Types of Solar Electric Systems

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A solar electric system is typically made up of solar panels, an inverter, a battery, a charge controller, wiring, and support structure. The three most common types of solar electric systems are grid-connected, grid-connected with battery backup, and off-grid or stand-alone. Each has distinct applications and components.

Grid-Connected -

This is the most widely applied in Hawaii. The solar panels are connected to your local utility electrical grid to complement your normal power supply from your utility company. Grid-connected systems consist of:

  • Solar panels mounted on the roof
  • An AC converter to convert electricity produced by the system from direct current (DC) energy into alternating current (AC) energy.
  • A junction box that extends from the solar panel wiring to the AC disconnect and then the breaker panel on the home.
  • A power meter that displays how much power the home  produces and used, the meter is owned by the local utility company.

Grid-Connected with Battery Backup -

Very similar to the grid connected system, this system adds a 'battery bank' to collect the power generated from the solar panels. Power stored in the batteries can be used during power outages. The battery bank collects power produced by the solar panels, sends it to the breaker box, and then into the house power system. The components of this type system consist of:

  • Solar panels mounted on the roof
  • An AC converter to convert electricity produced by the system from direct current (DC) energy into alternating current (AC) energy.
  • A battery bank for power storage
  • A charge controller to prevent overcharging the batteries
  • A junction box that extends from the solar panel wiring to the AC disconnect and then the breaker panel on the home.
  • A power meter that displays how much power the home  produces and used, the meter is owned by the local utility company.

Off-Grid or Stand-alone -

These systems are not tied to any utility power lines and are most common in remote areas where connecting to the utility grid is more expensive then purchasing an off-grid system. In off-grid systems the solar electric represents the homes main source of power. Batteries store unused energy for use at night. Generators, small wind systems, and other backup fuel sources are sometimes used as backup power when the solar power stored in the batteries is not enough to meet household needs. The components of this type system consist of:

  • Solar panels mounted on the roof
  • An AC converter to convert electricity produced by the system from direct current (DC) energy into alternating current (AC) energy.
  • A rectifier, sometimes used to change AC to DC and back again to get the most use out of a system.
  • A battery bank for power storage

 

 

Testimonials and Awards

Large Scale Commercial PV Systems Installations


References and examples of large commercial installations:   Close Construction Warehouse, Fall 2010 94-405 Maikoiko St. Waipahu, HI 96797 #678-9493, Fax 678-0723, Jim Close...

To Harness the Sun, Poncho's the ONE!


Poncho's Solar Services has very knowledgeable and customer-service oriented staff. ...

Are we happy with our new solar system?


Are we happy with our new solar system? ...

Awards from Hawaiian Electric


Ponchos Solar Services has been awarded the top solar installation business for the year 2008, and 2009. ...

Poncho's has A+ Rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) of Hawaii


The Better Business Bureau of Hawaii has given Ponchos Solar Services the highest or A+ rating. ...