More Than Just Panels: Necessary Components For Your Solar Installation
Once you've made the decision to invest in solar power, it's time you look beyond simple panels and consider some of the peripheral devices necessary to deliver the power you generate. This goes beyond simple electrical wiring and incorporates the devices used to provide power either to your home or to your local power grid. Regardless of your approach to solar power, the delivery system you use can make quite a bit of difference.
Grid Tie Systems and Inverters
Using the local power grid for your energy needs, combined with net-metering, can result in a significant reduction in your electric bill. Net metering effectively allows you to reduce your bill based on the amount of power you generate for your power company. To do this, your solar installation will require the use of an inverter, which converts the energy you produce so that it can be used by your neighbors.
Inverters are installed alongside your power meter, and should be patched into the grid by a professional. However, there will be some loss of power based on the type and style of inverter you choose. The best inverters have efficiency ratings of 98.5%, but it's also important to look at the amount of wattage they are rated to handle. Higher wattage ratings will allow a greater flow of power from your panels to the local grid.
Improving Off-Grid Systems
One of the main problems with an off-grid solar installation is the need for additional components, such as charge controllers and a substantial battery bank for storing unused power. While the result is a zero-cost energy bill, the cost for installing the system can outweigh the benefit it provides. To minimize your losses and get the most out of your home solar panel system, make sure you're choosing the right setup.
Unless you're well away from the electrical grid in your area, avoid using a backup generator and tie your inverter into the power grid for off-peak hours, evenings and low production months. The cost of fueling a backup generator far exceeds what you'll spend on electricity, and doesn't involve burning diesel fuel. As well, make sure that your batteries are the most efficient available. Any storage of electricity will result in some loss, so make sure it's as minimal as possible.
No matter what appealed to you about solar power to begin with, the system and equipment you use to deliver that power makes a huge difference in the net result. Make sure you invest just as wisely and use the right professionals to get your solar energy where it's going.