For most customers, residential or commercial, the roof is the best location for solar panel installation. It usually already has the structural specifications that the solar panels require. All that is needed is mounting hardware and appropriate flashings. If the roof is not applicable or desired, various other mounting options are available, including shade awnings or ground-mount options (i.e., standard ground-mount, ground pole, or trackers).
What Are PV Panels?
Photovoltaic, or PV for short, is a technology that converts light directly into electricity. PV is a developing field and utilizes several different technologies: monocrystalline (single crystal), polycrystalline (multiple crystal), cadmium telluride, gallium arsenide, or amorphous silicon deposited as a thin film. The major advantage of monocrystalline cells is their higher efficiency and therefore smaller space requirements. Thin film can be cheaper to manufacture but is significantly less efficient, requiring more area which results in more labor, mounting hardware, and bottom-line costs.
PV solar panels are usually either roof-mounted or ground-mounted. On a rooftop, rows of panels (called arrays) are mounted to face south or southwest at or near a 30 degree angle for maximum efficiency. The PV solar panels are fastened onto aluminum racks which are then secured to the roof framing, providing sufficient support for the array. This same array layout can also be mounted on the ground if the property has large, usable ground space.
Pole mounts are also a popular system, especially in more rural areas. The panels are generally mounted on the top of the pole but can also be mounted onto the side. Top-pole mounts require a steel pole about 12 feet in length set in concrete. These systems may include an auto-tracking feature which will automatically adjust the angle of the panels to follow the sun’s progress throughout the day.
Synergy Power’s solar power systems consist of an array of solar panels (or modules), a mounting system, and an inverter with a computerized solid-state controller. The solar panels generate DC electricity directly from sunlight. The inverter converts the DC electricity produced by the solar panels into AC electricity to be usable in the home. The computerized controller also regulates the solar power system and ensures peak performance. A standard system is designed to stop working the moment there is a power interruption. In applications that are not connected to the grid or require back-up power, batteries are also required.
The inverter is commonly installed near the main panel either indoors or outside. Since it is made with solid-state electronics and performs better in cooler conditions, the inverter should be located out of afternoon sun. Usually, the best location is near the main electric panel.
This allows you to remotely view your system’s performance through your computer or remotely on a wireless device.
If you decide you want a battery back-up system or need a stand-alone energy solution, Synergy Power can design and install a system that is right for you. Some back-up systems and all stand-alone systems require a gas generator (propane, natural gas, diesel, etc.). Battery banks vary in size depending on power loads but generally need 10-20 sq. ft. and may require venting. Learn more about add-ons here.