Thinking About Switching to Solar? A Guide to the Basics

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switching to solar, Sudbury, MassachusettsWith the steady growth of renewable energies powering more commercial and residential buildings, the need to understand exactly how they work has never been more clear. If you’re thinking about switching to solar, here’s what you need to know about the components employed in the average residential system, as well as a primer on how the components come together to generate electricity from solar power.

Components of a solar system

The system’s main components include:

  • Solar panels
  • Mounting racks
  • Direct current (DC) disconnect
  • Inverter
  • Battery
  • Power meter
  • Utility meter
  • Kilowatt meter
  • Backup generator (if necessary)
  • Breaker panel
  • Alternate current (AC) panel
  • Circuit breaker panel
  • Charge controller

How solar works

These components work together to transform solar energy to electricity for the home. Here’s how:

  • When the sun’s rays hit the solar panels, they collect solar energy.
  • Choosing mounting racks that track solar energy allows for optimal energy sourcing, as the sun changes its location throughout the day.
  • The inverter takes solar DC energy and converts it to AC energy, which most homes use.
  • The energy moves through the various breaker panels, as the system converts energy to usable electricity.
  • The various panels “meter” or read the solar system’s energy production. Most local codes require that solar systems connect to the local utility company’s power grid. Excess energy is sent through the grid for a credit, and when energy production is low, the system can draw energy from the power company. For systems that aren’t connected to the grid, the backup generator provides power on days when supply is low.
  • The disconnect allows your contractor to safely access the panels for maintenance.
  • The charge controller regulates power to ensure the proper charge at all times. It prevents overcharging by supplying the system with a continuous charge, while ensuring that power is accessible when the batteries require a charge.

Rodenhiser Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning is proud to provide HVAC services to the Route 495/128 area of Massachusetts. We’re happy to schedule a free home consultation to assess your home’s potential for solar power. If you’re thinking about switching to solar power, we’re the area’s go-to source for heating and cooling solutions. Give us call today or visit our website for more information.

Image via Shutterstock.com

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