If you're thinking about switching to solar power, you probably have a lot of questions about how solar panels work and if your home could run on solar energy. Talk to a solar power professional to get a full understanding of how residential solar energy works so you make an informed choice about going solar. Here is a quick and basic overview of the parts of a home solar panel system.
The Solar Panels
The solar panels are the most important part of the system because these capture energy from the sun. These are usually mounted on the roof of your home, but it's also possible to mount them on the ground if you have room and if it's allowed by local codes. When you switch to solar power, the first thing the company will do is assess your property to see if there's enough sunlight to make solar power a good investment.
Things they take into account are trees nearby that produce shade or that will produce shade in the coming years, the orientation of your roof, and shade cast by taller buildings. You'll learn the solar energy score for your property, which lets you know how suitable your home is for solar panels.
The Inverter And Battery Pack
Solar panels collect energy from the sun and create DC current with it. Your home uses AC current, so an inverter is needed to convert DC current into AC current that your appliances and electronics can use. Just like a traditional electrical system, the solar panels have to be connected to an electrical panel with individual circuits and breakers.
When the sun shines, the panels create power even if you're not able to use it all. The excess power is stored in a battery pack. The stored power can then be used at night or on rainy days when the sun isn't available to create power to use.
Meters And Backup Equipment
When you have solar panels installed, you can stay completely off the grid or you can connect to your local utility company for backup reasons and to sell excess power. When you connect to the utility company, you can draw power during long periods of bad weather when your panels can't supply your needs. You can also send energy back to the grid when you produce too much power. Metering equipment is installed for the purpose of monitoring your power usage and production.
If you're going to stay off the grid, then you'll probably want a backup generator to keep your refrigerator and other essentials operational during long periods without sunshine and during times of peak demand.