There are many ways that we can be reducing our carbon footprint and moving towards a more green future. Our energy consumption takes a significant toll on our environment, with the majority of us still relying on traditional energy sources. One way that you can help the planet and your wallet is by going green with solar panels. In this beginner’s guide to a solar set up, we aim to demonstrate just how simple the process can be, and how you could be ready to make the most of your new solar panels in no time!
How does solar work?
Solar power works by harnessing the energy of the sun and converting it into electricity. The basic set up consists of three major components. The first of this is the solar panels, which are installed on an area of your roof that receives plenty of sunshine. It’s always important to remember that you should buy a quality brand that will ensure you receive a long life time with these solar panels on your roof.
These solar panels then feed the sun’s energy into what is known as an inverter. There are three different types of inverters, which differ in size. A string inverter is a larger unit which encompasses the whole system, whereas micro-inverters are smaller units designed for each individual solar panel. The third type of inverter is the power optimizer, which like micro-inverters are installed on each panel, normally being a little less expensive than them though. If you are on more of a tight budget, the string inverters are generally more affordable, though if you have the money it’s always advisable to choose micro-inverters.
The inverter converts the DC electricity generated by the solar panels into AC electricity for your home. Inverters have the tendency to be the component that needs the most maintenance throughout the years as they are constantly being used every day. It’s for this reason that it’s important to invest in a high quality inverter in your new solar power system set up.
The last major component of your solar set up is the actual mounting that your solar panels are attached to. Given that they are placed on top of your roof and exposed to the elements, these need to be durable and secure rack mounts that will properly fit your panels. It’s recommended to consult a solar specialist when looking at what mounting will be most suitable for your roof, as you don’t want your expensive solar panels sliding off your roof!
What do I need to run a solar power system at home?
So now that we understand the different components of solar and how the electricity is transformed from DC to AC in your home, you also now have a better understanding of what you need to get your system set up. Here is a quick checklist of things you need to buy to get your new source of energy up and running.
- The solar panels are obviously a key component of your system. However, the next questions you need to ask yourself is how many do I need for my home, and where is the best place to install them? These questions can be answered by analysing the current power usage of your home, the suitable roof area that your panels can be installed on, the efficiency rating of the specific panels, the climate that you live in, and the amount of sunlight you receive in your location.
- Next you’ll need your inverter, which as explained previously can be in the form of a string inverter, micro-inverters, or power optimisers. Micro-inverters are ideal for a smooth operation of your system, particularly when some panels may be covered in shade.
- You’ll also need to purchase the mounting for your panels, which directly correlates with the amount of solar panels that you have purchased. It is important that your panels are angled correctly when attached to these mounting racks, as you need to ensure they are receiving the optimal amount of sun.
- The next thing you need is a solar power performance monitoring system. This will allow you to see how efficient your panels are in generating electricity each day, helping you to discover any further room for improvement. For example, you may notice that the placing of the panels was not done quite right the first time, and you may need to adjust this in order to receive a higher amount of sun.
- Lastly, you can also consider purchasing solar storage units. These act as batteries whereby you can store energy for a later date, allowing you to tap into this supply when the traditional electricity grid is down.
Is installing a solar set up hard?
Now that you have all the necessary components, you might think you can go and install the system yourself. However, installing a solar set up in your home can be quite tricky if you don’t possess the right tools or qualifications for the job. The proper installation of your new solar power system will be a major factor in its future performance, with a thorough understanding of the different components being absolutely essential for a quality job.
When it comes to doing any electric work on your home, it is always best to hire a qualified residential electrician Perth. Not only will this enable you to get the job done in a safe and controlled manner, you’ll also be saving yourself a huge amount of time. This is particularly relevant for solar panels, as these require the necessary skills, equipment and experience to install correctly and safely.