Before investing in a solar panel system, and start looking for a solar company to work with, it is essential to learn how a solar PV system works. Not only that, but when going solar there is a lot of options and brands to choose from; thus, here at Palmetto Energy Solutions we fully educate our clients regarding the system and its parts, as a way to ease the process of transitioning to solar, and help you make wiser choices.
Solar panels work by absorbing sunlight with photovoltaic cells, generating direct current (DC energy) and then converting it to usable alternating current (AC energy) with the help of inverter technology. AC energy (the usable form of electricity) then flows through the home’s electrical panel and is distributed accordingly.
Here are the main steps for how solar panels work for your home:
Knowledge is power, so before you start your solar journey lets us unveil the different parts of a solar system.
1. SOLAR PANELS
From the name “Solar Panel System”, we reveal the most known part within the system, which are the PV panels. A solar panel is the essence and face of solar and is designed to produce electricity or heat by absorbing the sun’s rays as a source of energy.
There are a wide variety of solar panels on the market – so knowing where to start can be tricky. We are here to help you understand the options available to you. Before going into solar, you should know there are three different types of solar panels, each with specific qualifications and benefits.
Let us get to know them together:
Monocrystalline is the most widely used type of panel for residential use.
Polycrystalline panels are typically less efficient than monocrystalline and are often used for commercial buildings.
Thin film is more flexible, has a shorter life span and is typically used in small solar installations.
Inverters are a crucial part of any solar energy system. Their purpose is to convert the DC electricity the panels absorb from the sun into a usable form of electricity known as AC electricity, which is what powers everything in your home.
Choosing the right inverter technology for your Solar PV System is one of the most important decisions to make when going Solar. Therefore, we are here to educate you on your options available in the market!
There are two main types of inverters:
In a string inverter each 6 to 12 panels are attached to an inverter; however, the drawback of investing in such an inverter is the fact that the system would only produce as much electricity as its least productive panel, which overall makes your system less efficient.
However, with a micro inverter you can eliminate such an issue and maintain high efficiency, as in a micro inverter an inverter will be installed to the back of every single solar panel, maximizing production and ensuring the highest level of efficiency.
Check out this video to learn more about the difference between a String Inverter and a Micro-Inverter.
Here at Palmetto Energy Solutions, we make sure that we customize your solar systems to fit your home needs, this is why we offer a string inverter and a micro-inverter. Some homes require a micro-inverter others might work just as effecient with a string inverter, hence without the additional cost of a micro-inverter. However, we do recommend micro-inverters in order for you to get the highest return on investment and reduce your electric bill by more than 40%. However, despite Micro-Inverters being the more efficient and innovative, they might not be the right choice for your rooftop and home needs. Let our solar experts be the judge of that by booking a free solar consultation with our team. BOOK NOW
The third main component of a solar energy system is the racking/mounting. The racking component is what the solar panels are installed on; thus, what holds your solar PV system in place on your roof and maintain their stability over the years and regardless of the seasons. Hiring a local solar installer who understands your needs and the weather conditions within your area is key to making sure you get the right product for your home.
To maintain high efficiency and make going solar worth it, you need to understand that there are several factors than can affect the extent to which your solar panels are productive and efficient, beyond the brands and types chosen for the solar parts.
Some factors should be taken into consideration to guarantee the optimal efficiency of the solar panel system including the following:
Think about the perfect day for solar panels. Of course, the sun is shining in the clear, blue sky. But what’s the temperature like? Believe it or not, it’s cold, not warm.
The temperature influences the efficiency of the photovoltaic cell due to the intrinsic characteristic of the semiconductor material. The efficiency of the solar panels increases when the temperature drops and decreases in high temperatures, as the voltage between the cells drops.
That is why, we believe in hiring local solar installers, as they will have all the knowledge you are looking for and will be able to customize a solar plan specifically for your home taking into consideration all the factors.
GO SOLAR, GO LOCAL
The effects of solar shading on a panel's ability to produce electricity and stay highly efficient is significant. Total or partial shading conditions have a substantial impact rate on the capability of delivering energy and may result in lower output and power losses.
This is why we encourage our clients to invest in micro inverters in order to eliminate and reduce the effects of solar shading; hence, maintain high production levels regardless if one of the panels is shaded and the rest are exposed to great sunlight.
Solar panels are very durable and do not require constant maintenance; however, cleaning your solar panels every once in a while is highly important to maximize the amount of light available to be absorbed and then converted into usable electrical power. Therefore, always remember if your panels are covered in dust or dirt, all you have to do is give then a quick rinse with water and let them dry in the sun, this way you will maintain the high level of energy production promised by your solar install.
As homeowners read more about solar on the internet, they may become hesitant to make the switch to solar due to certain misconceptions. One of the myths that many believe regarding solar is that solar panels do not work on cloudy days, but let us debunk them together.
Let’s blow up your mind and let you in on a little secret, did you know that solar panels work on cloudy and winter days? We cannot deny the fact that the efficiency and performance of the solar panels do decrease during cloudy and cold days; however, customers feedback has shown that you might not even notice a reduction in the efficiency as the panels will still be able to convert sunlight into electricity and live up to your home needs during that time. As long as the solar panels can capture some of that sunlight, despite the clouds, you are good to go with nothing to worry about!
To be completely transparent with you, solar panels do not work at night, as there is no sunlight to capture and convert to a useable form of electricity; however, solar batteries do work at night! The solar PV system's excess energy generated during the day on your rooftop will be stored in the solar battery installed. Then at night, when the sun is down, and the panels are not generating electricity, you will be able to use the stored energy you harvested earlier.
Isn’t it mind-blowing the number of benefits solar energy can offer?
We hope that this chapter was informative!
Do not hesitate to reach out to our team of solar experts to learn more about solar energy and the ins and outs of a solar panel system. Switching to solar energy can be complicated at first and tricky, so it is best to go with a local installer that would know exactly how to satisfy your needs.
Palmetto Energy Solutions is a local family-owned business based in Columbia, South Carolina.
Contact our team through booking a free virtual solar consultation, or by directly calling us on (803) 485-1149 .