Solar PV (or photovoltaic) modules directly convert sunlight into electricity. These are third most popular renewable energy source, only after hydro and wind power. These modules generate power during daytime and whenever there is sunlight. Solar PV modules are used both in homes and in industrial settings. At homes, it can be used to fulfill the power reqirement.
Why Use Solar PV ?
There are many reasons why people choose to use a solar PV solution. Some popular ones are:
- Concerns towards carbon emissions
- Rising prices of fossil fuels
- Poor quality of electricity from the grid
- High electricity tariffs
- Desire to invest on own energy-producing systems
- Not wanting to waste money to the grid
- Becoming self-sufficient with electricity
- Cost of extending a power line is more expensive than a solar PV module
- Unavailability of traditional grid power supply
- Desire to use the most efficient renewable energy source
- Trim down energy consumption charges
- Involves none to very few moving parts and minimal maintenance
Grid Tied Solar PV Modules
These types of modules are linked to your power grid. Your electricity needs will be fulfilled by the generated electricity first. If there is excess, it will sent to the grid for consumption by others. You are effectively selling excess electricity as per tariffs.
A typical grid tied solar PV module includes the following components:
- PV modules
- Balance of system – PV operating system, including the inverter, mounting structures, cables, and connectors
A two-way meter will be used to calculate the amount of electricity consumed from the grid that you consumed and the amount of excess electricity generated by the consumer that was sent back to the grid. The difference will be adjusted in the next billing cycle.
The biggest benefit of using a solar PV module is long operational life with very little maintenance costs. Normally the investment will be gained back in 7-9 years. The useful life of the system is at least 20 years and can go up to 30 years, working hard every shiny day to save (and make) you money.
Off Grid Solar PV Modules
These PV modules work exactly like the Grid Tied PV module except for the fact that they are self-contained systems with no connection to the grid. Their aim is to fulfill the electricity needs of the environment they are installed in. They work with a battery backup or a diesel generator to store PV energy generated.
A typical off grid solar PV module includes the following components:
- PV modules
- Balance of system – charge controllers and batteries for electricity storage.