of these components in detail!
1. Solar Panels
If you are planning a switch to solar energy, you already know the benefits of using a solar panel but do you know how it works?
Here is a brief synopsis:
The ultimate requirement — solar panels are responsible for harnessing electricity from sunlight.
Each solar panel comprises individual solar cells that capture the sun’s rays. Every cell has silicon semiconductors, boron (positive charge), and phosphorus (negative charge).
On the other hand, sunlight comprises innumerable particles of energy called photons that capture the sun’s rays. The process is termed the photovoltaic effect, and the panels are also called photovoltaic solar panels.
The wonders that they are, solar panels are of many kinds. Here’s a very brief guide on the best solar panels you can choose from.
- – Monocrystalline solar panels: Energy-efficient, heat-resistant, and dark-coloured – these solar panels are based on half-cut cell technology. They’re ideal for installation in areas with partial shadow issues or space limitations.
- – Polycrystalline solar panels: More affordable than monocrystalline, these are blue-coloured panels with medium efficiency.
- – Passivated Emitter and Rear Contact cells (PERC) solar panels: These are the most efficient solar panels that require less space and provide the highest energy retention.
- – Thin-film solar panels: Lightweight, flexible, easy-to-install solar panels – they can adhere to any solid surface like glass, metal, or plastic. Their cost is less compared to other panels.
2. Mounting Structures
Solar panels won’t produce optimal results if not installed in the right way. A solar panel stand or mounting structure plays a very crucial role when it comes to mounting the solar panels.
Following are the five different types of mounting structures you can choose from
- – Ground mounts: These are made from aluminium racking supported by galvanised steel. They are ideal for open space applications like solar farms. Ground mounted racks are attached to the ground via footings or concrete pillars. No roof penetration is needed, and they have a risk-free installation.
- – Roof-mounted racks: This solar equipment is a stand that is adjustable to fit the rooftops and hold the weight of the solar panels. The installation cost is low too.
- – Floaters: When you install solar panels on water, they are mounted on interconnected plastic rafts that serve as floating platforms on the water’s surface.
- – Tracking system mounted racks: Suitable for solar water pumping and tracking systems, they’re of two types – One-axis and Two-axis. The one-axis mount measures the sun’s motion. The two-axis mount employs PV concentration systems to track the sun’s daily and seasonal path.
- – Top-of-pole mounted racks: They anchor the PV solar panels on poles, and their design prevents particle accumulation on the solar panel.
- – Side-of-pole mounted racks: These are variants of pole mounts with support placed on the side of the pole. They are better options for places with remote solar lighting systems.
3. Solar Inverters
Now that you know about the panels and their mounting, the next most important solar energy equipment is the solar inverter.
Your solar panels produce a direct current charge, while you require an alternating current in your house.
The inverter is that solar equipment that converts and regulates the energy produced by solar panels. Precisely, a solar inverter converts direct current into alternating current.
You can select from the major types of inverters for your solar power systems:
- – Central inverters: Less expensive and more commonly used, these are suitable for solar systems with large solar access. This equipment of solar energy is installed indoors.
A central inverter is capable of converting the power produced by all of the solar panels linked together.
- – Micro Inverters: These are popular for household purposes. They are suitable for areas where a part of the solar panel system stays temporarily blocked from sunlight.
They are placed behind every individual solar panel, allowing monitoring and analysing of each module’s energy production levels. They are expensive but grant a higher level of information access.
- – Battery-based inverters: These can be grid-interactive (on-grid) or stand-alone (off-grid). They reduce grid power consumption and provide you with a continuous power supply. They are affordable and easy to maintain.
4. Energy Meter or Bi-directional Meter
You can record the energy production via solar panels through an energy meter. Discom mandates replacing an energy meter with a bi-directional net meter in the residential solar system.
What is a bi-directional meter?
As the name suggests, this net metre can send electricity units to the grid and import electricity from the grid as well.
Since a net meter records the power generated and the power consumed, you pay the amount for the net units you consume.
5. Solar Accessories
Besides the aforementioned major solar equipment components, a solar panel system also requires:
- – AC cables
- – DC cables
- – AC combiner box
- – DC combiner box
- – Earthing strips
- – Lightning arrester
- – Conduit pipes for routing cables
- – MC4 connectors
- – Electrical connection components
Choosing the right, and optimal quality solar equipment can multiply your benefit from the green energy solar panel systems. Strategic planning and execution are essential.
When you side with the right installation company, you will have access to the best-in-class solar equipment components. Plus, the solar installation will be hassle-free.
Q What role do AC and DC combiner boxes play?
A DC Combiner box is used to isolate all the wires that are carrying the DC current from the solar panels.
An AC Combiner box connects the inverter’s output to the electricity grid and the energy meter. It provides electrical surge protection and AC isolation.
Q How much space is required for solar panels?
A solar energy equipment installation needs space depending on the energy requirements.
For example, if you wish to install a 3 KW rooftop solar system, you must have at least 300 sq feet of shadow-free area as you will have to install about 7 to 10 solar panels.
Q Can air conditioners run on solar panels?
Yes, air conditioners can run on solar electricity generated by solar panels.