With more people looking for ways to help lower their carbon footprints while sparing their wallets extra expenses, the solar power system is beginning to be noticed more and more. These once rather cumbersome creations can now help power homes in remote locations, augment commercial electrical operations and even assist homeowners in offsetting their energy expenses in small and big ways. The viability of a solar power system, however, is something that many skeptics question. The reality is these designs might not be perfect, but they can make an impact in consumption of non-renewable energy. Understanding just how they function can help point out the potential perks and even the flaws in the system.
A basic solar power system has several main components. The overall viability of a solar power system for helping take a home or business off an electrical grid or effectively offsetting a portion of electrical use will depend on the efficiency of each component in the design. A solar power system functions using these components:
• Solar cells, panels or arrays – To function, a solar power system must have some mechanism for collecting the sun’s photon energy. Very small systems might work using smaller solar cells. A solar power system that is designed to operate a single appliance or an entire building will require solar panels or solar panel arrays (or arrangements) to absorb enough energy to accomplish the job at hand. Once cells or panels absorb the sun’s energy, they are designed to transform it into DC power. The overall efficiency of a solar power system will hinge partially on how well solar panels can absorb and transform the sun’s power into DC power.
• An inverter – This component is required to take the DC energy created by the solar panels and turn it into alternating current energy. AC power is the type of electricity required by most major electrical appliances and systems. The inverter can also impact efficiency of a system based on how well it transforms DC power into AC electricity. A certain amount of loss is generally expected in the transformation.
• A battery or batteries – These are used to store the created AC power for future use in electrical systems. Batteries, of course, can impact efficiency based on a number of factors. For example, if a battery doesn’t hold a charge very well, the collected power from the solar panels can be lost in the translation.
The overall effectiveness of a solar power system can be impacted by a number of different factors. Today’s designs, however, have come a long way in overall cost-effectiveness and efficiency. In fact, solar power system models are now used as the sole power outlet in many remote locations and some home and business owners rely on these systems to provide them backup power in emergencies. While they might not be perfect, these systems can get the job done.