Solar Power

8 Basic Solar Components of a Residential Solar Power System

1) Solar module – This is the heart of the system. Solar modules are made from multiple Photovoltaic (PV) cells soldered together.

PV cells are made from a semi-conductive material and are capable of generating electric current when exposed to sun light. Among all the parts, this is the most expensive components.

2) Battery bank – The battery units act as the power storage system for the home solar power system. The type of battery most commonly used for solar setup is the deep cycle. It generally lasts longer and discharges the power on a consistent level.

Depending on the energy requirement, a home will usually use a battery bank with 8 or more individual batteries connected together with stout cables in either series or parallel arrangements.

3) Charge controller – The batteries cannot be charged directly from the solar module. This is impractical because of the inconsistent power output from the solar cells.

Instead, a charge controller is used to charge the battery. It will feed current into battery bank at the right voltage to maximize its efficiency.

4) DC load controller – As its name implies, a DC load controller maintain a proper current and voltage from the solar system to the electrical appliances in a household. Fluctuation in the power level will degrade or damage electrical equipment.

5) Power inverter – Since the solar cells only generate Direct Current (DC), the power inverter is used to convert the DC to AC (Alternate Current). Most household electrical appliances use AC.

6) AC generator – The generator acts as a backup power supply during winter or cloudy days when the solar cells are not producing any power or when the battery bank depletes. If you are using a solar intertie system for your home, an AC generator is not necessary.

7) Transfer switch – If the solar system uses an AC generator, the transfer switch alternates the power source between the battery bank and the AC generator. The switching is either done automatically or manually.

8) AC load controller – This is the safety system of the solar setup. The component includes appropriate fuses to maintain the voltage and current at a safe level.

Will Yap writes about DIY solar homes at Do you want to use solar power to reduce you home monthly electricity bill? If you do, check out the Earth 4 Energy eBook. The manual will show you how to make a solar power system with minimal cost. For more information, read the Earth4 Energy review at the web site.