An increasingly popular means of powering one’s home, how exactly do those solar panels positioned on your roof produce energy?
The current ongoing troubles that South Africa’s national power utility is experiencing continues to grow at a frightening pace. Their own report concludes that they have already shed 690 hours of power this year at the halfway point, with last year’s total coming in at 840 hours.
We live in a part of the world that’s more-often-than-not bathed in sunlight, a luxury that not all nations can take advantage of. Solar energy is deemed to be one of the most consistent, tried and tested renewable energy forms available. We must take advantage of this opportunity to become individually energy independent.
A specifically configured solar PV system has the capability of either completely unbundling a home from its reliance on a national grid or, indeed, supplementing its monthly consumption of energy. This will require understanding the individual requirement, design and implementation of the system and importantly, an in-depth knowledge of batteries, their different technologies and critically their use.
But how exactly does a modern hybrid solar PV system work?
Positioned so as to capture the maximum available amount of the sun’s rays throughout the daylight hours, a solar panel is fixed usually to the roof of your home via specifically designed mounts. With each panel finished with non-reflective coating for optimal efficiency. This solar array is then connected to an intelligent inverter which has the capacity to manage this DC power source, converting it to your required AC power.
It has the ability to manage this power in both formats, either supplying your requirement directly or storing it in your battery bank for when you have a demand for additional power or a need to replace the failed grid. These items are fitted with a series of photovoltaics (PV) cells per panel that are designed to capture photons from the sun’s rays. Cells are connected electrically in series to a desired voltage and in parallel for increased amperage. The captured photons in turn cause a layer of positive cells to react with a lower tier layer of negative cells. It’s the ferocity of the interaction between captured photons and the individual PV cells within a solar panel that results in the generation of an electrocortical current. This DC (Direct Current) is then fed into an inverter that via power electronics technology converts it into the Alternating Current (AC) required for the running of a modern home. On a sunny day in South Africa, maximum solar radiation occurs for many hours per square meter.
This energy can either be fed into the home via its distribution board or stored off-the-grid within a battery energy storage system (BESS), usually in the form of a solar battery setup.
The advantage of a modern hybrid solar PV setup is that it allows the user to carefully control and monitor the amount of clean energy being consumed within a household. In some countries, customers are even incentivised to feed excess energy generated by their home’s solar PV systems, back into the grid.
A complete solar system with batteries sized for the customer’s requirements provides both security of supply during load shedding and grid failures, as well as cost savings from the self-generation of energy via solar PV panels. It is advantageous, empowering and an excellent long-term investment.
The Rentech brand was established in 2001 as a dedicated provider of renewable energy products and services. It forms part of the AutoX family, manufactures of Willard Batteries and Sabat Batteries, some of South Africa’s leading battery brands. Rentech is focused on supplying local and selected African markets, including a range of inverters, lithium batteries, lead-acid batteries, and PV panels of the highest quality. It provides expert advice to assist customers in choosing the best product solutions, appropriate for specific applications and requirements.