Your off grid solar system has two main parts:
- the Solar Array
- the Solar Inverter / Charge Controller
The solar array is the part of your off grid system that actually makes the electricity. Basically, Photovoltaic (PV) Solar Panels convert sunlight into power that you can use in your house or store in your batteries.
A solar array is made up of individual solar panels. Their modular design means you can incrementally add panels to get a perfect size solar array for your needs.
A solar array can be as small as one panel or 1000’s of panels – depending upon your need for power.
The best way to measure the size of a solar array is in kilowatts (kW). Most people living off the grid typically have between 3-10kW of solar power installed.
Types of Solar Panels
There are three main categories of solar panels:
Each category has different applications but at the end of the day 1 kW = 1kW of power regardless of the technology. The best way to find out which is best for your application is to chat with one of our team members on 0403 943 757.
Living With Your Off Grid Solar Panels
Solar panels perform according to the amount of sunlight they receive. As you can guess, the middle of the day is the best time for solar generation, and as dusk approaches the solar gain decreases. Overnight your panels will not generate power – but you still have access to power through what was stored in your batteries during the sunlight hours (more on this in the next step).
Another way of looking at it is; the more sunlight you have on the solar array, the more power it can make. So at lunch time on a drizzly winter’s day there may be as much light as at sunrise on a beautiful summers day.
When you are living off grid, you should expect your electricity production to change according to how much sunlight there is. The trick to making the most out of your solar generation is by using power when the sun is shining!
Solar Inverter / Charge Controller
The second part of the solar system is the component that controls the solar power as it leaves the solar panels. There are two types to choose from:
- Solar Inverter (for AC coupled systems)
- Solar Charge Controller (for DC coupled systems)
The choice that suits you the best will depend on your specific situation. In general small off grid systems normally have Solar Charge Controllers where as large off grid systems tend to have Solar Inverters.
To find out which will suit you best simply call 0403 943 757.