What equipment is used for solar energy?
Top Solar Provo specializes in the design and installation of solar photovoltaic systems. These energy systems are also called "PV" (or "Solar PV") and harness the sun's power to produce electricity for your home or business.
Solar Panels (or solar modules) are the most iconic piece of equipment for solar energy systems. Photovoltaic (PV), solar modules are made of silicon semiconductors that have been specially designed to harness sunlight's energy. This process is known as the photovoltaic effect.
- The PV solar panels generate energy when exposed to sunlight in the form of a direct current charge (DC).
- The DC charge can be measured in watts or units of power.
- You may also have seen "kilowatt-hours" on your monthly electricity bill. This refers to a unit of 1,000 (kilowatts) watts per hour.
- Commercial solar installs DC black solar panels.
- The energy output of solar modules can vary from 75 watts up to 350 watts. On average, they produce about 250 watts.
- An array is formed when solar panels are placed together. An array's energy potential or size is determined by its number multiplied by its output rating (in Watts).
- An array of twenty, 250-watt solar panels with an energy potential of 5 kilowatts would be an example. (20 modules x 250 Watts = 5,000W).
- This would be a "5kW array" for size. If an average home uses 11,280 kilowatts annually, a 5kW array would offset approximately 57%.
- If you have ideal solar access, it is possible to approximate the annual solar production by multiplying "kW" by 1.3. A 5kW solar array multiplied by 1.3 equals 6,500-kilowatt hours per year.
Because solar modules generate a DC charge it is necessary for the conversion of direct current to alternating current (AC) to allow commercial fixtures and appliances to be installed in your home or business. Inverters control the energy from the solar modules and adjust it to your energy consumption. They are compatible with both single-phase (most residential) and three-phase applications. Inverters for solar energy systems connect to an existing electric meter. They communicate information about solar production to technicians as well as other equipment such as monitoring devices. There are two types of inverters that can be used to produce solar energy. Each has its own benefits.
- For large solar access arrays, central inverters are often used.
- Central inverters are often less expensive than individual solar panels.
- This reduces the number of components in the energy system and allows for central access to equipment.
- When a section of an array is temporarily shaded, micro inverters can be used.
- Each individual solar panel is assigned a micro inverter
- This allows technicians to monitor and analyzes the energy produced by each solar module.
Most solar arrays are placed on the roof or ground of a building. The structural systems that hold the solar arrays in their place are called "racking". These racking systems are built to support the weight and withstand hurricane-force winds of up to 90 mph. The method of attachment depends on the mounting style and the location.
Top Solar Provo also offers custom-designed solar solutions to racking structures. We can also integrate solar with green roofing (vegetative rooftops) Roof mounts can also be maintained by us and we can offer roof repair.
Ground mounts are usually made from aluminum racking and galvanized steel. They are often certified by structural engineers.
- Ideal for applications that require open space (such as solar for vineyards and farms).
- This allows for greater solar arrays and a larger offset on utility bills
- This is a great solution to roof shading and limited roof space
- They attach to the ground via concrete pillars or footings.
- Some models can be used as solar canopies, with storage/parking space below.
Ballasted Roof Mounts
Ballasted roof mounts are usually made from "ballast trays", which are typically made of recycled material like polyethylene. This helps to prevent roofing membranes from being punctured.
- Flat roofs are ideal for solar commercial buildings and other applications.
- To preserve roof integrity, allow for minimal to zero penetration of the roof surface
- To secure roof arrays, use ballast blocks or weighted pavers
- Solar installation is possible on EPDM, TPO, thermoplastic, built-up roofing, and other flat roofs
- Top Solar Provo is able to install top solar panels in Provo and provide waterproofing warranties
Flush Roof Mounting
Flush roof mounting allows solar panels to be secured and hidden from view in homes.
- Ideal for pitched roofs with varying angles (such as solar for homes).
- By tying into existing roof framing, you can allow for minimal penetrations
- All penetrations have waterproof flashings that are sealed and inspected.
- Installable on slate roofs, wooden shakes, metal (standing seam), or composite (asphalt shingle)
- Below the solar panels are wires, grounding, and micro-inverters, if available.
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