Home solar power systems are in essence small photovoltaic power plants at affordable prices. They can generate electricity in a clean and silent way. By installing a solar power system you detach yourself from the future hikes in electricity prices. I’ll give you the background on solar power generation using photovoltaic solar panels and what to consider before you decide to install a solar power system in your home.
A solar power generator is in essence an energy converter. It converts Sun radiation (a stream of photons) into DC electrical power (a stream of electrons). The solar generator main component is the solar electric panels array.
As the younger brother, the technology is still evolving to the direction of better efficiency and lower cost, in 2009 and 2010 we witnessed a dramatic price reduction.
As a rough estimate, the gross cost of buying and installing a residential photovoltaic in 2012 (in other words using Sun Light radiation) power system is $2-$4 per watt production capacity. The lion share of the system cost is in buying and installing the solar panels. A typical home will need 2,000-4,000 watts production capacity. 30% of the investment can be claimed back in federal tax credits and with states tax credits and incentives it can reach close to 50%. View my page on energy tax credits.
Solar Inverters Types
The type of inverter used for the on grid solar power generation system is not the same as the one that is used for the off grid solar power systems.(see my page on the pure sine inverter)
Off grid Residential Solar Power Systems
Off-grid solar power systems can supply electricity to homes and ranches that are far from the edge of the grid. In most cases it is highly recommended to add an off grid wind turbine to the off grid solar power plant. The wind generator complements the solar power system and resources can be shared between the two systems
Off grid solar power systems are also used in street lighting, traffic lights, remote public telephone boots and similar applications.
Solar power systems can be installed and commissioned by a professional certified solar installer. Another option is to buy the solar kit from and Do It Yourself (DYI)
The Photovoltaic Effect
Photovoltaic solar power generation is based on the photovoltaic effect
Photovoltaic is a coined word; Photo is light (photons are the elementary light particles), Volta was an Italian scientist in the early days of electricity. The word means: "converting light photons (light particles) directly into electrical current". The solar panel output is the electrical power it produces
The History of Solar Power
The history of photovoltaic effect is interesting. It started as an accidental discovery 170 years ago and evolved into a fast growing industry. It spreads more into both utility scale power plants as well as the residential solar power segment.
The Photovoltaic Cell
The photovoltaic cell is the smallest useful element that converts light to electrical power
Like is older brother, the chemical electric cell (known as a battery), it delivers direct current (DC) to its load.
The Photovoltaic Panel
A solar electric panel combines many photovoltaic cells in series and in parallel, scaling the voltage and current to fit the load
Brilliant use for small size solar electric panels are in the following areas:
click to view frequently asked questions on residential solar power systems
click to view more FAQ on residential solar electricity
More Residential Solar Power Reading
View this page for the advantages of solar over other energy sources.
What is the solar energy efficiency compared to conventional power plants?
Solar Power System Cost is obviously a consideration.
Solar power also can be used in the garden. click to view the solar powered water fountain page
What are the different types of solar energy conversion methods?
On utility scale power plants view the types of solar power page
Residential solar power and solar thermal systems are active solar power for homes
A technology that hitherto was limited to large-scale and medium-scale power plants starts to gain momentum in the smaller scale, residential solar systems niche. Magnifying optical gear is embedded in front of the solar panels, thus increasing their effective area. This reduces the number of panels and inadvertently the overall cost.
This fascinating technology is called Concentrated Solar Power Systems