When it comes to electric solar energy systems, one size doesn't fit all. There are a few different types of system designs, which we will discuss in this post. The type of system best for your home is dependent on different needs, conditions, and other factors.
Photovoltaic Direct Systems
Photovoltaic direct systems require the fewest components. They don't use batteries, and aren't hooked up to an outside electric power source. Because of this, a photovoltaic direct system only provides electricity when the sun is out. This type of system isn't really appropriate for powering your home, but may be useful if power is only needed for a few certain applications.
If you've been investigating solar energy, you've likely heard the phrase “off the grid.” An off-grid system operates independently, and doesn't use existing electrical utility power (the grid). This capability makes off-grid systems a suitable option for remote locations, but you can use them anywhere. They do use a battery to store the energy created for use later on. A number of other components are used to protect the battery, prevent overcharge, and more.
A grid-tied system without a battery backup is one of the most common solar energy systems. They convert solar energy for home use, and also sends the energy it produces to the utility grid to offset home energy use. Homes using this type of system may still use some electricity from utility companies, while producing its own solar energy for use. These systems require equipment like solar panels and inverters to make and use the electricity, as well as electrical safety components.
Without a battery, the system doesn't store the additional energy it converts. So, when you experience a utility power outage, your solar energy system won't provide relief. Some grid-tied systems do have a battery backup. They operate the same way as a grid-tied system, except they do store additional energy produced.
As we plan for your solar panel installation, we'll discuss which systems could be used. If you have any questions, we'll be happy to provide the information you need in order to evaluate your options. Contact Smith Sustainable Design today to begin planning for your electric solar energy system.