Solar power is both simple and complex. While it is simple in concept – sunshine comes to us free and without effort every day and we turn that into power – the science and technology behind efficiently turning that sunshine into electricity that is usable in today’s world is a bit more involved. Here are the main components of a solar power system and a little about what they do.
Solar panels are the part of the system that most of us are familiar with, as it is the part you see on the outside of the building. This is also where the ‘magic’ happens. Inside of these solar panels is a series of individual solar cells. These cells will convert the solar energy from the sun into DC current.
Once the solar panels have created DC power, it needs to be converted into the type of current that we use here in the United States: AC. An inverter is like the brains of the solar power system. It not only inverts DC power to AC, but it also provides ground fault protection and system stats and tracks energy production.
Now that your system is creating power for you to use, what will happen to any excess power that is not utilized during the course of the day? That is where a storage system comes into play. There are two main methods of storage. The first, called ‘net metering,’ is when your system is tied to the grid and excess energy is sent out for usage elsewhere. You then receive credit for the energy which was sent back out. The second method is storing excess energy onsite in a battery storage system. They are both valuable tools to help you get the most out of your solar power system.