Solar Panel Design
More and more people are now seeing the benefits of using solar power as an alternative source of energy. Scientists and engineers continue to find new ways to collect and harness the sun’s light to power things that we use on a daily basis. By incorporating solar energy into our daily lives, there is an assurance we can continue to acquire a sustainable resource without leaving a carbon footprint.
Only time will tell when our natural resources will finally be depleted. This is the reason why using solar energy is a better option. Not only is the sun’s energy free, but it’s also renewable, and it’s definitely eco-friendly. A solar panel is a device that can collect the sun’s light and convert it into electricity.
A solar cell, or photovoltaic cell, uses a monocrystalline or polycrystalline material that acts as a sponge and absorbs the sunlight. This energy is then transferred to batteries or semiconductors and turned into electric power. This process is absolutely effective, and it doesn’t harm the environment.
Steps of Proper Solar Panel Design
If you’re taking the initiative to start going green, then the first thing that you might think of is to getting a solar panel right away. While this is a great idea, there are other things that you must consider before sitting down at your PC and adding two or more solar panels to your online shopping cart. Let us help you make the right decision by providing you the information you need to map out a solar panel design that will provide the amount of electricity you require.
1. Check Your Electric Bill
This will give you a better picture of how much electricity you consume regularly. The electric bills that you receive show a graph of your electric consumption each month. By looking at the graph, you should be able to figure out how much electric power you will require.
2. Calculate Your Watt-Hour Usage per Month or Year
This will serve as a determining factor for how many solar cells you will need to purchase and install. It pays to know your regular electricity usage because this will help you figure out exactly which type and number of panels that would best suit your needs.
3. Measure the Area Where the PV Cells Will Be Installed
While a ground-mounted panel is absolutely fine, there is a risk that it won’t get as much sunlight compared to a roof-mounted panel. This is why most solar panel specialists prefer to place them on top of the roof. So before purchasing any solar-powered cells, make sure to get the exact measurements of the area where they will be installed. This is imperative so that there won’t be any delay or issue with the installation if, for example, there are too few or too many panels.
4. Determine the Right Type of Batteries for the Solar Panel Design
The type and number of batteries you need will depend on the number or size of panels you have in place and the number of appliances or electronic devices that you plan to feed off the solar power. The batteries are essential because these are the parts of the solar-powered system which help power your appliances. If you need help in finding which batteries to get, you can look the information up using an off-grid calculator that can be found online.
5. Find a Compatible Solar Charge Controller and Inverter
A solar charge controller is a device that manages the amount of charge that gets in and out of the battery bank. Without a controller, there’s a chance that the batteries will either be overcharged or completely drained, causing permanent damage. As for the inverter, it’s the tool responsible for changing direct current (DC) electricity into alternating current (AC). Since most homes use AC, using an inverter is needed; otherwise, the power won’t be usable.
How Shading Affects the Solar Power System Design
Shading has a dramatic effect on the efficiency of a solar power system design in general. But what exactly do we refer to as shading? As we all know, sun-powered systems work best when they have direct exposure to the sun and the longer the better. More sun hours mean a more stable and reliable energy source.
But when there’s constant shading, like overcast cloud, towering trees, or buildings surrounding the solar panels, the less efficient the whole system will be since it’s not getting hit by direct sunlight. If the solar cells have less exposure to the sun, then there won’t be enough time for the system to absorb the sun’s energy.
Before asking solar system installers to start work on the project, it is best to make a strategic plan about where to best install the panels so that they get maximum sun hours. There is no point in placing photovoltaic panels when there’s too little sunshine. Having a carefully planned solar system design will help not only assure you of its effectiveness but will also give you your money’s worth.
But if for some reason, there is no other option but to install the panels where there’s a bit of shading, the solar system installers can place separate solar panel strings so that a total power loss can be prevented in case the shading completely blocks one or two panels from getting sunlight. Another option is to have the installers utilize micro-inverters or power optimizers that can continuously improve the solar system’s overall performance even when there’s shading.
Typical Mistakes When Making Solar Panel Design
If at this point you’re almost certain that you want to start creating your own energy source by choosing systematic solar panels designs, let us share a few things that you might want to avoid in the future. Not all systems are perfect, as there will always be room for improvement. But that doesn’t mean that major flaws cannot be prevented. Watch out for these usual mistakes solar power system owners make without meaning to.
- Inaccurate solar system sizing and planning
It is absolutely essential to consider the size of the area where the panels are to be placed. But the sizing does not only refer to the actual width or length of the panels. It also refers to the size of the panels according to the user’s electricity usage. Apart from the panel size, there are other considerations to keep in mind including climate or regular weather conditions within the area, shading from tall trees or neighboring buildings and skyscrapers, and the system’s efficiency drop.
- Not knowing the difference between being off-the-grid and grid-tied
Not everyone has easy access to electricity, especially in remote areas. In such cases, having an off-the-grid energy source is the only option. But being completely reliant on solar energy means spending a lot more since one will have to purchase everything needed for a solar power system. As for grid-tied systems, one can still generate electricity through solar energy but with the help of a utility grid to store the sun’s power without needing batteries. Utility grids will even pay you if you’re able to produce excess power through your solar panels.
- Not having a long-term plan
When it comes to investing in a solar power system, not thinking ahead is a bad idea. What if you suddenly wanted to make extensions to your house, add more appliances, or even opt to buy an electric vehicle? These things will consume more energy so when planning on a solar power system, it is best to think long and hard to make sure that the system you have now will keep your electricity running in the years to come.
- Going to the most well-known providers for system planning and installation
Having just one company do everything for you is awesome but expensive, so know that there’s always an option of getting things done for a fraction of the price. One example is by purchasing complete solar kits from a wholesale distributor and doing it yourself. The advantage of this is that you will learn a lot about how the system works, get the installation done at your own pace, but not spending thousands of bucks for the whole thing.
- Epic DIY fails
Doing things on your own is fun. What’s not fun is when you assemble your solar system and it doesn’t work because the parts you got don’t match or are incompatible. What a disaster! Completing the system part by part is okay, so long as you know for sure that a certain part will work with the rest.
Going green will give you amazing advocacy as it will be of great benefit to the future of the next generation. Another perk is being able to live a comfortable life without sacrificing the environment and also saving a decent amount of money. Having your own solar panel design system is both a great investment and a long-term commitment, so it’s going to require a lot of careful planning. One can surely expect excellent results from a well-thought-out solar power system design!