Designing and installing a solar energy system for your home or business can seem like a daunting task, but with a little bit of planning and research, it can be a relatively straightforward process.
The first step in designing a solar energy system is to conduct an energy audit of your home or business. This will involve analyzing your energy usage patterns and determining how much energy you need to generate. This will help you determine the size of the solar energy system you will need and how many solar panels you will need to install.
Once you have a good understanding of your energy needs, you can begin to design the solar energy system. This will involve determining the best location for the solar panels, considering factors such as shading, orientation, and the angle of the sun. It's also important to consider the structural integrity of the building and the capacity of the roof or ground to support the weight of the solar panels.
After you have determined the best location for the solar panels, you can choose the type of solar panel that best suits your needs. There are two main types of solar panels: monocrystalline and polycrystalline. Monocrystalline panels are more efficient but also more expensive, while polycrystalline panels are less efficient but also less expensive.
Once you have selected the solar panels, you can begin the process of installing the system. This will involve attaching the solar panels to the roof or ground, connecting them to the inverter, and connecting the inverter to the electrical grid. It's important to work with a professional solar installation company or a licensed electrician to ensure that the installation is done correctly and safely.
After the installation is complete, it's important to schedule regular maintenance to ensure that the system is operating at peak efficiency. This will involve cleaning the solar panels, checking the connections, and monitoring the performance of the system.
Finally, while building and installing a solar energy system for your home or company may seem like a difficult endeavor, with some advance planning and research, it can actually be a rather simple procedure. It's important to conduct an energy audit, determine the best location for the solar panels, choose the type of solar panel that best suits your needs, and work with a professional solar installation company or a licensed electrician to ensure that the installation is done correctly and safely. Regular maintenance will ensure that the system is operating at peak efficiency.
Major system components
The many parts of a solar PV system should be chosen based on the system type, site location, and uses. The solar charge controller, inverter, battery bank, auxiliary energy sources, and loads make up the bulk of a solar PV system (appliances).
PV module : converts sunlight into DC electricity. Solar charge controller : regulates the voltage and current coming from the PV panels going to battery and prevents battery overcharging and prolongs the battery life. Inverter : converts DC output of PV panels or wind turbine into a clean AC current for AC appliances or fed back into grid line. Battery : stores energy for supplying to electrical appliances when there is a demand. Load : is electrical appliances that connected to solar PV system such as lights, radio, TV, computer, refrigerator, etc. Auxiliary energy sources : is diesel generator or other renewable energy sources.
Size of a solar PV system
1. Calculate the necessary power consumption
Finding out the total power and energy consumption of all loads that the solar PV system must supply is the first stage in building a solar PV system.
1.1 Total the daily Watt-hours used by all the appliances.
The total Watt-hours per day that must be given to the appliances can be calculated by adding the collective Watt-hour requirements for all appliances.
Determine how many Watt-hours per day are required from the PV modules.
The total Watt-hours per day that must be supplied by the panels are calculated by multiplying all of the appliances' Watt-hours per day by 1.3 (the amount of energy wasted in the system).
2. Size the PV modules
PV modules of various sizes will generate varying amounts of power. The entire peak watt produced must be known in order to determine the PV module's size. The size of the PV module and the site's environment affect the peak watt (Wp) output. We must consider the panel generation factor, which varies depending on the site location. The panel generation factor for Thailand is 3.43. To find the size of PV modules, use the following calculation:
2.1 Determine the required PV modules' combined peak Watt-peak rating.
Total daily Watt-hours required from the PV modules (from item 1.2) divided by 3.43 gives the total peak Wattage required by the PV panels to power the appliances.
2.2 Determine the system's PV panel count.
Divide your response from item 2.1 by the PV modules you have access to rated peak output in Watts. The required number of PV modules will be determined by multiplying any fractional part of the result by the next highest whole number.
The computation yields the bare minimum of PV panels. The system will operate more efficiently, and the battery life will increase if additional PV modules are fitted. The system may not function at all during overcast periods and battery life will be reduced if fewer PV modules are used.
3. Size of inverters
When an output of AC power is required, an inverter is utilized in the system. Never let the inverter's input rating fall below the combined wattage of the appliances. The inverter's nominal voltage must match that of your battery.
The inverter for stand-alone systems needs to be big enough to handle all the Watts you'll ever use at once. The size of the inverter should be 25–30% greater than the overall Wattage of the appliances. If the type of appliance is a motor or compressor, the inverter size should be at least three times that capacity. It must also have additional capacity to manage surge current at startup.
4. Size of battery
Deep cycle batteries are the kind that are advised for use in solar PV systems. Deep cycle batteries are created specifically to be rapidly recharged or to cycle charged and discharged repeatedly every day for years. The battery needs to be big enough to hold enough power to run the appliances at night and on overcast days. To determine the battery's size, use the following calculation:
4.1 Calculate total Watt-hours per day used by appliances. 4.2 Divide the total Watt-hours per day used by 0.85 for battery loss. 4.3 Divide the answer obtained in item 4.2 by 0.6 for depth of discharge. 4.4 Divide the answer obtained in item 4.3 by the nominal battery voltage. 4.5 Multiply the answer obtained in item 4.4 with days of autonomy (the number of days that you need the system to operate when there is no power produced by PV panels) to get the required Ampere-hour capacity of deep-cycle battery.
Battery Capacity (Ah) = Total Watt-hours per day used by appliances x Days of autonomy (0.85 x 0.6 x nominal battery voltage).
5. Size of solar charge controllers
Amperage and voltage capacity are frequently used to rate solar charge controllers. Determine which type of solar charge controller is best for your application after choosing the one that matches the voltage of your PV array and batteries. To handle the current from a PV array, confirm that the solar charge controller has sufficient capacity.
The size of a series charge controller is determined by the total PV input current given to the controller as well as by the PV panel layout (series or parallel configuration).
It is common practice to multiply the PV array's short circuit current (Isc) by 1.3 when sizing a solar charge controller.
Solar charge controller rating = Total short circuit current of PV array x 1.3