Switching to clean energy for domestic supply is an increasingly popular option. Its benefits are many, ranging from stopping the contribution to the environmental impact derived from polluting sources to reducing electricity bills.
However, taking the plunge and starting to take advantage of the energy that comes from the sun to light a house and power the various equipment goes beyond acquiring the panels and installing them on the roof.
Do you know how you will use the system, will you connect it to the network or will you opt for an off-grid installation? Solving these questions is key to knowing what components your installation needs.
Components Self-consumption photovoltaic kit.
As mentioned, a photovoltaic installation for the home will require a lot more equipment than solar panels. Generally, the following components will be needed, although the list may suffer variations depending on the use you want to give to the solar kit.
- Solar panels: Indispensable to any installation, no matter how small, the panels will capture solar energy which, to power the equipment of the house, will have to be converted into alternating current. Choosing the right type of panel (here you can see the difference between monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels) and the size of the installation will be fundamental aspects. The final price of the solar kit and the amount of energy you will get will depend on the choice. If you are below the average consumption of your home, you will not be able to cover your needs. Therefore, the calculation of the size of the solar home installation is crucial.
- Investor: For the energy absorbed by the panels to be used efficiently, it must pass from direct current to alternating current. And this is precisely the function of the inverters which, in addition, depending on the installation, can send the energy to the network or to the battery bank for domestic storage.
- Household batteries: If you want to install a system to take advantage of the energy captured from the sun at night, domestic batteries will be essential. Although batteries for storing energy significantly increase the cost of the kit (for example, a Tesla Powerwall would cost 6,880 euros without installation), they will be a crucial element for off-grid solar systems.
- Battery charge monitoring system: This team is the one that ensures the proper maintenance of the battery. Thus, with it, the load is managed in such a way that there is no excess which could end up damaging the storage system.
In addition to the above, solar panel anchoring mechanisms will also be required, which will vary depending on whether the roof is sloped or straight, as well as wiring and connectors. When, for example, we seek to take advantage of solar energy to heat the house and provide domestic hot water, the components of the kit will change. In this case, we would be faced with a solar thermal installation in which, from the outset, the photovoltaic panels would be replaced by solar collectors.
Type of domestic solar installation.
Not all the components in the previous list have to be part of the solar installation. This is so because the possibilities are as plentiful as the juice the homeowner wants to get from solar power.
Thus, for example, if one seeks to supply absolutely all the equipment of a dwelling, all the elements of the list will generally be necessary.
At the other extreme, for example, would be a direct current-operated water pumping installation, which could only be operated with the solar panel.
- Solar kit for a complete home installation: This will be the one you will need if you want to make the most of the sun’s energy. In other words, you are looking to light your house with it, but also to connect all the equipment, etc. ? Well for that it will be essential to have the elements indicated with a point. The battery is optional unless it is intended to provide an installation without connection to the electrical network. In systems with access to the network (here you can see the differences between them) it would be possible to take advantage of solar energy only with the panels and an inverter, although they would not cover all the needs and it would be necessary to continue to go to the power grid.
- Solar kit to light a house: In this case, the battery would be a necessary element since one of its main functions is precisely to provide energy for night lighting, at which time the sun does not contribute to the system. Along with the bank for home storage, the charge controller and solar panels would also come. To maximize the efficiency of the system, it would be advisable to opt for LED lighting.
- Solar kit for specific equipment: Domestic cooling systems account for a good portion of a home’s electrical consumption. For this reason, it would also be possible to equip yourself with a solar system to power this equipment. In this case, it is essential to opt for an installation connected to the network, which has solar panels and an inverter.
- If the aim is to harness solar energy for irrigation, the system would be very similar, although if the irrigation needs are high, it is likely that a battery will also be required.
- Solar kit for pumping water: In this case, the components will be marked by the pump itself. If it runs on DC, you will only need the panel. On the contrary, if you do it with alternating current, you will have to add an inverter to guarantee the operation of the system.
Which domestic solar installation to choose?
Unfortunately, there is no single answer to this question. As we have seen, everything will depend on the part you want to get out of solar energy.
The available budget will obviously play its part in this decision, as will the intention of the owner.
If what you want is to completely disconnect from the electricity grid and be 100% autonomous, you will have to bet on a complete off-grid solar home system.