Main Components Of Solar Power Systems
The best solar panels for you will depend on your budget and the amount of light that’s available in your location. Knowing the components of a solar power system can help you understand how the types of solar panels work.
There are three main components in a solar power system:
Solar Panels: The main role of a solar panel is to generate electrons when exposed to sunlight, which then helps produce a flow of electricity for your home or office. Solar panels dont release fumes and dont have greenhouse gases or carbon emissions.
The amount of electricity solar panels produce from sunlight is referred to as solar efficiency. The average efficiency rating is between 15 percent and 17 percent, but high-end models can reach above 20 percent.
Inverters: Standard home appliances use alternating current electricity to operate. Inverters take the direct current electricity produced by solar panels and convert it into AC electricity.
There are two types of inverters: string inverters and microinverters. A string inverter is attached to a wall, and all the solar panels connect to it. A microinverter is attached behind each solar panel. Microinverters offer more energy production, but they cost more than string inverters. Most solar panel kits feature one of these two inverters, as well as essential solar power accessories such as batteries, solar battery chargers, charge controllers and cables.
Start Your Solar Journey Today On Energysage
If youre wavering between a DIY solar system and hiring a solar installer, getting a ballpark estimate for an installation may help you in your decision process. With our Solar Calculator, you can see upfront cost and long-term savings estimates based on your location and roof type to determine if a solar installation is the best choice for you. If youre looking to get quotes from local contractors today, be sure to check out our quote comparison platform.
Note: This post contains affiliate links. We only link to products that we think are great.
This post originally appeared on Mother Earth News.
What Is Included In My 6kw Solar Installation Kit
Our kits provide all the solar components you need from start to finish.
- Solar Panels – Tier-1 monocrystalline panels with 25 year warranties.
- Micro Inverters – Enphase IQ8 Micro Inverters
- Racking and Attachments – Industry leading IronRidge racking mounts the solar panels to your roof.
- System Monitoring – Free with every kit purchase! View and analyze your solar energy production in real-time.
- System Design and Financial Analysis – We’ll custom engineer this system for your roof and calculate the payback on your solar investment.
- Not Included – Wire, conduit, fittings, breakers, AC/DC Disconnects , junction boxes and a sub panel . All these items can be purchased at any electrical supply shop, Home Depot or Lowes, and will typically cost $300 to $500. Our technical support representative will provide a shopping list once your plans are complete.Plans, interconnection, and any other services are not included in this kit, but available for an additional fee.
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Set Up The Conduit And Platform
First, you will need to pick a suitable platform for your solar panels, these can be anything flat or tilted towards the sun. The most ideal location is the roof of your house, however, this can pose some installation problems you need to consider:
- Not all roofs are built the same way.
- Some do not have the most optimal exposure to the sun.
- Some roofs need to be serviced periodically meaning dismantling your panel set up to do this.
- You have less freedom how to install your panels.
However, a good roof should save you the trouble of having to build a custom platform for your solar panels. If your roof is not the best though, you will need at least four concrete pillars and at least a lot of 4×4 wood or steel tube for the panels, the amount and width depend on how many panels you have.
As for the conduit, it needs to have a secure connection from the platform to your house, its easier if the platform is your roof because that generally means a shorter conduit.
Final Thoughts: Where To Buy Solar Panels
Installing solar panels involves a number of decisions, starting with where to buy your panels. Are you qualified to install solar panels yourself? What type of solar panel is best for your energy needs? What other equipment will you need to buy along with your panels?
If you choose to go with a solar company, make sure you do your research and hire a vetted, experienced solar contractor with a track record of success. Ask any friends or neighbors with solar who they hired and how their experience was. Some solar companies have programs that reward $1,000 or more for referrals. You can also continue your research on the best solar companies, or look for local solar installers in your area.
If you want to know more about installing a solar panel system, you can click below to connect with an EcoWatch-vetted installer and get a free estimate.
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Giving You The Power To Go Solar
The future of solar is bright in Georgia, and Georgia Power is leading the way in making our state a national leader in solar energy. To help meet our customers’ growing electricity needs, Georgia Power is committed to using reliable, cost-effective, renewable energy sources that work best in our state.
Do You Want To Earn Money From The Fit
The crucial thing to bear in mind, however, is that DIY installs are not immediately eligible for Feed-in Tariff payments, which for many people are the principal attraction of PV systems. In order to be eligible for FiT payments , every installation must secure government-approved Microgeneration Certification Scheme certification.
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Will You Save More By Doing It Yourself
One of the biggest reasons people want to do their own work is that they are most likely not to make as much money by doing it themselves. The idea is that if the savings on labor plus the big discount you receive for buying and installing your own panels exceeds what an electrician would charge, then it simply makes economic sense to try and do this yourself, similarly as you should compare electricity providers with vertaa sähkösopimus for cheaper tariffs. Make sure you understand all of the costs and factors that go into this equation before making a final decision.
Comparing The Costs Of Solar
If solar is getting cheaper, and the technology is improving all the time, does that make it a better investment than other options? To answer that, its not enough to compare the cost of solar against historical benchmarks. We have to look at how clean energy stacks up against alternative methods of delivering power to your home because solar panels are really only worth the investment if they can outperform the other options on the market.
For grid-tied systems, the math is pretty simple: you compare the cost of solar against the cost of buying power from the utility company to estimate the grid-tied rebates payback period.
These calculations can also be applied to evaluate off-grid systems. instead of utility power, though, youll need to compare solar to the costs of running a power line to your property or look at alternative power sources, like wind, hydro, or a trusty generator. Sometimes a combination of methods may be the smartest option.
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Diy Solar Pv Panel Installation Pros
Buy a kit online and solarize your home like a true Solarpunk!
A case study: my friend R. runs a small solar panel system to power lights, her cellphone and a laptop battery in Ontario, Canada. Her fresh spring water is brought to the home and she uses compost toilets, so no need for power to run pumps. When her partner died she was worried about maintaining the DIY solar system her partner had built and maintained over the years. Some days she was running around the property looking for the energy hog and she needed some battery education from some local friends. In the end she was really pleased that she could maintain the system herself and be self-reliant, all on her own.
Maybe you want a little power for your off-centered A frame cabin in the woods? This is Stedsans in Sweden.
Estimate Solar System Size And Installation Costs To Answer Are Solar Panels Worth It
Next, youll need to determine what size solar panel system you need and the estimated cost of solar panels:
1. Estimate the size of your solar system. Use our solar panel cost calculator to determine what size system you would need to cover your usage. You just need the 2 two figures above, along with your ZIP code .
The calculator returns a system size and cost estimate to use for our purposes here. You can also compare the system size recommendation to our pre-packaged systems to hone in on an exact cost for solar financing.
Example: This 6.3 kW system produces about 870 kWh/month, perfect to offset our usage of 867 kWh/month from step 2. The system costs $9,669 at the time of publication. Well add another $1,500 as a rough estimate for taxes, shipping and permitting fees. Total cost estimate: $11,169.
2. Add installation costs. Local solar installers charge around $1/watt to install a system, which would amount to $6,300 for the 6.3 kW system linked above.
Many of our customers choose to install their own system to save this chunk of cash which dramatically changes the payback calculations. If you do decide to hire someone to complete the solar panel installation, add that fee to the total cost of going solar.
Example: $6,300 if installed by a contractor / $0 if you DIY install.
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An Important Note On Diy Solar Panel Installation
There are many DIY projects that homeowners can complete entirely on their own, but solar panel installation is not one of them. Installing solar panels involves the use of electrical wiring, which is not safe to work with unless you are an experienced electrician. Furthermore, a number of states, including Florida, require homeowners to hire licensed technicians to install solar panels. For these reasons, it is best to let a professional handle the majority of the installation work. But, you can still cut costs by purchasing the equipment and mounting the panels on your own instead of hiring a professional to complete these tasks. Then, call an experienced professional when youre ready to connect the system. This strategy will help you save as much money as possible while also ensuring you are not exposed to electrical hazards.
Learn Hub: Do It Yourself Solar
When you choose DIY solar, youre taking control of your solar project. While a DIY solar system involves some extra effort, you can act as your own project manager and save thousands when setting up your solar panels. You can build it yourself, hire local laborers to help, or do a mix of both.
Regardless of which approach you choose, our Do-It-Your-Way Solar Guide will help you learn everything you need to know about DIY solar panels, including planning, system design, set up, and more. And, you can when youre ready to get started.
Building your own solar system puts you in complete control of your solar project but requires a lot of planning and hard work. By opting to go DIY solar, you can actually cut your costs by more than $12,000 for the average home solar system. Not a bad investment.
You can go solar today for about one-third of what it would have cost ten years ago. In fact, the cost of a fully installed system went down from $7.14/watt in 2010 to $2.50/watt by 2020.
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Top Rated Solar Panels And Inverters
Whichever way you choose to install your solar power system, it is important that the quality of the equipment holds up. A good solar company sells you equipment that is safe and is going to last 25 years – which is the life expectancy of your solar panel system.
The upfront cost of your solar system may be higher, but its more likely to last longer, leading to more savings. Good solar companies charge a little extra, to ensure they can afford to honor your warranty period.
If you buy any of these brands in 2022, we are confident they will perform well if installed correctly.5 top trusted solar panel brands in 2022
Residential Solar Energy Systems: The Basics
The majority of residential solar energy systems are still connected to the grid. This allows you to still have power when the sun is not shining and youve run out of solar energy generated by your own system. Besides always having power available, when youre still connected to the grid, youre eligible for net metering. Net metering is when any unused energy generated by the solar panels installed in your house is fed back into the grid. The utility company then credits you back for the solar energy you are feeding into the grid. Essentially, if your credit is the same or more than what you use from the grid, your bill from the electric company can be $0. In addition to net metering, when you install a residential solar power system, you are also eligible for federal and local tax incentives and rebates that can result in major savings off the top.
Equipment Needed for DIY Residential Solar System Installation
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Frequently Asked Questions About Diy Solar Panels
If youre considering a DIY solar panel kit, but still have concerns about the best options, process, and general cost, check out a few of the most common questions we encounter when talking to solar shoppers:
Are DIY solar panels worth it?
DIY solar panels may be tempting to install, but their long-term worth may be up for debate due to quality alone. Typically, a solar panel system should continue to generate electricity for 25 to 35 years, so its important to invest in quality equipment and a reputable installer. If you purchase a home solar panel kit from a retailer, you may be paying less per watt, but youre not going to get the same efficiency or quality that professional installers usually offer with their products. Youll also likely forgo any warranties that come with your solar panel system, as warranties often only apply when the system is installed by a certified installer. Its also important to mention that if you still need to rely on some utility power and need to remain connected to the grid, DIY solar panels are not worth itthey are best used for small off-grid projects.
Do you need to be an electrician to install solar panels?How much do DIY solar panels cost?
You can find reliable DIY solar panels at retailers like Home Depot, manufactured by Grape Solar, for anywhere between $6,000 to $11,000, depending on your system size needs. For lower cost options, some manufacturers sell DIY solar panels on Amazon for anywhere between $1,600 to $2,500.
Best Solar Panels For Rvs / Mobile Applications
Solar is also a great solution for mobile applications like RVs and boats. But youll need smaller panels to work around any space constraints.
The best solar panel for this situation is Sol-Go 115 watt flexible panels.
Their lower profile helps you find the right configuration with limited space available. And since these panels can bend up to 30 degrees, they can flex around curved surfaces to make the most of the space you have.
These panels are lightweight, easy to install and perform well in low light. Theyre built to adapt to rough and changing conditions that come with living life on the road.
The last category well look at is the best solar panels for small-scale remote applications.
These tend to be used to power remote equipment for a variety of industries:
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Gear Required For Off
The essential components of an off-grid system are similar to a grid-tie setup with the addition of:
- Charge controller
- Balance of system components
The following short video from Su-Kam Solar describes the different uses for pure sine wave versus modified sine wave inverters. Not only will you see the difference in the graphical illustrations of both you will hear the contrasts, too.
The Pros And Cons Of Diy Solar Panels: Should You Install Them Yourself Or Pay Someone Else
DIY solar panels: Good idea? Bad idea?
If you’re a homeowner, it’s not hard to see the appeal of solar panels. Whether you are conscious of your carbon emissions or your budget , installing DIY solar panels can shrink your impact on the planet and lower the monthly energy bill.
But while the DIY solar panels can be an elegant and eco-friendly option in some situations, they aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution for everyone’s energy-related issues. Below, we’ll walk you through the pros and cons of undergoing the DIY project of installing your own solar panels. And we’ll help you decide if you want to take on the task or pursue another option like a solar power purchase agreement or having solar panels installed professionally.
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What Is Needed To Install Solar Panels
It is a simple process to install home solar panels. Your solar contractor should take care of the entire process for you. Below are the documents required for solar panels on homes:
1. An electrical permit. This is pulled by a Master Electrician and lets the local electrical authorities know what work is being completed and where. Homeowners can pull their own permit, however we do not recommend completing any electrical work unless you are a qualified electrician.
2. A micro-generation application from the Alberta Utility Commission . This allows you to export your solar energy back to your electrical retailer for a credit. You will see a Micro-Generation Credit line appear on your monthly power bill to see exactly how much energy you exported that billing period.
3. A development/building permit. This is not required in every jurisdiction,but is sometimes required.
4. Grant Application. Depending on what classification the solar installation is you may be eligible for rebates or incentives. Once again, we will complete this step or as much as possible for you. Most grants require a few different documents to receive funding. As of 2019, the Alberta Residential and Commercial Solar Program has been withdrawn and is no longer accepting applications.
Commercial solar power systems most often require a building and development permit, both of which will involve more engineering work.