You might be wondering, “Why can’t I just put solar panels on my roof and be done with it??”
If only it were that easy!
The good news is, working with a reputable company like Array of Solar takes all of the guess work out of how to put your solar system together. But… in case you’re curious about all of the (un)moving parts, let’s review. (I’m not going to go into extreme detail about each part, but rather an overview. If you would like to get more in-depth on your research, Energy Sage is a great resource. You can also Google the name of each component to find details.)
Your grid-tied solar system is made up of the following components:
- Solar panels
- Mounting Racks
- Optimizer (if needed)
- Micro-inverter (if needed)
- DC Disconnect
- Breaker Panel/Circuit Breaker
- Net Meter
If you are on an off-grid system, your components will include:
- Charge Controller
- Generator (if you choose)
Let’s go through these one at a time.
Solar panels are the most recognizable part of the system. The solar panels, also known as modules, are installed either on the roof or in what we refer to as a ground-mount system separate from the home or other structure. The panels convert sunlight into energy that can be used in the home. Solar panels are rated in watts, and the wattage assigned is the maximum produced by the panel under ideal conditions. So for example, a 300W (watt) panel will produce a maximum of 300W per hour if the sun, weather, panel placement, etc are ideal. Wattage produced changes as the sun moves across the sky and if there is any cloud cover.
Solar panels are mounted into a string of multiple panels called arrays. They are mounted on racking that is specifically designed for solar. Most arrays are mounted onto rooftop racking and some are free standing or ground mounted. Most arrays are fixed or stationary, but some can be on a racking system that tracks the sun, which means it moves at an angle that follows the sun as it moves through the sky. Stationary racking is best for residential and commercial systems, where a tracking system might be used for large scale solar farms or utility size applications.
Optimizer (if needed)
Micro-inverter (if needed)
The DC disconnect is used to disconnect the system from the home for maintenance or in the event of an emergency.
Breaker Panel/Circuit Breaker