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DIY WELLSEE Home Solar Systems

shirleyli / 2014-09-20
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 How Solar Power Works ~ DIY Home Solar Systems

How Solar Power Works and What is a PV Power System?
PV stands for Photovoltaics ~ Photo means light and Voltaics relates to the production of electricity. The greater the intensity of light, the greater the amount of electricity generated.
How solar power works in your home system is by being connected to an existing electrical utility called ‘grid-tied’ systems. Grid-tied systems do not need to have batteries for storing energy. Instead, during periods of excess solar electricity generation, the electric meter turns backwards. When electrical demands are greater than electricity generated by the solar array, the power grid supplies this demand.
Connection On the Grid Or Grid-Tied: The PV power system is basically made up of solar panels and an inverter. Both components are critically important for the success of harvesting solar energy. This forms a strong contrast to the Solar Thermal System, DHW (domestic hot water), which looks similar but is used widely in homes to heat the water for dishwashers and showers. More about that later.
Solar panels are based upon numerous silicon PV cells joined together within a panel or modular. Joining several panels or modulars together creates a Solar Array.
How Solar Power Works is by the solar panels capturing the sunlight and storing that power into solar DC (direct current) power. The solar DC power is then converted through the Inverter into alternating current (AC) which is then used in the wall outlets of your home. Residential homes run on 120 amp AC systems
The electrical energy obtain from the AC power that is produced but not feed into the power distribution grid (utility company), is then used for the homeowner. For their contribution, they will be compensated in return. Not only will they profit from the clean energy from the sun at a reasonable price but the environment will also profit as well.
How Solar Power Works On the Grid vs. Off the Grid:
The above scenario is considered living On the Grid where solar panels provide the DC power linked to the inverter which is attached to the breaker panel on the home. The breaker box or panel bypasses the Utility companies main power feed (the Grid) to the home and then distributes the AC power to the rest of the homes electrical outlets. Any unused power produced gets redirected through the Kilowatt Per Hour Indicator back through the grid to the utility company where the homeowner is compensated for providing the utility company the power.
In essence, the power company basically becomes the “battery” for the homeowner. This scenario works great until there is a power outage, to where the homeowner is cut off from the utility company and the homeowner has not produced enough energy within it’s PV power system to “fuel” their homes during the utilities power outage. Therefore the homeowner will seek out the battery system mentioned below to go a step further by living Off the Grid or the combination of both called a hybrid system with a backup generator.
How Solar Power Works Off the Grid:
This is almost like the scenario outlined above. Essentially the solar panels collect the DC power but instead of redirecting the power produced back along the utility grid, the DC energy is stored within an array of batteries that the homeowner has provided.
Batteries can only store DC power so a Charge Controller is used to store the DC energy into a Battery Base unit (a collection of batteries). The inverter is still required but is placed further down the line of the power system to transform DC into AC power. (only used on a combo system) Remember AC power is only acceptable for home usage (A 120 amp system) unless special appliance are purchased to run off of the DC power alone.
These are the general basics. Really quite a simple process once you are educated and once you get the hang of it. However there is still more in depth training needed, which is provided in the next session.

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