A solar power system is a system that is used to transform solar radiation directly into electricity. Solar power systems, also known as a photovoltaic (PV) systems or solar electric systems, consist of solar cells which are interconnected to form solar modules or solar panels and solar arrays.
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The size and configuration of a system totally depend on its intended task. Modules and arrays can be used to operate motors, charging batteries and to power any number of electrical loads. With the appropriate power conversion equipment, solar power systems can produce alternating current (AC) that is compatible with any conventional appliances, and can operate in parallel with, and interconnected to, the utility grid.
The two main types of solar power systems are stand-alone systems and grid-connected or utility-interactive systems: Stand alone systems are designed to operate independent of the electric utility grid, and are generally designed and sized to supply certain DC and/or AC electrical loads. They may be powered by a solar array only, or may use wind, an engine-generator, or utility power as an auxiliary power source that is what called a solar-hybrid system. Since there is no electrical energy storage or batteries in direct-coupled systems, the load only operates during sunlight hours, making these designs suitable for common applications such as ventilation fans, water pumps, and small circulation pumps for solar thermal water heating systems.
On the other hand, Grid connected solar power systems are designed to operate in parallel with, and interconnected, with the electric utility grid. The primary component in grid-connected systems is the inverter, or power conditioning unit (PCU), this PCU converts the DC power produced by the solar array into AC power consistent with the voltage and power quality requirements of the utility grid, and automatically stops supplying power to the grid when the utility grid is not energized. A bi-directional interface is made between the solar power system AC output circuits and the electric utility network, typically at an on-site distribution panel or service entrance that allows the AC power produced by the solar power system to either supply on-site electrical loads, or to back-feed the grid when the solar power systems output is greater than the on-site load demand. At night when the electrical loads are greater than the solar power system output, the balance of power required by the loads is received from the electric utility. This safety feature is required in all grid-connected systems, which ensures that the system will not continue to operate and feed back into the utility grid when the grid is down for service or repair.
One of the main advantages of solar power for your home is the lack of pollution given off by solar panels that generates electricity. The only pollution you could associate with a solar power cell would be the production and transportation of the cell until it reaches your home, then maybe the use of electricity to power the tools needed while your panel is installed and maintained.