Solar power is a renewable energy source that enables buildings to save on expensive electricity costs, as it does not rely on fossil fuel to fuel it like traditional electric power systems. Instead, it relies on sunlight, a cheaper energy source, to power the system. In return, solar power buildings save on average up to 50% over fossil fueled buildings.
To harness this source of clean energy, solar power generators, which include solar panels, are used. The solar panels convert sunlight to clean energy through a process of conversion that occurs inside the modules of the specially formulated materials of the solar panels, which then powers the building.
There are various types of solar powered generator systems, including on grid, or grid tied, off-grid, and hybrid, and solar panels, including polycrystalline, non-crystalline, and amorphous. Which solar power generator you select generally depends on whether you are utilizing the system to realize savings, to simply power the building, as an emergency power backup source, your energy requirement, the voltage of your system, the climate condition where your building is located, and rather you prefer to use your local electrical power company, or on-grid, or not.
Installation varies for each solar powered generator depending on which you select. Nonetheless, the installation for a basic battery backup on grid solar powered generator system is as follows:
How to Install a Solar Power Generator
The typical on grid solar system materials include the solar panel, charge controller, battery system, inverter, wires and wire connectors. However, there are some systems that utilize solely the solar panel and a grid tie inverter. You could also opt for just the solar panel, grid tie converter, a second converter, and battery system to generate power.
The battery backup solar power systems serve as a backup in the event of a power outage due to a fault of your local power company.
2. Connect the Inverter to the Battery
Attach the inverter to the battery using the wires. To attach the converter, simply attach the negative wire to the negative pole of the battery, and then connect the positive wire to the positive pole of the battery.
3. Connect the Charge Controller to the Battery
When connecting the charge controller to the battery system, be sure to connect the wire to the negative pole of the battery first, and then the positive pole.
4. Charge the Solar Panel
The solar panels may be attached to an outside wall or roof. However, on a portable solar powered generator, the solar panel can be connected directly to the unit.
Place the panel where it can absorb the most sunlight. In the morning, one side of the building may be exposed to more sunlight than other sides, while in the evening, alternate sides may be exposed to more sunlight, so take note of this when positioning the panel for maximum charge. In addition, you should also take note of any obstructions, such as buildings or trees, that may block the sun in either direction.
Allow the panel to charge in the sunlight before use.
5. Connect Your Appliances
Once the solar panel is charged above 50% capacity, connect your appliances to the inverter to enjoy solar power.
Solar power systems perform best when coupled with energy efficient building products, such as LED lighting and appliances.
What Can be Powered on a Fully Charged Solar Power Generator?
The size of your battery system, the inverter wattage and the number of solar panels you incorporate will determine what can be powered on your system. Consult with a solar power generator supplier for a system that suits your needs.
Because on-grid solar power systems can require extensive wiring, such as meter wiring, it may be in your best interest to hire a professional solar installer, for best results.
6. Connect to the Grid
With on-grid solar power systems, a mandatory connection agreement must be signed with your distribution network in order to connect a solar power system to the grid.
Depending on the size of your system, the characteristics of your local grid, and whether you are planning to export excess electricity, your network’s technical requirements may vary significantly. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that you speak with your local power company before investing in a solar power system.
The Benefits of Installing a Solar Power Generator
The growing cost of electricity has sparked an increase in energy bills, resulting in higher operational costs. However, the cost of solar power systems has decreased, not to mention they do not require costly fossil fuel, which hedges against future electric price increases.
Another benefit of solar power systems is that if you opt for an on-grid system, and you have an agreement in place concerning feeding extra energy back to the grid, you will be afforded certain incentives.
Commercial and residential investors of solar power systems are also afforded a 30% federal tax credit against the tax liability of commercial and residential utility under the Solar Tax Investment Credit (ITC).
If you opt for a portable solar power generator, the benefit is that it can be transported and stored when not in use.
The Cost of Installing a Solar Power Generator
The initial cost of installing a solar power system can be high. However, according to experts, the payback period is between 5 to 10 years.
The price of solar powered generators varies in price depending on various factors, including the number of panels, the type, quality and efficiency of panels, the quality, type and efficiency of the inverter, the design and configuration, location, site preparation needs, monitoring equipment and agreements and more.
According to recent reports, a professionally installed 5kW on grid solar powered generator on average costs between $25,000 to $35,000. However, you could also lease a solar system for lower cost.
A typical off-grid portable solar powered generator can be constructed yourself, with the average price of materials for a 500-watt system ranging between $3,400 to $4,300.
As with just about any building project, it is best to consult your local planning authority to determine the planning and building permits you will need to install your solar powered generator. These local regulations will also determine the size and design of your solar powered generator.