Green energy and clean electricity sources have been the buzzword in modern society. Technological innovations and continuing advancements have made it possible to convert solar energy into electricity for a sustainable future. Interestingly, the creation of energy by the sun is also increasing by the day to fulfil the earth’s power requirement and more.

Due to the abundant presence of renewable energy from the sun and the inclination of investors to replace fossil-fuel combustion, absolute adoption is possible. The exponential incorporation of solar energy to power your home will be 100% by 2032.

If you’re one of the clean energy seekers, you must have considered installing solar power systems. Whether you aim to go DIY or need an electrician’s help for setup, acquainting yourself with the components of a solar energy system is pivotal.

Don’t know where to start? Here you go!

Key Takeaways

  • A solar power system consists of several essential components, including solar photovoltaic panels, solar inverters, racking and mounts, solar batteries, charge controllers, and a solar power meter.
  • Solar panels come in various types, such as monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin-film panels. Each type is efficient and suitable for different applications, like residential or commercial setups.
  • The efficiency and performance of a solar power system depend on factors like the choice of components, location, environmental conditions, sunshine hours, and electricity load requirements. Making well-informed decisions about these components is crucial for maximising the benefits of solar energy.

Component 1: Solar Photovoltaic Panel

Do you remember the shiny reflection on glass panes in a solar energy system?

These are the combination of multiple photovoltaic cells that enable solar energy conversion into electricity. Each solar system carries several PV panels for power generation, forming a solar array.

Solar panels are generally installed on the roof for maximum insolation. However, depending upon the adjustability and portability of the solar panels, they can be fixed on top of a vehicle or ground-mounted. In addition, these components are placed at an optimal angle to ensure high absorption of sunlight throughout the day.

Home Solar Panels

There are various types of solar panels made out of different materials. Most modern solar PV arrays are created using crystalline silicon wafers. Depending on the layers of crystal used, these panels are further divided into:

Monocrystalline Silicon Panels

The commonly known silicon cells are monocrystalline solar panels. They are called so because of the usage of a single source of silicon fused to create silicon solar cells in the panel. Since it utilises only one form of silicon, the overall efficiency of each panel increases as against the multi-crystal structure.

Due to their higher output, these solar cells are widely used in commercial projects.

Polycrystalline Silicon Panels

These panels use many small silicon crystals melted together. These crystals are termed grains separated by boundaries in the solar panel structure. These grains vary in size, ranging from nanometres to millimetres.

These are budget-friendly options but usually offer lesser efficiency than monocrystalline panels. Due to their affordability, polycrystalline silicon panels are the most preferred choice in solar power setups in residential spaces.

Thin-film Solar Cells

The thin film solar PV cells are the oldest type of cells made using amorphous silicon. They are made with noncrystalline silicon grains, unlike the usual silicon-cell wafers.

Amorphous silicon is a pocket-friendly material. However, the noncrystalline solar grains are less efficient than the monocrystalline and polycrystalline variants.

Because of the noncrystalline component, these cells can help create flexible solar panels. These solar cells generally come in handy for designing portable solar panels like RV solar systems, camping solar power generators, etc.

Types of Solar Panels

Component 2: Solar Inverters

Solar inverters are one of the most critical parts of a renewable energy generator with sunlight. It facilitates the conversion of DC electricity into alternating current electricity.

The conversion is crucial as most home appliances run on AC power. Even though certain equipment is available that can operate using DC electricity, they’d require additional investment from your end. The solar inverters turn the DC supply into 115, 220, or 240V current usable forms.

Depending upon the mount area and location, there are different kinds of inverters available, including:

String inverter

One can install these inverting devices onto a wall and acquire energy from a string of panels to convert them into AC electricity. They are more common in residential spaces.

Since they’re ‘centrally’ connected with the series of solar panels, they ensure optimisation of acquired power and equal efficiency distribution for each panel. However, this also proves to be a drawback for the string inverter as the dysfunction of one panel leads to the stoppage of the flow of electricity from others.

Microinverters

Like its name, these small-sized inverters are attached to each panel for converting DC power into AC electricity. Instead of aggregating the overall system’s performance, they enhance each panel’s output individually.

Due to the instalment in each panel component, the performance of the rest of the panels isn’t affected during partial shade. So, these inverters are the best choice in the solar energy system for areas severely affected by weather conditions.

Power Optimisers

These conversion systems in a solar power setup are module-level power electronics to enhance power output and efficiency. It is a DC-DC converter which is attached to each panel. Instead of converting DC electricity into AC power, these systems optimise the performance of each panel before transmitting the output to a string inverter.

They minimise the impact of weather conditions and shading on the system performance and offer high panel monitoring. These setups are responsible for aggregating the entire output of a solar panel system.

Solar Power System with Inverter

Component 3: Racking and Mounts

Besides the technical aspect of a solar panel system, the mounting structure is important to note for maximum insolation absorption. The mounting panels or gear ensure the safe and proper installation of the panels on the roof, ground or vehicle.

The quality and the material used in the rack construction are extremely important. Since the solar panels are attached outdoors, they face the brunt of extreme weather. That’s why it’s important to purchase gear which is not only strong but also corrosion-resistant.

Depending on the application area, the mounts are of three kinds:

Roof mounts

These typical mounting structures are¬†attached to the roof’s surface for solar panel installation. These structures are strong enough to support the entire weight of a solar setup. Compared to other mounting and racking varieties, these are the most convenient gear for the panel.

These mounting options can also help affix the solar power system to a moving vehicle such as an RV.

Ground mounts

These are the adjustable mounting choices for solar panel setup on the ground. These structures are attached on top of concrete to ensure a stable foundation. However, you can change the alignment and angle as per the descent of sunlight and weather changes.

Since these mounts require huge spaces for installation, they are more commonly seen in commercial settings.

Pole mounts

These mounts are the most space-optimising choices for installing solar power setups. As the name suggests, these mounting structures comprise poles attached to the panels.

The foundation on which the poles are installed is not movable as they’re made of concrete. However, using a tracking system, you can adjust the poles’ direction based on insolation descent.

Solar Panels on Roof

Component 4: Solar Batteries

Solar panels generate electricity, which must be stored for usage after sunset. Moreover, these battery banks are important if you intend to send the electricity surplus to a grid-tied system. That’s where batteries come into the picture. Electricity consumption decides the capacity and the number of batteries you require in the solar power setup. In addition, you can also utilise series, parallel or parallel-series combinations of battery banks depending on the generated power and weather conditions.

Since the overall cost of batteries can be high, the expenses with each solar setup depend on several factors, such as:

  • Usage duration
  • Feed-in tariff rate (The rate which the government rewards against surplus electricity transfer)
  • Type of solar battery
  • Number of batteries in a setting

Based on the ion constituent of the battery banks, they come in various forms, including lithium-ion, nickel cadmium-ion, lead acid, and flow batteries. Even though lead acid batteries are the oldest kind, lithium-ion is the most used battery option nowadays due to its reliability and storage capacity.

Roof Solar Panels

Component 5: Charge Controllers

It is the most significant part of your solar power setup if the entire structure carries a battery. These components regulate the flow of electricity from solar panels to a battery.

The main objective of these intermediaries is to ensure that the power banks in the solar setup are charged to an optimum level. Maintaining proper capacity ensures the longevity of the batteries and prevents any mishaps.

These charge controllers are of two kinds:

Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT)

The charge controller enables the batteries to receive peak power voltage for faster recharge with minimum losses.

Pulse Width Modulation (PWM)

These charge controllers ensure that the batteries are not overcharged by modulating the duty cycle of electricity transfer with pulses.

Component 6: Solar Power Meter

A solar power meter is optional as it allows you to see the power consumption in your household.

This equipment is especially beneficial in net metering solar systems for earning the feed-in tariff for excess electricity generation. With its installation, you can analyse how much surplus you can send to grid-tied banks. In addition, it enables you to observe any power leakages to gain the maximum efficiency of your solar power system.

Discover the Power of Solar with Solar Panels Network

Are you navigating the world of solar installations? Look no further than Solar Panels Network, the UK’s trusted partner in harnessing the sun’s potential. Our dedication goes beyond just installations; we’re on a mission to transform how homeowners and businesses across the UK perceive and utilise energy. By choosing us, you’re reducing your carbon footprint and making a smart financial move that promises savings for years ahead. Contact us today¬†and embark on your solar journey.

Final Thoughts

Solar power systems’ cost-friendliness and sustainability are slowly becoming the most preferred choice for electricity generation. Solar energy is extremely beneficial for all, from residential DIY setups to commercial installations.

Depending on the kind of your project and the amount of electricity required, you need to make well-informed selections of its components. The quality of each constituting part decides the overall output from the solar power setup. Moreover, the region, environment, sunshine hours and load requirements also impact the performance of your solar energy system.

With these factors in mind, you must delve deeper into the utility of each component to understand how it will impact the output. The investment behind each part requires adequate consideration to attain the performance, production and convenience you aim to receive with the renewable energy panel setup.

About the Author

Solar Panels Network stands at the forefront of solar energy solutions, driven by a team of seasoned solar engineers and energy consultants. With over decades of experience in delivering high-quality solar installations and maintenance, we are committed to promoting sustainable energy through customer-centric, tailored solutions. Our articles reflect this commitment, crafted collaboratively by experts to provide accurate, up-to-date insights into solar technology, ensuring our readers are well-informed and empowered in their solar energy decisions.