Solar panels are slowly becoming the solution to the ever-changing power industry. It seems like every quarter the prices are moving up and down, never yielding a recurring number that we can count on for budgeting. With the growing efficiency of solar systems, there’s a big possibility that solar energy will take over the power industry in the next decades.
At United Solar Electric, we want to be able to provide the right solar systems for your home, business, or project, and to do that, we are also excited to share more about how the systems work and show you some interesting information about solar energy to help you make a more educated decision about getting solar!
How Does Solar Energy Work?
Before we dig deeper into how to design solar systems, we wanted to give you a quick overview of how solar panels and energy systems work. The processes are simple and it’s also a fascinating technology.
The solar panels receive the photons from the sun. The photons are used to separate electrons from atoms which generate energy. This is the same energy that flows through the system and ultimately turns into electricity that you use later in your everyday appliance.
A charge controller is basically a regulator of energy so you don’t saturate your array with energy that you are not currently using. This is the perfect ally for a set of batteries that you can use to store energy.
Depending on where you live or where you are planning on installing the solar panels, whether it be in a secluded area up the mountains or in a field far away from civilization, you might want to consider the use of batteries. These allow you to store the excess energy that’s not being used at the moment. That way, when the sun’s gone, you still have energy that you can use and do not have to tap into the energy from a provider.
The inverter works to transform the energy that’s coming from the batteries or solar panels — DC or direct current — to AC or alternating current which is the current used in the U.S. and the one that all your appliances and devices are regulated to work with.
Once the energy is converted into something that our appliances can use, the current goes through the power panel or meter. This is the main distributor of electricity to your home or business and is the one that measures how much energy you consume every time there’s something running on the power grid. If you have a bigger solar array than you need there are multiple things that you can do with the extra power.
Store It — You can store the power in batteries to help you power whatever you need when night falls.
Sell It — If you generate more energy than you use at any given point, you can sell this energy back to your energy provider and actually start making your solar energy system pay for itself.
The work that solar panels and solar systems do is simple to understand, however, it requires an expert hand to be able to create an array that works for the situation that it’s meant to be used for — build a solar system that’s too small and you might not be able to enjoy the benefits of solar energy. On the other hand, if you build a solar system that’s too big, the initial cost of the project might be too expensive and you won’t feel like the system was a good investment, to begin with.
That’s why United Solar Electric is here to provide you with years of experience in the solar energy industry to build you the perfect solar system for your home or business. We will create the right solution for you that way you can enjoy all the benefits and advantages of solar energy.
Designing Solar Power Systems!
This is the exciting part that our experts at United Solar Electric love. The most gratifying part about our solar system solutions is that we work with your specific needs to make your solar panels be as efficient as you expect.
For solar systems, one size fits all is not a common phrase, at least not for us! Every household or business works differently and operates its appliances and machinery differently. We take our time to design and provide you with the right solar panels and system to assure that you will be getting the best results out of your system.
Next, we will be listing some of the routes we take and things we consider to create your solar system efficiently and within your budget.
Let’s start with the main concept. The PV system is the solar photovoltaic system which is the one that works with the sun to turn that into usable energy. This system has many components that will be defined by factors and these factors need to be calculated to come up with the perfect system. Here are the main components:
PV Modules or Solar Panels
Solar Charger Controller
Auxiliary Energy Sources
Every one of these items has to be taken into account to come up with the number of panels that you would be using, the size of the battery storage that your solar panels need, and more!
Whether you are looking to power a room in your home or the entirety of your business, we would need to calculate what’s the average amount of power you consume every day to know what the system would be expecting the time it starts running.
For this, we calculate each Watt-hour per day of each appliance and every machinery and equipment that you or business uses to make sure that those would be covered by the power coming in from the solar system.
After we have the information we need about your consumption you are looking to cover with the solar system, we look for the right amount of solar panels that you would be needing to make sure that no matter what happens, your system will be reliable enough to run what you need without hiccups. We take into consideration the possible loss of power that the systems go through in the process of turning the current into something you can use.
After gauging the consumption, we need to pair that with the right amount of panels to make your system as efficient as we can make it. We have to consider peaks in the system and make sure that no matter what the situation is, that we will assure you that your solar energy system is going to have your back.
Knowing what’s required to cover all your needs is the first step to know how much more it is needed in the solar system to compensate for the days that are cloudy and your system is not as efficient. If the system is too exact, it can give out on cloudy days, it might not be able to satisfy your needs, and, if you have a battery system, it can shorten the lifespan of your batteries.
Solar Charge Controller
As we mentioned earlier, the controller is the regulator of the system and it has to be able to handle the current of your system. We make sure that the controller matches the voltage of the solar array and the batteries, that way you get a congruent system that works without a problem.
The inverter is one of the most important pieces of the solar system. This part is the one that will ultimately feed your home or business with the required kW/hour that everything needs at a given time. Depending on the appliances that are going to be using the power of the solar system, the inverter has to be over-calculated to make sure that it can handle the peaks of the systems. In the case of having appliances with motors and heavy machinery that requires a larger electricity pull to start or to resume its work, then the inverter is required to be much larger in capacity to be able to withstand the pull.
If you are planning to use solar energy at any time of day, you are going to need a reliable battery system that can hold enough power to go through nights and cloudy days when your system might need a hand to keep everything running.
The calculations require a lot of input but they are helpful when it comes to figuring out what would be the best battery arrangement to have in the location that you need it.
Auxiliary Energy Source
The auxiliary energy sources are commonly used as small backup generators in case you are tied to the grid system and the power goes out. When you are grid-tied you still rely on the power supply that comes from your provider.
If you are planning to have a solar system outside of the grid, we will help you calculate all you need to give you the ultimate reliable system. At United Solar Electric, you will be working with industry professionals that have years of experience in providing solar power solutions. Our main interest is to make sure that your needs are being met and that your budget is being considered. Contact us today for a no-pressure consultation to help you define your solar needs!
Other Things to Consider Before Going Solar
There are many things to consider when you are thinking about acquiring a solar system for your home, business, or an off-grid location. The path can sometimes be tricky because of all the misinformation that we find out there every day and there are things that you should consider before making a decision.
Are you Off-Grid or Grid-Tied?
Sizing is Key
Solar is a Great Investment
Don’t Purchase Random Parts
Are you Off-Grid or Grid-Tied?
You can consider the two options depending on where you want to locate your solar system. If you are looking to supply a property far away from the main power grid, then you should consider an off-the-grid solar system.
The off-the-grid solar system will allow you to not worry about getting power outages. As long as the system that would be built for the property is well thought out and considers all the pertaining calculations related to battery storage and having the right amount of panels, then you should be fine — an auxiliary energy source is recommended for these systems in case anything out of the ordinary might happen.
When you are grid-tied, you can “store” the power that you generate in the power grid. The power company will also credit you for any extra power that you might generate and don’t consume every month.
Sizing is Key!
There is more than one problem that can occur when looking for the right sizing for your solar panel system. You need to consider the amount of power you will be using, as well as the capacity of the other pieces, such as the controller, inverter, and more.
You shouldn’t have to go in blind when designing a solar energy system. The team at United Solar Electric is here to help you make sure that the design of your PV system is adequate for what you are needing. Contact our team today to assist you with any questions you may have about our services and products!
Solar is a Great Investment
Some people are still against the idea of having solar panels because they say they are not an investment — this is where we have to disagree.
Installing solar panels is not cheap and it’s definitely a big investment that can sometimes run into five-figure sums. However, installing solar panels can have an immediate impact and benefit for you and your property — with some owners seeing property value go up by the thousands. This means that if you are selling your property, installing solar panels can make the deal a lot sweeter for potential buyers, and it can also get you good money in return.
Another positive aspect is that, even if you are leasing the system, you get a good percentage of your power bill reduced. If you decide to get a system that’s bigger than what you need, you could be selling your extra energy to the power company, which would credit the remaining kWh every billing cycle.
One of the things that people don’t consider most of the time is planning ahead. If you just bought your forever home or are starting a new business, you are not going to be consuming as much energy as you might be consuming in the future.
Take into consideration if you are planning to grow your business or your family in the future and solve for that. The excess that you’ll get at the moment can be turned into money that will help to pay for the investment faster. If you are in an off-the-grid system, not making your system work as hard can help your batteries have a longer life since you are not emptying them constantly only to recharge them the next day.
We can help you project your consumption and give you a good number that will still prove to be helpful in the future when your situation changes. At United Solar Electric, we strive to design the best solar systems that you can get for your needs and your budget. Get in contact with our team today and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have about our processes, installations, and more!
Don’t Purchase Random Parts
You might be tempted to buy solar panels and other systems online when you see a great discount or some offers that seem too good to be true — sadly, sometimes they are.
You can run into multiple problems if you do this. Here are some of the most common:
Compatibility — Not every part out there shares the same connectors or specs that would make them universally compatible with other pieces. You might be looking at a great offer for something that is not going to match many other systems.
Power Limits — If you buy for the price alone, you might buy something that will only work for very small systems. This is particularly true for inverters and controllers. If you buy any of these simply for the price, it can be a waste once you receive it if the Amps, voltage, or capacity of kWh are too low for or differs from the system that you are trying to build.
Don’t Be Fooled — Sometimes, too good to be true is just that. Certain pieces that you need to build a solar panel system are expensive due to the quality of materials that they require to be produced. Finding these parts with a high-percent discount online can tell you a lot about the quality of the product.
Let the experts at United Solar Electric help you design the best solar panel system to satisfy your needs while respecting your budget. There are many options available and so many factors to consider when creating a plan to get solar panels, and we want to be a part of your process so you can enjoy every benefit of your solar panels without any of the headaches. Our team will be more than happy to help you with anything you may need to convert into solar energy and help your wallet and the environment!