Explore the sections below to find out more about solar equipment!
Solar panels are actually more complex than meets the eye. Photovoltaic (PV) cells are the components that actually convert sunlight into electricity. These cells are arranged into PV modules, more commonly referred to as solar panels, which electrically connect all the cells to increase the total power output. Modules can be connected together to form a PV array.
Types of Solar PV Systems
PV-Direct Systems: These systems are the most simple because they neither include a battery nor are they connected to the utility grid. They can only produce electricity when solar energy is available.
Off-Grid Systems: These systems are not connected to the utility grid and generate all of the building’s electricity. Excess energy generated by these systems is stored in batteries and then subsequently used at night or in cloudy weather when solar energy is not available. Off-grid systems are largely used in areas without utility service. They require a battery bank, a charge controller, an inverter, and disconnects.
Grid-Tied Systems with Battery Backup: These systems function the same as an off-grid system except that they are connected to the grid. In the event that the system cannot provide enough energy through the PV system or the battery, the utility will supply power.
Batteryless Grid-Tied Systems (Grid-Direct, Grid-Interactive): Batteryless grid-tied systems are the most common PV application. These systems are connected to the utility power grid and use the utility grid as a backup source of power. If more energy is needed than is being generated by the solar PV system, the utility company supplies the difference. If more energy is being produced than needed, the excess flows backwards through the electrical meter to the utility company, where it is then used by others. These systems require inverters and required electrical safety gear.
Types of PV Panels
Single-crystal (monocrystalline) modules: These cells are the most efficient and most expensive PV cells because they tend to convert more sunlight energy to electricity than other types of PV cells. They are made of silicon and are cut from cylindrical ingots that resemble a large, round salami.
Multicrystalline (polycrystalline) modules: These cells are slightly less efficient that single-crystal cells. They are made of silicon cut from multiple crystals.
Thin-film modules: Thin-film PV modules have the lowest efficiency but are also lower in cost per watt of energy generated. They are manufactured using spray-on or print-on techniques, rather than forming cells from ingots or blocks of molten silicon. They are made from many types of metals including silicon, gallium, cadmium, tellurium, and copper.
For more information on solar equipment, visit the websites below!
American Solar Energy Society – Covers a variety of topics including how solar electric systems work, what PV cells are made of, and different versions of commercially available PV panels.
Solar Electricity Basics and Solar Electric System Types – Provides descriptions of different solar electric systems, including batteryless grid-tied systems, the most common type of residential system.
Small Solar Electric Systems – Provides an overview of the technical details of solar PV cells and modules, semiconductor materials, home solar system elements, and thin film solar cells.
National Center for Photovolatics at NREL – Explores cutting-edge PV research underway at the National Center for Photovoltaics at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory through an engaging video.
Solar Inverters: Essential to Any Solar Panel System
You need an inverter to use electricity from your solar panels. Here’s what you need to know when you’re shopping.
Andrew Blok has been an editor at CNET covering HVAC and home energy, with a FOCUS on solar, since October 2021. As an environmental journalist, he navigates the changing energy landscape to help people make Smart energy decisions. He’s a graduate of the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism at Michigan State and has written for several publications in the Great Lakes region, including Great Lakes Now and Environmental Health News, since 2019. You can find him in western Michigan watching birds.
Solar panels collect sunlight. But how does that sunlight turn into electricity?
This is where the essential part of a residential solar system comes into play: a solar inverter. A solar inverter takes the electricity your solar panels make and turns it into electricity the devices in your home can use.
Solar panels are an investment that returns long-term savings, enjoys a generous tax credit from the government and can provide you with reliable clean energy for years. And while solar adoption is on the rise, if you don’t know how a solar panel system works, you’re likely not alone.
Can solar panels save you money?
Interested in understanding the impact solar can have on your home? Enter some basic information below, and we’ll instantly provide a free estimate of your energy savings.
While the solar inverter market is dominated by just a couple of options, knowing how inverters work will help you make sure your system is optimized and fits your needs. Going into your inverter shopping experience armed with information will ensure you’re getting the best deal available.
Here’s what you need to know.
Can solar panels save you money?
Interested in understanding the impact solar can have on your home? Enter some basic information below, and we’ll instantly provide a free estimate of your energy savings.
What is a solar inverter and what do they do?
An inverter’s main function is changing the electricity from direct current to alternating current. Solar panels generate direct current electricity, which can’t be used by the grid. An inverter ensures the power you generate is compatible with the grid by switching it to alternating current.
Inverters today do a lot more, though. They’re the bit of equipment that monitors and reports power generation and usage. If a solar panel system offers monitoring online or through an app (it likely will), the inverters are collecting and sharing that information.
Advanced solar inverters can disconnect your home from the grid in case of a power outage. Solar arrays without storage and a capable inverter will shut down when the grid goes down, but with the right technology, you can keep the lights on.
Types of solar inverters
Inverters come in two types: string inverters and microinverters.
String inverters are the old guard of solar inverters. They do the direct to alternating current conversion for a group of solar panels (or a string, if you want to stick with the jargon) at one, centralized location. They’re the cheapest option and, since they’re usually installed somewhere easily accessible (like the side of your house), they’ll be easier to service if they need it.
The downside of string inverters is that they’re a bit of a blunter tool than their microinverter counterparts. Because they handle whole groups of panels at once, a dip in production in one panel brings down the performance of all the panels. If one of the panels in a string is shaded and produces less power, every panel in the string produces at that lower level. A roof that’s partially shaded throughout the day might be better suited to microinverters.
- Centralized location
- Cheaper option
- Easier to access for service
- Easier to install
Microinverters perform the same direct current to alternating current switch, but at each individual panel. With microinverters at each panel, the production of panels aren’t chained to each other. If one is shaded, another in full sun can keep producing at full-sun levels.
Microinverters are more expensive, but better fits for partially shaded or complex roofs where panels face different directions or are set at different angles.
Because microinverters are connected to each panel, servicing them requires a technician getting up on the roof. That means maintenance can be a bit more expensive, though maintenance for solar panel systems is usually fairly minimal. Microinverters typically come with stronger, 25-year warranties, than string inverters, which are typically about 12 years.
A solar panel system might also use a string inverter with power optimizers. Power optimizers don’t convert the electricity to alternating current. That still happens in one place at the string inverter. Instead, power optimizers make it possible for panels to produce independently of each other. If one is shaded, the others can carry on. or less, power optimizers and microinverters accomplish the same job in different ways.
How to choose a solar inverter
Once you know whether a string inverter or microinverters are most suitable for your house, you want to make sure you’re getting a good product. Within each category, there are a couple of useful points of comparison: warranty and efficiency.
While typical microinverter warranties are twice as long as the typical string inverter warranty, differences exist between products of the same group. A longer warranty might make one inverter a much better choice than another.
Efficiency is a measure of how much energy is lost (usually through heat) as the inverter does its job. Efficiency ratings should be readily available for any inverter on the market. Higher efficiency means less energy lost between the panels and your house.
The bottom line
Education is one good guard against falling prey to scammy solar companies. Like a lot of things in 2023, you might be limited by supply. Supply chain issues have come to the solar industry as well and your preferred equipment might not be available. To make sure you get the best overall deal, compare multiple quotes from different solar companies.
Before you shop, though, it’s a good idea to brush up on some of the basics: solar panel types, net metering and, maybe, home backup batteries.
Solar Training Systems Lab Equipment
Solar training equipment and photovoltaics (PV) technology for your classroom or training center. Here you can find solar energy lab equipment and didactic systems from different producers. Please note we have a different cateogry for solar thermal training systems.
Narrow down your search with filters on the left side. To compare products, click the orange button add to quotation list. From the quotation list you can request customized quotations straight from the manufacturers.
Modular trainer for the theoretical and practical study of the electrical installations with photovo
Modular trainer for the theoretical and practical study of the electric energy generation from photo
Learn more about Solar Training Systems
In this section we will cover various topics related to solar energy lab equipment and training systems. precisely we FOCUS on solar photovoltaics (pv) technology, we have a separate category for solar thermal training systems.
What is a Solar Training System?
A solar training system can be referred to as “instructional technology”, “lab equipment” or “didactic tools” which is specifically designed to teach learners about solar technology.
A solar training system normally includes hardware or equipment, sensors and software, and content and learning materials.
Solar training systems are normally used in vocational and technical education and training (TVET) at late secondary (high schools) or post-secondary levels, such as colleges, polytechnics and universities.
Why teach Solar Technology?
Many sources of our electricity generation around the world are based on non-renewable energy such as coal plants, oil, and gas production.
When these sources of energy are extracted and burnt to provide electricity, they lead to increased amounts of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere which in turn creates global warming.
Global warming is drastically affecting many ecological systems and biodiversity in a negative way, which in turn is also endangering the human population.
The benefit of Solar energy is that it is renewable, which means that it does not contribute to global warming when generating electricity.
Furthermore, Solar energy is cheap (provides savings vs other energy sources), has no moving parts (low maintenance), and it is clean of air pollution (no exhaust gas).
Best practice teaching Solar Technology
Its important to take a blended learning approach to teaching solar technology, where the students will learn both theory from content, and practical utility from hands-on / kinesthetic / applied learning experiences, such as working with a Solar Training System or Solar Lab Equipment.
There are various benefits to hands-on learning:
- Content Retainment is higher
- Increased student engagement
- Better critical thinking and reasoning skills
- Better preparedness for joining the workforce
- Improved safety knowledge
Components of Solar Training System
There are two different types of solar training systems, either they are designed to be used with real solar power, or with simulations of solar power (which is more common).
- When the system uses simulations of solar power that is in the form of a strong artificial light source, such as halogen lamps or halogen spotlights.
- Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels are collections of smaller cells which are mounted together in a framework for installation. Solar panels use sunlight (or in an indoors simulation – strong halogen lamps) to generate direct current electricity.
- Since solar power is intermittent, batteries are used for energy storage, most often lead acid batteries which require regular maintenance and are sensitive towards overcharging.
- A charge controller is a system which is protecting the batteries from overcharging by monitoring the battery charge level and if necessary, redirects the energy towards a load.
- An electric system can be run both on AC (alternating current) and DC (direct current). AC current is more efficient when transported long distance, while DC current is used in most electronic devices. A DC-AC inverter changes the DC generated by the solar PV system into AC.
How to buy a Solar Training System
Firstly, it is important to consider various aspects when acquiring instructional technology for your classroom, such as:
- Which jobs will we be training students for?
- Which tasks needs to be performed in such jobs?
- What do learners need to learn to perform such tasks?
- To which standard level should they learn?
- How do we translate these findings into curriculum and technology requirements?
There are various considerations when making such a baseline analysis, we have written up a full blog post on how to search and evaluate technical training equipment.
The easiest way to search and find information about technical training equipment is by using an aggregator, or a digital marketplace such as Edquip, which is really easy:
- Search for products or browse by categories
- Use the search filters to narrow down your search
- Read up on product information and product reviews
- Use the comparison functionality to compare different products to each other
- Request quotations anonymously directly from the producers of the equipment
- Register and fill in the details so that they can tailor the offer for your needs
- Edquip does not share your contact details until you have chosen the producer
We also have a one-minute YouTube video on How to use Edquip
Now get started and build out your own product comparison!
What Equipment Do You Need for a Solar Panel System?
When it comes to understanding the intricacies of a full-fledged solar power system, it’s essential to go through the finer details to recognize what it requires to function.
These details play a significant role in producing energy and maintaining a high standard throughout the year.
This guide will look at what a solar panel system is all about, how much it costs, and what type of equipment is required to run efficiently.
- 1 What is a Solar Power System?
- 2 What Are the Main Components of a Solar Power System?
- 2.1 Solar Panels
- 2.2 Solar Inverter
- 2.2.1 String Inverter
- 2.2.2 Microinverter
- 2.2.3 Power Optimizer
What is a Solar Power System?
Let’s begin by focusing on a solar power system’s core elements and what it is designed to do.
The purpose of a solar power system is to take photons from the sun (i.e. sunlight) and turn them into energy. This is done through an intricate process where solar panels are set up to absorb the energy and complete the conversion process.
Many property owners use these solar power systems as a way to move away from traditional electricity. Instead of getting electricity through regular means, the goal is to slowly convert over to relying on the solar power system at home.
This energy can then be used to power a wide array of appliances, including fridges, ovens, TVs, and anything connected to the power outlet at home.
What Are the Main Components of a Solar Power System?
These solar panels are a must when it comes to getting the rest of the solar power system to function effectively.
In general, there are two types of solar panels that are used by leading solar power system companies. These are known as monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels. The only difference between the two solar panels would have to do with pricing and efficiency. You are going to get more efficiency with the monocrystalline solar panels.
The way these solar panels are set up will vary depending on the layout of the property.
The reason metering tends to play a role has to do with getting credits for excess energy. This can be an excellent way to earn a little bit of money for producing clean energy. It is possible to go through all of these details with the help of a seasoned professional.
The next integral component of a solar power system would be the solar inverter. This is responsible for taking the photons from the solar panels and turning them into an alternating current that can be used at home.
There are three types of inverters.
The most common inverter would be the string inverter, which is noted for being cost-efficient. However, while being budget-friendly, this inverter also tends to be inefficient compared to the others, which leads to energy loss in terms of overall production rates.
The second type of inverter would be the microinverter. These are more costly and are installed with each solar panel, which makes the energy conversion process a lot easier even if shade becomes an issue at different times of the day.
The final type of inverter would be the power optimizer, and this is designed to integrate with each solar panel. The DC output from each PV module is then maximized before being pushed to the string inverter for conversion purposes.
When setting up solar panels, it is essential to have a solar rack set up as a mount. This is what the panels are going to sit on.
The racking systems are a critical part of the installation phase and help maximize how much sunlight hits the solar panels.
When the solar power system is ready to go, the goal is to maximize energy production while preserving what is being produced.
This ensures the system can manage excess energy when it is not being used.
How Much Will a Solar Power System Cost?
For the most part, the equipment isn’t going to be the most expensive part of the investment. Instead, it will have to do with the installation phase as you will want a professional that is the real deal and knows what they are doing every step of the way.
This will ensure the solar power system is maximized and works the way you want it to from a production perspective.
For the most part, your investment will be paid off by the time you hit the 6-7 year mark. Since the solar power system can last for more than two decades, you are going to end up saving quite a bit of money in terms of energy bills.
You can also apply for energy credits to save additional money. This includes sending excess energy to the local power grid as a way to earn even more in credits.
Who Should I Use to Install My Solar Power System For My Home?
This is the most crucial part of the process and has to be done the right way. If there are issues with the installation, you will end up losing production power, which will lead to a loss in your investment.
It is better to get professionals to work on your roof to ensure the solar panels are set up the right way. It is also wise to go with local installers as they will know the lay of the land better.
What is the Best Solar Power System For My Home?
Numerous solar power systems are being sold on the open market, and each one promises excellent results. It is going to come down to finding the right source and making sure they are well-reviewed.
With a proper solar power system, you are going to maximize how the photons are turned into usable energy for your home solar panels. It would be best if you took the time to go through relevant reviews and FOCUS on the market’s best option.
This is what you have to think about when finding the right solar power system for your home. The investment will be a game-changer and lead to serious savings over the long haul.