Over the past few years, there has been a truly remarkable upsurge in the demand for solar energy systems in most countries including the United States. As a natural consequence, people are currently interested to know all about these systems. The function of these systems can be stated in a straightforward manner – the use of the sun’s rays to generate electricity. Hence, topics like how these devices actually function, the process by which sunlight is trapped, processed and whether the systems can continue to function normally, have to be examined with due care. This article is devoted to the discussion of precisely these issues.
The silicon wafers present in the solar power systems are equipped to trap the photons in the rays of the sun. These photons can then be transformed into DC electrical power. Once this DC current is has been converted to 120 volt usable AC electric power, it can be attached to the electrical framework of the building or plugged into the electronic grid systems directly. However, a major disadvantage might be the fact that, not everyone associated with the working of the solar power systems know the merits or demerits or the hazards associated with it. Thus, one needs to be extra careful while choosing the system. Past records of the company and its business history need to be studied.
There are certain issues that need to be studied while selecting a particular solar power system. This include: i). the add-on beneficial features that a grid-tied solar energy system has to offer, ii). the parts of the system, c). keeping a close eye on their functioning, d) the factors that contribute to the success of the system and d) the way of working and the steps to maintain the unit.
A solar power system that is grid-tied: Grid-tied solar energy systems represent an ideal device for generating electricity at all times during the day. These systems are cheaper as well. Solar power systems generally can easily produce electricity as long as sunlight is available during the day, but they stop working at night, and this is hardly desirable. If people opt for grid-tied solar power systems, the energy stored on the grid can be drawn upon to generate electricity at night. Excess electricity can also be sold off in exchange of money and this offsets the cost of electricity generation. If these grid-tied systems are not used, battery backups, that have a much higher price, need to be opted for.
Chief components of solar power systems: At the core of the solar power systems are the solar or photovoltaic cells. Generally, a ‘module’ is created by assembling several of these cells. Once some of these modules are attached together, we can create a solar panel. The panel then needs to be installed at such sites that receive abundant sunlight during most parts of the day, such as on the rooftop. Even those who are not experts have frequently seen these solar panels, which are rather prominent anyway. Hence, the panels can be said to be the point of introduction of people to solar power systems.
Apart from the solar panel, there are other crucial components of the system too. An inverter is one such, and it is responsible for transforming DC electric power into 120 volt AC electrical current that can be put to practical use. The inverter needs to have the requisite cycles too. For connecting the different parts of the solar power system, wires are generally used. For setting up the solar panels in the best way, clamps and holders (made of non-conducting materials) are used. Racks can fix up the panels on the roof. If any of the above components is not present, proper functioning of the system becomes almost impossible.
Monitoring via the web: This allows people to keep a close eye on the way of working of the solar power systems. This monitoring can be done using different portable gadgets as well. Several web browsers are also used for this purpose.
Main factors for success: Does your solar energy system contain ‘phantom loads’ in the form of computers or television sets, which are kept connected to the solar power system, even when these devices are powered down? For efficient performance, such ‘phantom loads’ have to be removed. A study of the climate is also required. As an example, let us consider that, the morning in San Francisco is foggy. This is a clear indication that a good amount of electricity is likely to be available during the afternoon period. The direction in which electric current would be produced at optimal level is another of the key success factors. All solar energy system supplying companies are aware of these points.
Proper way to maintain the solar power system: The solar power system needs to be kept clean, and this cleaning should be done once in a year at least. If batteries are also present, they need to be replaced at intervals of 5 to 10 years.
The benefits of solar power become evident as soon as such a system has been set up. However, a prior thorough knowledge regarding the installation procedures, the ideal place where it should be installed, the wiring, as well as the information about the safety measures is required. Users also need to know from where they can get cheap components as well as free batteries from. Once installed properly, solar power systems can indeed be great additions to any home.