The inverter is perhaps the most important part of any solar system connected to the grid; it can be considered the brain of the system. The inverter determines the voltage at which the system switches on and off. It determines when the solar panels receive enough light in the morning to start sending energy to the grid and it also determines when it is dark and turns off the system until the next day.

The inverter contains all the safety algorithms, the most common is to maintain the system shut-off for at least 5 minutes after a loss of voltage in the grid. This protects workers making repairs in the utility network. Grid-tie inverters must include a Ground Fault Detection and Interruption (GFDI) device which detects any electric current in the ground circuit. The most recent inverters include an Arc Fault Detection and Interruption (AFDI) device which detects any arc in the circuit. Most grid-tie inverters will include a main interrupter that will completely disconnect the system. In this section we have three types of grid-tie inverters.

Each time you charge deep cycle batteries with solar panels, it’s necessary to use a charge controller in the circuit in order to protect the battery from overcharging or from over discharging. The exception to this rule is when using solar panels smaller than 5 Watts.

Choosing the most suitable charge controller is simple and only requires two steps:

Step 1 – Voltage selection

Select a charge controller that is compatible with the system voltage. The standard configurations are 12, 24, and 48 volts. If you are wiring your batteries for 24 volts you need a charge controller that is rated at 24 volts.

Some controllers are voltage specific, meaning that the voltage cannot be changed or substituted. Other more sophisticated controllers include a voltage auto-detect feature, which allows it to be used with different voltage settings.

Solar Energy In CaliforniaA complete home solar electric system requires components to produce electricity, convert power into alternating current that can be used by home appliances, store excess electricity and maintain safety.

Solar Panels

Solar panels are the most noticeable component of a residential solar electric system. The solar panels are installed outside the home, typically on the roof and convert sunlight into electricity.

The photovoltaic effect is the process of converting sunlight into electricity. This process gives solar panels their alternate name, PV panels.

Solar panels are given output ratings in watts. This rating is the maximum produced by the panel under ideal conditions. Output per panel is between 10 and 300 watts, with 100 watts be a common configuration.

Solar Array Mounting Racks

Solar panels are joined into arrays and commonly mounted in one of three ways: on roofs; on poles in free standing arrays; or directly on the ground.

A solar-powered pump is a pump running on electricity generated by photovoltaic panels or the radiated thermal energy available from collected sunlight as opposed to grid electricity or diesel run water pumps. The operation of solar powered pumps is more economical mainly due to the lower operation and maintenance costs and has less environmental impact than pumps powered by an internal combustion engine (ICE). Solar pumps are useful where grid electricity is unavailable and alternative sources (in particular wind) do not provide sufficient energy.

A photovoltaic solar powered pump system has three parts:

  • solar panels.
  • the controller
  • the pump

The solar panels make up most (up to 80%) of the systems cost. The size of the PV-system is directly dependent on the size of the pump, the amount of water that is required (m³/d) and the solar irradiance available.

LG panels go well with quality invertersA solar inverter is one of the most important elements of the solar electric power system. It converts the variable direct current (DC) output of a photovoltaic (PV) solar panel into alternating 240V current (AC). This AC electricity then can be fed into your home to operate your appliances.

The electricity that is not used in your home is then either fed into the grid (electrical power lines) or into home battery storage. New hybrid inverters include an integrated battery management system.

Long lasting solar power systems require a high quality inverter with a robust convection cooling system. Low quality inverters have unfortunately failed in the Australian climate.

With the growth of the renewable energy sector over the past years, solar panels have undergone many changes as well, ranging from the different materials of which they are composed of to the different sizes, shapes and power outputs.

Among the characteristics of flexible solar panels can be included their lightweight and versatile nature, which makes them very portable, beneficial for transporting wherever desired. More so, flexible panels are capable of being rolled and folded, something which conventional solar panels cannot accomplish because of their rigidity. Due to their flexibility, these panels are less fragile and lighter than framed solar panels, performing well in low light conditions as well.

When compared to rigid silicon-based solar panels, flexible solar panels have a lower efficiency, that can be overlooked considering their many advantages. Solar panels are manufactured using printing machines that use a roll-to-roll method, enabling the rapid mass production of the flexible panels. The printing machine can produce approximately 100 meters of layered film per minute.

Bit of a Background (You can skip to the Review Proper)

About a year ago I started my journey into energy independence and sustainability by dabbing into renewable energy. After months of planning my offgrid setup finally came on live.

I started with 2 240w solar panels, 1 24v Sukam Falcon Plus 1350w Pure Sine Wave Inverter and 2 220AH Tubular Battery (Flooaded Acid). With time, my offgrid setup grew from 2 panels to 3, then 4. Last month I decided to increase my energy generation capability by doubling my solar panel array from 4 to 8. This introduced a problem. With a 1350 Watt inverter and a 1840 watt solar panel I would be unable to take full advantage of the increased power production from the panels. Coupled with the fact that my system loads where increasing (with a new Freezer and increased run time for the fridge) I needed a new Inverter, a bigger Inverter, capable of handling all my electrical loads easily.

After a search of what was available in the market. I decided to settle for the Felicity Solar Inverter. It had the best price point and a good recommendation from a friend who has been using same inverter for quite a while now.

Solar power is the conversion of sunlight into electricity, either directly using photovoltaics (PV), or indirectly using concentrated solar power (CSP). CSP systems use lenses or mirrors and tracking systems to focus a large area of sunlight into a small beam. PV converts light into electric current using the photoelectric effect.

Solar power is anticipated to become the world's largest source of electricity by 2050, with solar photovoltaics and concentrated solar power contributing 16 and 11 percent to the global overall consumption, respectively. In 2016, after another year of rapid growth, solar generated 1.3% of global power.

An array of solar panels supplies energy for necessities at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, Calif. Solar energy does not produce air or water pollution or greenhouse gases. Solar energy can have a positive, indirect effect on the environment when using solar energy replaces or reduces the use of other energy sources that have larger effects on the environment.

However, some toxic materials and chemicals are used to make the photovoltaic (PV) cells that convert sunlight into electricity. Some solar thermal systems use potentially hazardous fluids to transfer heat. Leaks of these materials could be harmful to the environment. U.S. environmental laws regulate the use and disposal of these types of materials.

Future of Solar Power: Obstacles & ProblemsSolar power is one of the most promising renewable energy technologies, allowing the generation of electricity from free, inexhaustible sunlight. Many homeowners have already begun adopting solar electricity, and large-scale power generation facilities in the Southwest offer solar’s advantages to thousands of customers. But solar still faces a number of hurdles before it can truly replace fossil fuels for power generation for most Americans. 

Solar Intensity

One of the biggest hurdles to the widespread adoption of solar power is variances in solar intensity. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the sun provides almost twice as much energy to the Mojave Desert as it does to the Pacific Northwest. Because a panel’s output depends on the amount of solar energy it receives, this means solar is a much better power source in Southwest deserts than in other parts of the country. While a solar panel can provide at least some free electricity anywhere in the country, the investment will take much longer to pay for itself in regions without intense solar coverage.