THE SOLAR COMPONENTS
The solar components
Understanding the products or components that enable a solar energy system to function properly is important. Any potential solar power system owner should take the time to understand what summarizes a photovoltaic array and how those components work to enable electrical generation for the energy needs.
It is important to note that each system is unique in its size and structure, therefore application of a photovoltaic array will differ from another.
The solar components includes:
- The solar panel
- Ac/Dc Disconnects
- Monitoring equipment etc
- Charger conteollers
The solar panel
Solar Panels or PV modules are the most commonly known component in a photovoltaic array. Made up of mostly solar cells, framing, and glass; solar panels work by collecting and harnessing photovoltaic energy from the sun, and delivering that energy as ‘direct current’ (DC) power to an inverter or converter component (may be a charge controller in some instances).
The DC power generated by a solar module is an electric current that flows in a constant direction. This type of power is generally not readily useable for standard electric demands, and must be translated into ‘alternating current’ (AC) power before it can be used for standard electric devices inside a home or building.
Converters DC power generated by a solar panel and process that energy by converting it into AC power, the resulting power can then be sent to a breaker or balance of system component and is available for standard use. Inverters may be located after a charge controller and battery bank in certain off-grid energy systems.
Inverters come in different types of sizes and use various technologies to enable efficiency in the function to produce AC power. The most common inverters are; String Inverters, Central Inverters, Microinverters, and Battery-based Inverters. Each will carry different mechanical and technical characteristics.
components are usually connected to a concurrent Inverter manufacturer, and they view and relay system energy information analytics to a in product console or web connected device through their proprietary software. Monitoring Equipment components may be integrated into an Inverter, or in some instances – be connected to another component of a photovoltaic array.
Monitoring technology is able to display information ranging from energy generated by the solar panels, to real-time data, to immediate fault detection and troubleshooting, to energy yield data over a set amount of time. A comprehensive Monitoring system can benefit the system operator to better understand the way the solar energy system is operating, (and measures that can be taken to better increase yields, productivity, maintenance and other variables) in real time or over the course of the systems lifespan.
Racking and mounting
Racking and Mounting components work to ensure a PV array is connected to either the ground or a roof and is made up of multiple key products that encompass an entire racking system.
Most racking systems will use a combination of: Rails, Flashings, Lugs, Mounting Brackets, Wire Clips, Splice Kits, Braces, End Caps, Attachments, Tilt Legs – and other components to complete a full racking and mounting system. Ground mount systems will require concrete and steel piping in addition to a complete racking kit to be placed onto land.
Racking and Mounting is an essential part of any solar energy system. Both roof-top and ground mount arrays need to be set atop a sound and reliable structure to ensure the system can maintain integrity and operate for an extended period of time.
Wiring acts to ensure other solar energy components are interconnected, and can pass energy from one device onto another. PV Wire is commonly used to move energy from the Solar Modules to the Inverter(s), and then be transformed to be sent for another product within the photovoltaic array supply chain
Wires will generally be made of aluminum or copper, be solid or standard, are insulated, and meant to either pass through DC current or AC current depending on where they are positioned and connected. Wires will also be color coded for safety and identification purposes by a system operator or inspector who needs to understand which wire controls a certain current, (Positive, Negative, Grounded, etc.)
Standard systems will utilize wires which can hold and pass through certain voltages and wire gauges depending on the PV array setup. These values are commonly dependent upon the voltage of the system and its concurring components used within the interconnected stream of items.
Charge Controllers work to regulate electrical charge and they limit the rate at which electric current is added to or withdrawn from the Batteries. They work to control voltage and watts from Solar Panels; thus, passing through more stable energy, preventing overcharging and protecting against overvoltage – which can hinder and reduce Battery performance or lifespan.
Charge Controllers come with various types of sizes and technologies that enable generally an off-grid (Battery Bank) system to function properly. These two types of technologies are MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracking) and PWM (Pulse Width Modulation). Charge Controllers are often used within an off-grid or hybrid with battery back-up solar energy system.
A series of Charge Controllers are important for maintaining battery integrity with a system that utilizes them. Due to the sensitive nature of power storage components, it is vital to regulate their ongoing activity to derive the maximum lifespan possible, and helping to reduce future maintenance costs and upkeep.