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welcome to balance of systems 101

If you in the process of shopping for a solar electric system, more than likely you have ran into a key term called balance of systems (BOS). What role does BOS play in a solar electric system? Today I’ll write about why the BOS components are the foundation of your solar electric system. BOS parts are all the pieces of the solar electric system besides the solar panels. The parts that make up BOS include: inverter batteries & charge controllers (if your system is off-grid or grid tie w/ battery backup) overcurrent protection devices electrical enclosures junction boxes support and security structures. disconnects Some of the parts in your balance of system will be rated for outdoor exposure such as most grid tie solar inverters while other parts such as batteries would need an electrical enclosures. BOS parts are typically located close to the electrical service panel, although close proximity is not required. The layout of the BOS parts within the system must be done in a neat manner which allows easy access, testing and disconnecting the system. For solar electric systems operating at 48 volts or less its important to minimize the distance of the dc wiring for efficiency purposes. Solar panels are just one part of the solar electric system, all the components that make up the system must work harmoniously for you to maximize your solar harvest. Selecting the right components can be overwhelming for people who are just get started with clean energy systems, that’s why we have our complete pre-engineered solar grid tie systems, our systems include everything you or your installer needs to get your system up and generating electricity without having to worry about the compatibility of the wide range of products that make up a solar electric...

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The disadvantages of grid tie solar with battery backup

Many people, for some reason want to add a battery backup to their grid tie solar power systems in the USA even though in most areas we have a very reliable gird. The security of having a little power for critical loads during a black out comes with significant disadvantages which include: you will have to install more components compared to simple grid tie system Batteries will require maintenance and will add significantly to the final cost of the system. efficiency loss will occur due to charging batteries. up to 15% loss in performance. your not going to be able to power your entire home or business off a solar power grid tie backup system. I live in Los Angeles, we don’t have many power outages here, so its really not worth a battery backup unless I am worried about the next big earthquake in our area. For disaster purposes it maybe better to have a separate backup generator that is not connected to the solar power system but only used when the power goes out for a long period of time. What do you think? Are batteries worth the...

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what makes solar photovoltaics so unique?

What does coal and nuclear have in common? These types of electrical generation plants boil water to create steam, which turns a turbine and generates electricity. Hydroelectric and Wind Power is similar to coal and nuclear because it generates energy by turning a turbine to generate electricity. Although since hydroelectric and wind power are renewable and clean, they are a better source of electricity for the future to reduce carbon footprints and to generate electricity safely via domestic resources. What makes solar photovoltaic so different is there are no moving parts, with photovoltaics you don’t have to turn a turbine to generate electricity. The special materials that solar panels are composed of causes the “photovoltaic reaction” when light hits a solar cell, electronics are excited and the byproduct is electric voltage and current that is transported through wire to an electrical circuit. get it? No moving parts means, highly reliable equipment that will last for a very long time. Most solar panels come with warranties that covered for at least 25 to 30 years. There are solar photovoltaic panels still in operation since the 1970s. So why do you think so many people think solar power is...

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Haunted by high energy costs?

I was on Google this morning and noticed right on their homepage, there was an interesting question asked to the millions of Google’s visitors, Haunted by high energy costs? Here are some easy ways to save. I just had to click through because I was very interested in what Google is doing to help others save energy. Google has created a “Halloween” themed energy savings calculator to help people visualize how much money they are wasting and pounds of CO2 are released being inefficient. I suppose this is a timely and fun way for people to start thinking about energy efficiency. There are many solar power consumers who I speak to that want to go solar but they are energy hogs, waste tremendous amounts of energy and the complain that solar panels are worthless technology because a system to eliminate their usage costs too much. It’s always more cost effective to reduce your bills by becoming more energy efficient then it is to produce energy. The best strategy is to reduce your usage then produce your own clean energy through solar panels or wind turbines. Go ahead, try out the Google Energy Auditor, don’t let high Energy prices spook you! You’ll be amazed to find out how much you can save every year. Let us know how it...

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Three Flavors of Photovoltaic Solar Panels

As we explained in our previous post titled, Solar Arrays Explained a group of solar cells make up a solar panel. Not all solar cells are created equal, in fact there are three major flavors of solar cells that most solar panels that we see on homes and businesses are made from. Solar cells come in the following three flavors, as you can tell from the pictures each solar panel has a unique look: Single-crystal (Monocrystalline) Monocrystalline solar panels produce the most electric power per square meter and are mounted in a rigid frame. Multicrystalline (Polycrystalline) These solar panels are made up of solar cells that are cut from multiple crystals grown together in an ingot. These solar cells are built very strong structurally although are slightly less efficient then Monocrystalline solar cells. Amorphous Silicon (Thin Film) Thin Film solar panels are made through a deposition process or printing photovoltaic material on glass, metal or plastic substrate. Solar Roofing Shingles are made up of Amorphous silicon because the ability to print solar cells right onto the shingles. They are significantly less efficient than Monocrystalline or Polycrystalline solar cells therefore to generate the same power you would need more than double the surface area. Although they cost much less than traditional solar panels. Depending on the substrate the thin film solar cells are printed on they can be very robust and...

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Top 7 Myths of Solar Electricity

The US Department of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy released an interesting article on the common myths of solar electricity (photovoltaics). Solar Power has been around for decades, although people still believe its an inferior technology which is not even close to true. The myths most consumers have are mind are the following: Myth #1 – Solar Electricity cannot serve the needs of the US or the world. Myth #2 – Today, Solar Electricity can do everything for everyone. Myth #3 – Solar Energy cannot offset greenhouse gases Myth #4 – Manufacturing Solar Panels creates pollution Myth #5 – Solar Electricity is merely a hobby and only appealing to small niche markets. Myth #6 – A solar power system is just too expensive, you can’t get much energy out of a system. Myth #7 – Solar Panels and system equipment is as good as it can get, there is no need for additional research and development. Why do you think people have these myths in mind when they think about solar...

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