So you are interested in learning more about solar energy generation for your home, business, or organization?
To start with, the two major types of solar energy generation systems you may consider, are solar electric and solar thermal. Solar electric generation systems utilize photovoltaic (PV) panels, also called modules, to generate electricity directly. Usually the direct current (DC) that is produced by the PV modules is converted to alternating current (AC) by an inverter for consumption by appliances, lighting, motors, etc. Solar thermal (or solar hot water) systems utilize large collectors to heat a special fluid that is pumped in a closed circuit, and a heat exchanger to transfer the heat from the fluid to the building or household hot water supply, or sometimes to another loop that feeds a space heating system or some other process.
Solar PV systems fall into several different categories depending on the needs of the customer and the electrical loads supplied. The most common system for most customers in Ohio is the grid-interactive (or grid-tie) system, without battery backup. Solar PV systems generally consist of PV modules, typically arranged into rows and columns (called an array), mounting framework or structure (often called racking), one or more inverters, a roof flashing system to prevent leaks (for roof-mounted systems), DC and AC wiring, grounding and bonding for safety and code compliance, AC and DC disconnect switches with overcurrent protection, and an integrated monitoring system.
Each Solar PV
system must be designed carefully and precisely in order to operate
properly, safely, and with the highest efficiency. All components
must be selected and configured to operate together, and the
specifications of each configured component affect and are dependent on
the overall design. AviSun integrates only high-quality
components into our designs, for trouble-free operation, long-life, and
efficient electric generation.
A grid-tie PV
system is designed such that the DC power from the PV array feeds a
grid-interactive inverter, which then connects to the utility grid at
the service panel or the utility meter. This type of system
power that is usually used local to the building or site. If the system
generating more than can be used locally, the excess power generated
is sent to the grid, and the utility meter measures this reverse power
flow, resulting in a credit against the owner's electric bill.
Grid-tie systems can be designed using "string-inverters", or
In a string-inverter system, multiple modules are connected in series (a string of modules) and fed to a centralized string-inverter which then converts the total power from the string to AC. Multiple strings (or sub-arrays) can feed different inputs on the sting inverter, or multiple inverters.
In a micro-inverter system, one small inverter is mounted to the back of each PV module, converting the power from each module to AC independently of the others. Micro-inverter designs can perform better at a site that has some potential shading of portions of the array from nearby objects.
the inverter type chosen, basic Grid-tie PV systems generate AC
power only when the utility grid is connected and operating. If there
is a utility power outage, the inverters shut down.
When AC power
is needed even if the utility grid is not working, then a battery
back-up grid-interactive system is required. This type of system
has a special type of inverter that generates AC power from a bank of
batteries in the event of a power outage. The battery bank is
charged if necessary, and once charged, the system generates AC power
for local use similar to the grid-tie system. There are typically two
AC outputs from this type of inverter. One output connects to the grid
through the main service panel. The other output feeds a smaller
sub-panel of AC circuits with the essential appliances and electrical
devices connected that need to be powered during an outage.
Battery back-up systems can be more expensive than grid-tie systems due
to the special components and batteries involved.
Do you need more information on the different types of systems and how they work?
The following information should help answer at least some of your questions surrounding:
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