How Does Residential Solar Power Work

How Does Residential Solar Power Work
by Carl Johnson

With energy prices flying through the roof, how does solar power work is a question popping up around many dinner tables these days. Even though it sounds like a winning proposition, the cost of equipment and installation is a major concern when considering going solar. However more grants are becoming available all the time on both the state and federal level to help offset these costs. So rather than focusing on the just costs, it may be a good idea to look at the benefits of solar power for your home.

The concept of solar power is the exact same in both residential and commercial uses with the scale of the application being the only difference. It is obvious that a factory or warehouse will require substantially a larger amount of electricity and therefore a more complicated and costly application.

Solar panels are lines with a semiconductor than generates electricity when the suns rays come in contact with it. Solar panels can also be constructed to heat both your water and air coming into the structure through your ventilation system. The electricity generated by the solar panels is then routed to your controller/regulator where the voltage/amperage is adjusted to your system’s needs then routed to your electrical system or storage system.

Do It Yourself Project

There are three major components to a solar power system. The first is the photovoltaic panels, also known as solar panels or PV panels. The second is the current regulator or controller, which controls the voltage/amperage of the electricity that the solar panels generate. The third component is the storage system. This is typically an array of batteries used to store any energy that is created by the system and not need during the day.

Solar panels can vary greatly in cost depending on the type of installation you are aiming for. If your building is in a more remote area and is industrial you can use the typical boxy style roof mounted panels. In a business or industrial application solar panels can be installed not only on the much larger roof space offered by an industrial structure but additional panel arrays can also be installed on the ground offering additional power generation.

Solar panels are commonly mounted on rooftops with ground or pole mounts. The mounts provide added flexibility if your structure is accustomed to shade. To maximize the power generated, mechanisms can be attached to panels. This allows maximum sun exposure. One of the biggest downsides to solar installation is sunset. This is easily fixed by installing a battery array, a storage system, or simply using supplemental power from the utility power grid.

If you want a more discrete, dual purpose installation you can even have your structure constructed with solar cells built right into the roofing, awning and window materials. In a residential application using roofing materials with the solar cells built in will give you the same level of protection as an asphalt shingle while functioning as a solar panel, giving you more flexibility in design and reducing the chances your home will look like a space station.

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