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Types of Solar Power Systems For Private Or Commercial Use

Apr 10, 2008
The sun's energy can be used to create electricity to power homes, businesses and many remote devices and vehicles. There are quite a few systems around these days and while in many cases it is obvious which system is the best fit for your needs this is not always the case. This article will cover some of the solar power systems and discuss which one is more suited for your requirements.

If we consider an RV, for example, the ideal solar power system would be a portable system. These systems are economical, as they have a smaller number of solar panels and batteries than a larger stand-alone system. They may be moved around so that they can make the most of the sunny conditions depending on your location.

A stand alone power system is comprised of a solar panel. The size will vary depending on your energy needs. This is connected to a battery system. Again this will vary depending on your needs. You will also need an inverter that converts DC current to AC current.

Many people that are inexperienced with solar power choose a grid tie system. This has a couple of advantages over other systems. First, it takes a lot of the complexity out of setting up a solar powered electric system. And second, it has a contingency plan that protects the home or business from cloudy weather or days without sunlight. The grid tie system still has a connection to the utility grid so that electricity that is used comes from the solar panels or the grid if the solar panels cannot produce enough.

This system is attractive to solar newbies because it is painless to set up. The utility company will do all this and maintain the components of the system. There is no need for batteries which are time consuming to maintain as the electricity is stored by the utility company.

Eventually, as people become more experienced with solar power they will move towards a completely stand alone system. That is an off the grid system. They will become completely self sufficient for energy needs. Of course this requires more management by the individual and more responsibility but it is cheaper than using grid power and more environmentally friendly.

The complete off grid system will contain more inverters, probably two, so that there will be enough current to run large appliances like air conditioners and electric heaters. It also gives the solar power system more flexibility in that one can be operated while the other is being maintained.

Off grid systems are often installed in outlying or remote areas where there is no grid system to connect to. The solar power system could be the only source of electricity and would be essential to the survival of the individual property or the community in the area.

Hybrid systems are also useful in remote areas or if you are planning to go self sufficient in creating energy. A hybrid system uses two methods of energy generation to double the total amount of created. This may include a solar/wind power option if you want to go totally green. Otherwise you may go for a solar/generator system. The generator would be a portable generator powered by diesel, propane or gasoline. Provided you have a reliable supply of these fossil fuels then this hybrid system is probably more reliable than the solar/wind option.

Having as many contingencies as possible is always best because the solar power system is not always going to be useable. If there is poor weather or cloud overhead then it may not be as effective. Having numerous contingencies obviously makes it harder to set up and maintain.
About the Author
Get more details on off the grid solar power systems and information on solar hydronic heating at the solarpowerappliances website.
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