The options for residential solar power range rather greatly from small systems to large, fully self-contained units. How much or how little power a homeowner desires a system to generate will impact the amount of space required for installation and the associated costs. No matter their size or the expense involved, residential solar power units all tend to operate using the same general principles.
Residential solar power systems require a few basic components. They include:
• Solar cells or panels – Solar panels are basically the driving force behind a home solar power system. These are the devices that are required to absorb the sun’s photon energy and begin the process that will turn it into usable electrical power. In most cases, residential solar systems are designed with a panel array that affixes to a roof. In certain circumstances, however, solar dishes might be used or small solar cell systems that are meant to only power a small, singular device.
• Inverters – The inverter is traditionally one of the most expensive pieces in a residential solar power system. Inverters take the direct current energy created by solar panels and turn it into alternating current. AC power is what is required by most major electrical appliances. The efficiency of an inverter can greatly impact the output of a solar power system.
• Batteries – Batteries are an import part of a residential solar power system. These are used to store AC power for use by electrical appliances or systems. Even in a solar power system that is designed to provide juice for an outdoor lighting system, batteries will be included in the mix.
Residential solar power systems do vary rather greatly in size, capacity and function. Some of the options for home use include:
• Single, small device systems – Some homeowners use solar power systems that are self-contained to provide needed electricity for certain appliances. Outdoor lighting systems, for example, are widely available using solar energy mechanisms. Sold in kits, this type of lighting enables homeowners to illuminate their yards without taxing the electrical grid. Other similar devices include garden fountains, solar energy systems for security cameras and more. In this case, the devices are designed strictly to power the piece of electronic equipment in question.
• Larger systems – Solar arrays can be used to help power certain appliances within a home. Depending on the capacity of a system, it is possible for homeowners to offset electrical use for heating water, running a refrigerator and so on. Some roof designed systems, however, are capable of providing all of the electricity a homeowner might need.
Residential solar power systems are gaining in popularity for good reason. Even smaller systems designed to power a single device, such as outdoor lighting, can help offset energy consumption and electrical bills. In turn, these systems give homeowners the satisfaction of not only saving money, but also helping the environment.