There are three types of solar power systems: grid-connect, grid-connect battery back-up and off-grid. It’s important to understand the benefits and drawbacks of each before deciding which system best suits your needs.
Over the last few years Australia has seen an unprecedented uptake of grid-connected solar power systems. In the past, this uptake was encouraged by state and federal government initiatives, however we are now seeing the increasing cost of electricity being sufficient encouragement to drive industry growth.
During sunlight hours a grid-connect system will generate electricity that feeds into your home just as the mains power grid does. At times, when your household’s electricity requirements are less than what your solar power system is generating, your inverter will feed the excess power seamlessly back into the mains grid. But when your household requirements exceed your solar power generation, or at night time, you will import power from the mains grid as you are currently doing. This whole process happens simply and seamlessly, with no input required from the end-user.
A grid-connected solar power system consists of three major components, all of which are as important as each other.
A group of solar panels or solar modules is referred to as an array. When sunlight hits a solar panel, Direct Current (DC) is generated. This is then inverted from DC to Alternating Current (AC). This inversion process is performed by an electrical component called an inverter.
Once your inverter has done its job of converting energy, its output is very close to being the same voltage, current and frequency as the mains power grid. The inverter synchronises with the mains grid, so switching between it and your solar power system is absolutely seamless. For those of you with a technical background, at Infinity Solar we only use full sine wave inverters to do this job.
A crucial factor in a solar power system’s overall performance, the wiring and array mounting system is often forgotten about when people are researching grid-connect systems and we’re seeing more and more solar panels being installed on non-approved mounting systems. It’s extremely important that an array is mounted correctly to not only ensure that it stays fixed to your roof in high winds, but also to guarantee that the air-flow under your panels is sufficient. Your array needs to be at the right height to ensure air-flow but also reduce the likelihood of leaf debris being caught under the array.
There are some great solar panel-mounting systems on the market today, however for every good one there are 10 bad ones. When selecting a solar company please don’t forget to research the racking system they use. We use a top of the range Australian designed and manufactured mounting system called SUNLOCK.
A grid-connect battery back-up solar power system is like having the best of both worlds. During the day your solar system feeds the power you generate back into your home while sending any excess power back on to the grid and to your batteries for recharging. If the mains power grid should fail (such as during a blackout), your inverter will immediately switch over to your batteries and provide your home or business with an uninterrupted supply of power.
To correctly design a battery back-up system we’ll need to know a few things from you, like what appliances you want to use in times of a power outage, how long you would want your batteries to last and how often you lose power. Battery back-up systems are not only for homes but are also ideal for businesses that require power 24/7. A few years ago Infinity Solar installed a battery back-up system for a company that refrigerates tens of thousands of dollars worth of vaccinations. Over the last few years their battery back-up system has saved them thousands of dollars by reliably supplying their refrigeration units with back-up power during the many power outages they have suffered.
An off-grid solar power system is ideal for locations where the main power grid is not accessible or the cost of connection is prohibitive. With the ever-increasing cost of power, we’re seeing many people choose an off-grid system in order to remain totally in control of their own power generation and the cost of that generation. An off-grid system will normally consist of a solar panel array, an inverter, a battery bank and, in some cases, a generator or wind turbine. Before installing a wind turbine we first need to log the wind speed for a number of months to ensure the location is suitable. At Infinity Solar we pride ourselves on designing each and every off-grid system specifically to the customer’s requirements. The correct sizing and design of an off-grid system is extremely important and there is no such thing as a one size fits all. For more information on off-grid systems please do not hesitate to call us on 1300 146 346.
If you have any questions about solar power, any of our systems or would like to find out about our obligation free quote, then call us on 1300 146 346 and our friendly team will be happy to help.