5 Essential Components of a Solar Power System
March 22, 2022

A solar power system is an array of equipment designed to convert solar energy into electrical energy. As with conversion systems, it has essential components to perform its functions without hitches. Knowledge of these components will help users operate and maintain the systems properly, which will prolong the usable life of the solar power system.

Though comprising many components, the essential components of a solar power system are highlighted below:

1. Solar panels

The functional unit of a solar power system is the photovoltaic cell, the smallest part of the system capable of converting solar to electrical energy. Many photovoltaic cells have to be put together to achieve a good energy output. The array of photovoltaic cells is called a solar panel. The number of solar panels used in an installation depends on the anticipated power consumption of that consumer.

The electrical current generated at this stage is direct current (DC). The DC is transmitted to an associated inverter for further processing.

Solar panels come in two variants; monocrystalline and polycrystalline. Both variants are efficient in solar energy conversion. They differ in how the silicon crystals are formed and harvested. This affects the color they give off within the panel.

2. Racking/Mounting equipment

The solar panels have to be set upon a secure, stable platform. The platform ensures the proper presentation of the panels to the sun for solar collection. The mounts can either be on a roof or the ground. Both forms require different materials. For instance, roof mounts will need braces, splice kits, wire clippings, end caps, rails for proper mounting. On the other hand, ground mounts will require a concrete base and steel props to ensure stable mounting. Proper mounting provides the solar power system’s reliable output and prolonged activity.

3. Inverters

Inverters are electrical components used to convert direct current to alternating current. Electrical appliances utilize electricity in an alternating current, hence the need for an inverter. This is to be used with either the solar panel or the batteries.

Inverters come in various forms; they could be string inverters, central inverters, micro-inverters, or battery-based inverters. They each use different technologies to convert DC to AC.

4. Monitoring equipment

These are devices whose primary function is to obtain energy output data from the inverter and feed them to online/web services owned by the manufacturer. This feature enables the manufacturer to observe and identify discrepancies in the feed. From the incoming data, they can make appropriate corrections or take measures to ensure effective power generation.

The monitoring equipment can be coupled with the inverter or with the batteries. That way, it can feed back energy output values, and the manufacturer can observe any issues.

5. Solar batteries

Solar batteries are not exactly an essential component of solar power systems generally. The grid-tied system doesn’t utilize batteries at all. For the other models, however, batteries form an integral part. They store energy produced during the day so that at periods where there is no power supply–at night, or during a power failure, for instance– the batteries present an alternative.

Batteries could be in different forms, depending on manufacturer preferences. They could be GEL, AGM, Flooded, or Lithium-ion batteries. They also have varying capacities, although the manner of usage affects the battery’s lifespan.

There are many components involved in the circuitry of a solar power system, but the components above are the most essential.