Solar Panel Extras – About the Extra Equipment You Need to Install a Solar Panel System
Before you even start to consider a solar electrical system, it is a really good idea to examine your home for ways to make changes to your living habits and energy usage. You will be surprised at the savings you can make to your power bills, simply by adopting eco-friendly power habits. It would be a contradiction, to install a solar electrical system without making other household changes that reduce your dependency on grid power and fossil fuels. Having said that, solar power can provide a clean-energy option that is becoming far more popular. You will of course need to calculate what you home power needs, before you can plan on installing any solar electrical system. Whether your installation is small, large, DIY, or professionally installed, you will still require certain equipment to operate your panels and use its power output.
Mounting: Your solar panels will need to be mounted in a safe and secure manner. It is also an import to protect your investment from the wind. Proper solar panel mounting provides stability and the correct directional and latitudinal orientation for the solar array. You will need to decide on the location of the panels on your property before you decide to mount the modules on the roof, wall, the ground, or on a pole on your property.
Wiring and Collector boxes: If you are connecting several panels, you will need a safe and secure way to connect all the panels, this is called a Multi-Contact Connector or Collector Box. The wiring from your panel array needs to be of the correct type and size, or you will simply loose power in the wiring before it even gets to your storage system, as the wires resistance can significantly reduce power.
Collector and Fuses: Your panel wiring is usually run to a “collector box”, and from there to your solar charge controller. Combiner Boxes are used to collect the wiring from multiple solar panels, and then from the combiner box you run one set of wires to the solar charge controller. For safety, you will need a breaker switch(fuse) on each solar array. Adequate fuse protection is to prevent over heating of the cables in a fault or overload situation which, if unprotected, could result in a fire.
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Electrical Controllers and Inverter: The electricity generated by the panels will need to be controlled and fed to your battery storage. Your wiring to the solar charge controller needs to match the size of your panel array.
The next is an over-current protection system to protect not only you, but each major component of the system (solar panels, solar charge controller, batteries, and inverter). Your inverter converts your DC power from the solar panel to more usable AC Power. The size (wattage) of an inverter must be large enough to handle the total amount of watts you will be using at one time.
Without deep cycle batteries, you can only use power at the time you produce it, that is, when the sun shines. Solar batteries should be deep cycle batteries, they provide energy storage for solar, wind and other renewable energy systems. These batteries are different from a car battery and are capable of surviving the prolonged, repeated and deep discharges which are typical of renewable energy systems. Batteries are measured in amp hours of storage capacity, and you will need to match the number of batteries to your needs.
So, it seems that there is a lot more to a DIY solar panel installation than you may have realised. We would recommend that you should obtain a comprehensive guide that covers all the details of a solar installation. While building or installing a solar panel system is not difficult, there are details that need to be considered which can improve the efficiency and safety of the system.