In modern times electricity is the most important necessity for survival. These days’ people are highly dependent on electricity to run their homes and offices. Due to an increase in the consumption of electricity, scientists have discovered alternative ways to produce it. Sustainable development calls for using renewable resources, Solar energy is a renewable resource that is available in abundant. Today solar energy can be harvested with the help solar power system and converted into electricity.
Solar power systems are available in two different ways, that is, grid-tied and stand-alone systems. Both these solar systems convert solar energy into electricity in the same. Their difference lies in the method of storing the electricity produced by them.
Grid-tied solar system uses a commercial electric grid to store the energy produced by the panels whereas stand-alone solar system store the energy in the batteries.
Components of a solar power system
A solar system is made up of different parts. Mainly there are 5 components in the solar system, which are as follows
1. Solar panel: The most important part of a system is solar panel component. These panels are made of photovoltaic cells, which play a vital role in electricity production. Solar panels are the most visible part of a solar system; they are installed outside and preferable on rooftops of a home. These photovoltaic cells present in the panels convert sunlight into electricity, giving it a name PV panels.
For residential purpose, solar panels are of two types namely monocrystalline and polycrystalline. Monocrystalline is slightly more efficient than the other. The number of solar panels required depends on space available, the energy required and climate conditions.
2. Inverters: it is the useful solar power components of a power system. The main function of this component is to convert the DC produced by the solar panel into alternating current that is suitable for utilization. Inverters are that components of a solar power that helps in synchronization of AC and DC current. Inverters are the major components of a solar power system that gets replaced at least once in the lifetime of the plant. However, it is crucial to choose such kind of inverters that can use other power sources as a reference to voltage and continue to function even when the grid is down.
3. Solar array disconnect: the third component of a solar system is an array disconnect. They are a vital part of a power system, which is basically an off – switch. This switch allows one to cut-off DC power output from the solar panels to homes. The switch is mainly used for maintenance purpose or fixing the system as and when problems arise. The off switch must be strong enough to handle full power output on a sunny day. Solar array disconnect is primarily a safety measure that needs to be included.
4. Solar panel mounting: when installing a solar panel, they are not directly attached to the roof. Solar panels are mounted to iron fixtures so that they can stay strong and withstand heavy wind flow. The panels so mounted are tilted to a specific angle for a high degree of exposure to sunlight.
5. Batteries: The final and fifth component of a solar power system is battery. Most rooftop household solar panels come with batteries. The main function of these batteries is to store solar energy. They act as a backup and provide electricity during night times or on a cloudy day. In addition to batteries, charge controllers are included. The function of a charge controller is no ensure a consistent amount of electricity is sent to the batteries so that they are not overcharged. The controller also ensures that the backup battery does not discharge the electricity back through the system at night.
How to maintain a solar power plant?
The components of a solar power plant need to be maintained for ensuring durability and longer life. The solar power system installed at a rooftop has no movable components which make its maintenance easy and simple. On the other hand components like batteries need time and effort to maintain them in original condition.
Solar panels need to be dusted and clean once in a while, but inverters require much more care. Inverters can be affected by grid power quality, humidity, short circuit, etc. Hence maintenance in the form of replacing capacitors may be required. Similarly, batteries too require careful maintenance for proper functioning.