How to generate your own electricity using solar panels.
Once upon a time, the idea of generating your own electricity with an exclusively solar setup was a futuristic one. Panel capacity was simply too low to provide a viable alternative to mains power, and dirty, noisy diesel generators often had to bear the excess load.
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Nowadays, however, the game has changed. Improvements in solar technology have made it possible for individual properties to achieve full self-sufficiency, while power storage hardware gives homeowners and small businesses the chance to achieve a reliable flow of power all year round.
Energy management is the real gamechanger here. With the removal of the feed-in tariff, consumers can now enjoy complete control over energy usage levels and storage capacity. Modern solar photovoltaic systems allow users to:
- Generate their own energy
- Store this energy
- Consume stored energy direct from the storage unit
- Consume energy on demand, according to their own usage requirements
Improved panel efficiency and storage capability have also enabled users to recoup a return on their investment much more quickly, with panel installations resulting in full ROI within five years — or even significantly sooner in many cases.
But how do you actually go about generating your own electricity with a solar system?
1. Acquire your inverter
It is the inverter that serves as the crucial component in your solar power setup. This is the part of your system that converts the DC power generated by the panels themselves to the 230V AC power compatible with your home appliances. The inverter also features an MPPT DC/DC battery charger that is used to power up your lithium batteries for storage.
This means that your inverter serves two critical functions, but how does it decide how much power to devote to each? It’s the integrated energy management system that fulfils this smart role, gauging the energy demand of the property and delivering appropriate levels of converted AC power and stored DC electricity.
In the rare event of a power surge that exceeds the capacity of the inverter, additional energy can be sourced from the power grid.
Among the most common inverters are the Voltacon Hybrid 5.5kW-E solar inverter (H5I5000), G98/G99 and G100 compliant, and the Solis 5kW, both of which comply with the latest standards of safety and efficiency.
These single-phase inverters are compatible with lithium batteries, and they integrate directly with your existing system to provide 48V connection to the storage units. You’ll also be able to handle ancillary functions, manage electricity flow, and monitor your system — all via a WiFi connection.
2. Select your lithium-ion batteries
Lithium-ion batteries are the ideal choice for an application like this one, as they occupy far less space and are far more lightweight than other types of batteries. They are also relatively efficient, and you will be able to consume up to 80% of the full storage capacity daily if required.
The Pylontech US2000 is the ideal choice, providing 2.4kWh in an expandable solution. Users can scale their system according to their needs, starting with one battery and expanding to as many as eight pieces as required, controlled via the integrated inverter communication system.
Users can mount up to four of these batteries using a simple metallic mounting bracket. To mount up to eight units, Voltacon provides a convenient server cabinet, with a footprint of less than 1 sq m and a height of 90 cm.
We also offer the Silent Power Lithium (SPL) battery option, with 10kWh of capacity installed in parallel in a single cabinet.
3. Set up your solar panels
The latest solar panels feature 120 half-cut cells and provide many advantages of full cell versions. ET-Solar provides a 355W monocrystalline photovoltaic panel suitable for both domestic and solar farm applications. These panels are capable of 20% cell efficiency and achieve reduced resistance loss compared with full cell solutions.
Parallel strings of 60 cells connected in series mean that the panels are less affected by partial shadow, producing more energy than standard solar panels and accelerating return on investment.
4. Choose your energy meter and solar accessories
The inverters mentioned above come complete with a digital energy meter that helps users to manage energy production. These meters also achieve smart management by sensing the energy demand within the property.
Essential isolators for safe installation and operation are also included in the package. You will be able to switch the installation on and off and isolate the solution safely when required.
5. Put aluminium mounting structures in place
Mounting rails secure your solar panels, and they are approved for all weather conditions. We use only aluminium for our mounting rails, secured with stainless steel bolts and clamping components, and we can provide kits for ground- or roof-mounting your solar panels.
Easy-triangle structures make it easy to mount panels anywhere, including on both pitched and flat roofs, tiled surfaces, or directly on the ground. We developed our aluminium profiles with 3M, the chemical-product manufacturer and vendor, crafting a design that can be easily mounted with no need for drills and screw fixtures.
Reach out to Voltacon to find out more about generating your own electricity with solar
Our team can help you on your way to achieving self-sufficiency through solar power. Reach out today to discover more.