Solar photovoltaic system
If you are interested in solar energy professionally; You are probably able to explain how solar photovoltaic systems produce electricity. This process is mysterious and unknown to many, and there are often misconceptions about it among those who are not familiar with solar energy. For this reason, in this article we are going to talk about how solar installations produce electricity and how this process works. First, we will talk about the basics of how to produce solar energy, and then we will discuss the specifications of PV systems or Photovoltaics System.
Basics of a Solar Photovoltaic (PV) System
Solar PV systems are basically a combination of solar panels, the hardware needed to help power flow from the panels, and inverters. Depending on their type, PV systems can use string inverters, micro inverters or power optimizers to convert energy; But the basic structure of most PV systems is the same.
How does solar energy work in a photovoltaic (PV) system?
Solar panels convert the energy of photons (light particles) into electricity. This process is called the photovoltaic effect. When a photon hits a photovoltaic (PV) device; The photon energy is transferred to the local electrons of the material. Then these excited electrons flow and thus electricity is produced.
Solar cells (located inside solar panels) produce direct current (DC), which is usually converted to alternating current (AC) by an inverter. In this way, the electricity produced by these panels can be transferred to the power grid or used to supply energy to electrical appliances (or commercial installations of solar buildings).
The process of how solar panels work includes the following three main steps:
1-The solar cells inside the solar panels absorb the sunlight and this causes the electric current to start flowing.
2-An inverter converts DC power to AC power.
3-This electricity is used to supply the energy needed by the customers’ buildings, and the excess electricity over the customer’s consumption can be transferred to the power grid.
What happens to the electricity produced in a solar photovoltaic (PV) system?
Most solar panel customers in the United States have grid-connected solar installations. Their house is connected to the electricity grid; Therefore, they can use the energy provided by the electricity grid when their needs are more than the electricity produced by their solar installations (for example, on rainy days or at night). In addition, whenever the energy produced by their PV system is more than their consumption needs; They can transfer excess energy to the power grid so that others can use it.
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Today, a policy called net metering is prevalent across the United States. In the form of this policy, customers’ excess solar energy is transferred to the power grid; This energy actually replaces the energy consumed by the household from the electricity grid and compensates its costs.
Net metering policy has played an important role in making solar energy affordable. But currently, it can be seen that urban service companies active in America have made changes in the way of implementing this policy; In such a way that many of them have reduced the receipt of customers from their installed solar facilities.
Incentive tariffs (Feed-in Tariffs)
Imposing incentive tariffs is another way of compensating solar subscribers for the electricity they send to the power grid in some areas.
What are the components of a solar photovoltaic system?
A PV system basically consists of the following two main components:
Solar modules: Solar modules contain solar cells that convert sunlight into electricity.
Inverters: convert DC current to AC. At the same time, they also have other useful applications in the power grid.
Balanced Components of the System (BOS)
Usually, all the components of a PV system plus modules are called Balance of System (BOS). Some BOS components include: inverters, circuit breakers, racking and wiring. Of course, this is only an overview of the different parts of a solar system and how they fit together. If you want to learn more about the methods of connecting panels and inverters together (working row), or if you are interested in the topic of alternatives to traditional inverters (which are known as module level power electronics or MLPE); You can read related articles in this field.
What factors affect the efficiency of the solar photovoltaic system?
You should note that the process of generating electricity from solar energy is never 100%. Environmental factors such as temperature, dust and shade, as well as losses in the electrical components of these systems, can affect the efficiency of a PV system. The set of factors that cause energy loss usually include:
Dust and dirt
Wiring and connections
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