Solar Panels: A quick guide to its components and installation

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solar panel installation & components

Installation basics & functionality:

Solar/Photovoltaic (PV) panels consist of individual cells known as solar cells. Each solar cell produces a modest quantity of power. At the point when you interface numerous solar cells together that results in a considerable measure of power from the solar panel. PV systems changes in size, depending upon the application. It can shift from small, rooftop-mounted or building-integrated systems with limits of several kilowatts to enormous utility-based stations that produce many megawatts of electricity. There are PV systems that are connected with the power grid (grid-direct or grid-hybrid systems), and there are systems that permit a consumer to disengage from the network (off-grid (or independent) systems). 

The means of changing over light (photons) to electrons produces DC power in solar cells. The battery uses DC power for charging and run a wide range of electronics, however, to provide energy to a family or enterprise, DC often must be transformed into AC (alternating current) power. The electrical system sends control over significant distances utilizing AC power. In our family units, certain gadgets may run on AC power and others use DC power. The end consumer can transform AC power into DC power if required.

Most of the present PV systems are modular, which implies that they permit the consumer to add or eliminate power ability to the system whenever. These systems give consumers the adaptability to alter their capacity limit as the interest changes. In photovoltaic systems, there are numerous different components other than the photovoltaic cells. These components embrace the wiring, surge protectors, switches, mechanical mounting parts, inverters, batteries, and battery chargers. These components are what distributes and stores power securely and effectively and can record up to a large portion of the expense of the complete expense of a photovoltaic system.

Components that are available in a commonplace photovoltaic system are: 

1) Solar panel

2) Electrical connections between photovoltaic panel

3) Output electrical cables 

4) Power inverter (changes over DC power to AC power) 

5) Mechanical mounting tools 

6) Charge controller 

7) Wiring 

8) Batteries for energy storage 

9) Electrical meter (for grid connected systems) 

10) Overcurrent and surge safety units

11) Power processing tools 

12 ) Grounding tools 

Types of Solar Panels :

There are three kinds of solar panels that are generally accessible for use in photovoltaic systems, (1) monocrystalline, (2) polycrystalline, and (3) amorphous thin-film. Each kind of panel has its benefits and drawbacks. The essential contrasts between these panel types are their expense and effectiveness. 

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(1) Monocrystalline Solar Panels 

Monocrystalline panels have a uniform crystal construction throughout your entire panel. It consists of a wide range of supplies similar to amorphous silicon, gallium arsenide, germanium, cadmium telluride, copper indium gallium selenide, and natural polymers. The shape of the solar cell is octagonal inside this panel.

The monocrystalline solar panel has the most elevated effectiveness appraisals to date and performs better than different sorts of the panel in low-light conditions. The productivity additionally diminishes all the more gradually after some time. It is costly to make a monocrystalline solar panel from silicon ingots. These monocrystalline panels have the most elevated starting expense; nonetheless, the energy savings after some time may make it cost-benefit. 

(2) Polycrystalline Solar Panels 

Polycrystalline silicon solar panel has an interesting spotted blue shading that fluctuates in conceal with various territories of the panel. The silicon utilized in this panel isn’t homogenous; which implies that the gem structure can be distinctive in different territories of the panel. The shape of the solar cell is square inside this panel.

Accordingly, polycrystalline solar panels are less proficient than a monocrystalline solar panel. Polycrystalline solar panels are less productive at their working temperature because of their bigger temperature coefficient than monocrystalline solar panels. Due to the lowered energy conversion effectivity, it requires a greater number of panels to generate the required energy. 

Polycrystalline silicon solar panels are more affordable to buy than monocrystalline silicon solar panels due to the non-homogeneity of the cells. Numerous clients pick polycrystalline panels over monocrystalline panels because of the lowered value. 

(3) Amorphous Thin-Film Solar Panels 

Thin-film solar panels are less effective than monocrystalline or polycrystalline solar panels and have a shorter lifetime. In any case, their expenses are a lot of lower because of the straightforward assembling techniques in examination with translucent solar panels. Thin-film solar panels can likewise be made adaptable, though crystalline solar panels are substantially weaker and will break on the off chance that they are twisted. 

The residential photovoltaic system does not prefer it due to its low proficiency. A consumer would require more dainty film panels than glasslike solar panels (and thusly, more space) to produce a predefined measure of power. Thus, Utility companies make use of thin-film solar panels more frequently than residential prospects. 

In short, monocrystalline solar panels are better than polycrystalline solar panels by 2-2.5 % in terms of efficiency. They perform better in low light conditions and high temperature. They are also space-efficient for example on a  1000 sqft roof you can install 11.10kW solar system while on the same space you can install 9.75kW solar system. That means you can install 1.4kW more installed capacity in the same space. So, Monocrystalline solar panels are cost-effective and provide better savings in their lifetime of 25 years.

Charge Controllers 

Charge controller takes a portion of the power from the DC current created by a photovoltaic array and uses it to charge a battery or a bunch of batteries. The charge controller manages the voltage and current produced by a photovoltaic array so it can appropriately charge the battery or bank of batteries. The energy generated by photovoltaic panels shifts with light (photon) introduction. On the off chance that a charge controller was absent in the photovoltaic system, this would overcharge the batteries that lead to damage.

Image source – Google | Image by – zhcsolar

The nominal and maximum voltage and current specifications on the charge controller will decide the variety of charge controllers required to collect power from the photovoltaic array. If a photovoltaic array generates a most present of 16 A, however, a charge controller solely accepts a maximum current of 10 A, the photovoltaic array may be divided into two components. Each half of the array can generate a maximum 8 A of the current, and every half of the array may be connected to the 10 A charge controller.

The different choice can be to make use of a charge controller with larger current ratings. Most charge controllers have very high current ratings (not less than 40 amps), and the necessity for multiple charge controller solely turns into a problem with very giant photovoltaic arrays. 

Batteries 

The photovoltaic array stores the energy in the batteries. Locally situated photovoltaic array produce their biggest energy output in the day when most individuals are away from their homes. In the event that the energy isn’t utilized quickly, it very well may be stored in a battery array. In a grid hybrid system, any additional power created after the batteries are charged can be sent back to the power grid. 

Batteries provide DC power for a sure period of time. The lifetime of a battery will rely upon the current that the battery supplies and the utmost cost the battery can maintain. The unit of maximum charge of a battery in milliamp-hours (mAh). This unit communicates the current the battery can supply and the period of time it will possibly supply the current. 

Power inverter 

All photovoltaic system uses two sorts of power inverters. Grid-direct systems use a grid-tied inverter that may work together with the utility grid. So, this kind of inverter is unique in relation to the inverters in off-grid or grid hybrid system since it doesn’t run off of batteries. The off-grid and grid hybrid systems use battery-fueled inverters. Both sorts of inverters play out a similar basic operation in these systems: they convert DC power to AC power. 

In the grid hybrid and off-grid systems, solar energy that isn’t utilized quickly is saved in a battery system. The DC power that is saved in a battery can be changed over to AC power utilizing a power inverter. A power inverter is an equipment that changes over DC power into AC power. The battery array in a photovoltaic system can be utilized to run a power inverter, energy electronics or different BOS parts. The parts may be immediately powered utilizing DC power or not directly utilizing AC power. The DC-to-AC converter is required in light of the fact that practically all house electronics require 110 VAC power. 

Safety and Grounding Equipment 

There is a necessity of safety and grounding equipment is for safety and fire prevention functions. Automatic and guide security disconnects shield the wiring and parts of a photovoltaic system from energy surges and different tools malfunctions. They make it sure to shut down the system for maintenance and repair. In the case of grid-connected systems, safety disconnects additionally enable a photovoltaic system to disconnect from the grid; that is essential for the protection of individuals working on the grid transmission and distribution systems.

Grounding equipment provides a low-resistance path from your system to the ground to protect a photovoltaic system against current surges from lightning strikes or other equipment malfunctions. Users would need to establish a grounded link that is universal to all system balance devices. This covers some uncovered metal (such as the equipment boxes chassis) that may possibly be touched by the customer or a technician.

Solar Panel Installation Guide – Step by Step Process 

Solar panels become the greatest source to create power for both business and home use. It is better to introduce a solar panel on the rooftop to get the most extreme conceivable daylight and produce the greatest power from the system. 

Following are the steps concerned within the set up course of:

Step-1: Mount Installation 

The initial step is to fix the mounts that will uphold the Solar Panels. It very well may be Roof-ground mounts or flush mounts depending upon the necessity. This base structure provides support and toughness. Care is taken on a course wherein the PV panels (monocrystalline or polycrystalline) will likely be put in. For international locations within the Northern Hemisphere, one of the best course to face photovoltaic panels is south as a result of it will get most daylight. East and West instructions can even do. For international locations within the Southern Hemisphere, one of the best course is North.

Again, the mounting structure must be somewhat inclined. The angle of the lean might be between 18 to 36 Degree. Many firms use a photovoltaic tracker to extend the conversion effectivity.

Step-2: Install the Solar Panels 

Following stage is to fix the solar panels with the mounting structure. This is finished by tightening nuts and bolts. Care is taken to make sure about the entire structure appropriately with the goal that it is solid and keeps going long. 

Step-3: Do Electrical Wiring 

Next step is to do the electrical wiring. Universal Connectors like MC4 are used throughout wiring which is why these connectors may be connected with all kind of photovoltaic panels. So, these panels may be electrically connected to one another in the following sequence:

  1. Series Connection: In this case, the Positive (+) Wire is of 1 PV module is connected to the Negative (–) Wire of one other module. This kind of wiring will increase the voltage match with the battery bank.
  2. Parallel Connection: In this case, Positive (+) to Positive (+) and Negative (–) to Negative (–) connection is finished. This kind of wiring voltage of every panel stays similar.

Step-4: Connect the System to Solar Inverter 

Next step is to attach the system to a photovoltaic inverter. The Positive wire from the photovoltaic panel is related to the Positive terminal of the inverter and the Negative wire is related to the Negative terminal of the inverter. The photovoltaic inverter is then related to the Solar Battery and Grid enter to provide electrical energy.

Step-5: Connect Solar Inverter and Solar Battery 

Next step is to attach the photovoltaic inverter and the solar battery. The optimistic terminal of the battery is related to the optimistic terminal of the inverter and unfavourable to unfavourable. The off-grid photovoltaic system requires batteries to store electrical energy backup.

Step-6: Connect Solar Inverter to the Grid 

Next step is to attach the inverter to the grid. You can use a standard plug to connect with the main power switchboard. An output wire is related to the electrical board that provides electrical energy to the house.

Step: 7: Start Solar Inverter 

After completing the electrical wiring and connections, it’s time to begin the inverter switch ON the main switch of the home. Most photovoltaic inverters may have a digital show to indicate you stats concerning generation and utilization of photovoltaic unit.

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