A photovoltaic solar system (also known as a PV system and PV power system) is a series of devices designed to capture energy from the sun and convert it into power that you can use. It’s a clean, quiet, and extremely reliable way to power a home or business. In recent years, solar power has become very popular among green living enthusiasts, and experts say that solar is in the perfect position to completely take over the energy industry. In fact, global solar power usage grew by 5,300% from 2005 to 2014. Needless to say, it’s catching on like wildfire.
The sun produces enough energy in one day to power the entire world for one year. Where your home is concerned, a single square meter solar panel can gather enough power to keep a 100W lightbulb lit for the same amount of time. In order to understand how it works, let’s take a look at the larger components of a PV solar system.
- Solar Array – This is the term used to refer to the collection of solar cells and panels
- Mounting System – This is what holds your system in place. It may be classified as a ground mount, roof mount or pole mount.
- Cables – Just like any other power system, solar systems require cables to transmit electric current.
- Solar Tracker – This device causes solar panels to tilt toward the sun throughout the day.
- Inverter – Inverters convert the DC power that is collected and turns it into an alternating current that can be used to power your home.
- Rechargeable Battery – This component is used to store “leftover” power for use during times of little or no sunlight.
- Electricity Meter – The meter is what monitors for breakdowns and facilitates optimal performance of the PV solar system.
By looking at the purpose of each of the components, it’s easy to see how this system operates. The solar array, which is mounted on or near the structure to be powered, tilts to follow the sun and capture energy. The power is then inverted and either used immediately or stored as surplus.
Photovoltaic solar systems range from small, roof-top mounted systems that are primarily used in residential projects to large community-wide systems (such as the “Solar Settlement” housing community in Freiburg, Germany). They were once a niche application, but those days are long gone. Solar power is now a mature and reliable technology. It has earned its place among the top sustainable building techniques, and it is surely here to stay. Contact us if you’d like to learn more about making solar power part of your green home renovation.