Know about the components

We can either convert Sun light into electricity or use the heat of the sun for generating electricity. The former method technically known as Solar Photo voltaic system normally used for generating electricity on the roof top.

Photo Voltaic Solar system normally has the following components.

  • Panels: The PV panel is comparable to a leaf of a plant, which absorbs sunlight, converts carbon dioxide  into sugar and oxygen . The electrons in solar PV cells get charged with the Sunlight, produce DC power, which is converted into AC power for our normal usage. The cost of solar panels is a major part of the total cost of solar system. It amounts to 50 – 60 percent of the total cost.

    The life of solar panel is 25 years.

  • Mounting structures –  The Mounting structures are the frames in which the solar panels are  fixed on roof top or on the ground. The mounting structures are so designed that they facilitate maximum exposure of solar panel to the sunlight.

    The type of metal used in mounting structures is either aluminium or galvanized steal.The galvanised metal needs maintenance every ten years, whereas the life of aluminium structure depends on the strength the metal.

  • Tracking mounts: Tracking mounts mechanically move the PV panels over the course of a day so that they directly face the sun at all times. Dual axis trackers change both azimuth and elevation, while single axis trackers only match the azimuth. Tracking mounting structures are quite effective in capturing maximum sunlight, but will add to the total cost of the solar system.

  • Solar inverter: Solar inverter is some what different from normal DC-AC inverter as they have inbuilt devices with protects them from voltage fluctuations. The voltage and flow of solar power  is regulated through inverter making it compatible with normal electricity .

    The inverter needs maintenance every three years. The life of an inverter is normally 5years.

  • Switches: Disconnect switches are of critical importance. They need to be mounted within easy reach. It should be known to the users how to turn off the PV system for safety reasons.

  • Wiring and fuse box connections: Wiring, conduit, connections to household main fuse box are hardware expenses. The installation of these hard ware needs an expert hand.

  • Utility power meters: Conventional power meters are capable of spinning backward, but utility companies usually change to a special digital meter when you connect to the grid because most solar customers go to the TOU (time-of-use) rate structure, which requires more intelligent processing than a mechanical device is capable of.

  • Batteries – Batteries are required when solar power is to be stored and used after Sun shine time ( 0900-1500). The batteries require periodical maintenance.The life of battery is normally 3 years.
  • Earthing – Solar system is not complete without proper earthing . It is essential to have protection against lightening for solar systems installed on high rise buildings.

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