Components and Parts of Solar Photovoltaic (PV) System
Solar panel is not the only component of solar power system.
Thinking of installing a solar photovoltaic system? Find out about other PV parts you’ll have to pay for.
Solar power systems vary from large scale utility plants spread over several acres to individual rooftop solar systems designed for captive consumption. Although design of Solar PV systems requires technical know-how which solar energy companies like Insolergy excel at, but the essence of its working is very simple. With this post we want to educate our readers about the main components of solar PV system.
Components of a solar PV system and their function
Overview: How Solar Power System Works
When PV modules are placed under the sun, the solar panel system generates DC (Direct Current) electricity. But the appliances we use require AC i.e. Alternating Current. Hence, we use an inverter to convert DC into AC.
In places where adequate power is not available, battery storage is required. In urban areas with robust power supply, solar systems that are directly connected to the power grid are utilized. Now both solar and grid power can work together to power your appliances.
Here are the basic components of solar power plant that make a rooftop solar electricity generating system:
Solar PV modules or Solar Panels:
PV stands for Photo Voltaic. As these panels convert light (i.e. photo) into electrical power (voltage), so they are known as Photo Voltaic modules. Most commonly available PV modules are of two types- Crystalline and thin-film.
At Insolergy, for our rooftop installations, we use Crystalline PV Modules, since these are more efficient and use less space. Typically, to generate 1kW of power, solar panels require a space of approximately 80-100 sq. ft. Solar panels have a long life and they last for more than 30 years.
Inverter is the brain of a solar power system and serves primarily two purposes:
- To convert the DC power generated from Solar Panels into AC power that is used by our electrical appliances.
- To ensure that solar power generated is used at priority over grid supply.
Solar inverters are essentially Grid-tied or Off-Grid/Hybrid.
- The Grid-tied inverters are directly connected to the grid supply. With net metering, excess power can be exported and used later when required. There is no limitation to the size and type of equipment than can be run with this type of inverters. These are suitable where the power supply is reliable.
- Off-grid or Hybrid inverters are connected to the specific loads to be run. Their size is based upon connected loads and their surge requirement. These are suitable for areas with load shedding problem.
The inverters require very little space and can be easily mounted on a convenient location. They can have a working life of around 10 years or more.
Batteries are required to make the power available in the absence of sun.
Charging of battery is done by solar power or grid power. Typically the inverter allows you to choose priority between the two sources based on application. They also help in smoothing power delivery during daytime.
Of all solar panel parts and components, battery is optional for grid-tied installation type.
Read more about types of solar installations
These are fixtures that hold the solar panel in place. Their appropriate design is essential to as to make sure, the panels get maximum sunlight. The mounting structures are usually made of Galvanised Iron or Aluminium. They have to designed for wind loads applicable in the region. There are two types of mounting structures-
- Triangular Mount: for flat roofs and,
- Flush Mount: for inclined roof
The mounting structures are long lasting and require no maintenance.
Electrical & Safety equipment
Solar panel parts and components are connected by cables on DC and AC side. It is also important to install safety equipment since PV systems are designed for long life use. Electrical surges or short circuit can damage the equipment. Proper earthing and equipment like RCBB, Surge protectors, lightening arrestors, etc. are required.
RCBB (Residual Current Circuit Breaker) will protect the system against current leaks, which may lead to shock or fire. And SPD (Surge Protection Device) protects the equipment from surge voltages created during lightening and grid fluctuations.
These components of solar power system are same anywhere in the world. However, based on the region of your residence, the type of these components used may vary. Solar power systems have a long life. Therefore, it is important to emphasize on quality and safety for durable performance.
You might also be interested in: How much does a solar power plant cost?
Contact Insolergy for solar system installation
Thinking of installing solar panels? Contact Insolergy for a free site survey. Insolergy Technologies is an emerging leader in rooftop solar segment in India and is headquartered in Pune.
For site survey in Mumbai or Pune , contact Insolergy