Solar Home Power Made Easy
Purchasing a solar home power system can be intimidating. Understandably so as solar energy systems are complex, the literature is full of jargon and the options seem limitless. Trying to sort through it all can quickly send a potential user running for the hills.
However, this complexity need not alarm you. The basics of solar home power can be easily explained to get you started on setting up solar energy for homes. In this day and age of uncertainty, dwindling fossil fuel supplies and increasing environmental concern, alternative energy is on the rise. Combine that with the rising availability, the tax incentives and solar power rebates, and it is no wonder that residential solar panel systems are growing in popularity. As home solar power systems cost falls lower and energy efficiency increases, the idea of solar energy for homes, in particular as a renewable energy source, has become more popular for homeowners.
What is Renewable Energy?
The concept of renewable energy is not a new one and is familiar to most people these days. The difference between alternative energy and renewable energy is subtle but important. Solar home power has the advantage of being both alternative and renewable, which makes it ideal for getting off the grid and reducing carbon footprint at the same time. Renewable energy is fairly self-explanatory and simply means as an energy source that is produced just as fast as it is consumed (or faster, in the case of solar energy). In the case of the sun, there is no way on earth we could consume all the energy that the sun produces, which makes it a reliable renewable resource and even that is an understatement. Solar energy is also alternative, which typically refers to anything that is not fossil fuels and usually translates to “environmentally friendly”, as solar power is completely emission free is definitely applicable.
Solar Home Power Systems
A solar home power system can appear complex. And indeed is complex in many ways. However, all that complexity can be broken down into relatively simple components to assist in the purchasing and selection process. The basic components present in all home solar power kit include:
- The PV Array: PV stands for photovoltaic, and really just means solar panels. This is what collects the sun rays and converts them into energy.
- An inverter: This takes the energy from the residential solar panels and converts it from DC power to AC power. AC power is what a household uses for appliances and such. This is one of the most important components.
- Batteries: These are essential to ensure that the hours of sunlight are not wasted. Without batteries, solar power that is generated and not used is fed directly into the grid. However, the drawback is that when it is too dark, solar home power users without a battery system would be forced to purchase energy back from the grid. With batteries stores a portion of what is generated during the day is saved for your use at night or on cloudy days.
There are of course many variations on these components, and the order, style and additional accessories for any particular system may change based on your needs, location, or even the particular solar installer you hire. A good solar installer will be able to help you understand the more complex components of solar home power so that you do not feel lost when making the decision to go solar.