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Quality Solar Electric and Solar Hot Water Systems

So you are interested in learning more about solar energy generation for your home, business, or organization?

To start with, the two major types of solar energy generation systems you may consider, are solar electric and solar thermal.  Solar electric generation systems utilize photovoltaic (PV) panels, also called modules, to generate electricity directly.  Usually the direct current (DC) that is produced by the PV modules is converted to alternating current (AC) by an inverter for consumption by appliances, lighting, motors, etc.  Solar thermal (or solar hot water) systems utilize large collectors to heat a special fluid that is pumped in a closed circuit, and a heat exchanger to transfer the heat from the fluid to the building or household hot water supply, or sometimes to another loop that feeds a space heating system or some other process.

Solar PV Systems

Solar PV systems fall into several different categories depending on the needs of the customer and the electrical loads supplied.  The most common system for most customers in Ohio is the grid-interactive (or grid-tie) system, without battery backup.  Solar PV systems generally consist of PV modules, typically arranged into rows and columns (called an array), mounting framework or structure (often called racking), one or more inverters, a roof flashing system to prevent leaks (for roof-mounted systems), DC and AC wiring, grounding and bonding for safety and code compliance, AC and DC disconnect switches with overcurrent protection, and an integrated monitoring system.

Each Solar PV system must be designed carefully and precisely in order to operate properly, safely, and with the highest efficiency.  All components must be selected and configured to operate together, and the specifications of each configured component affect and are dependent on the overall design.  AviSun integrates only high-quality components into our designs, for trouble-free operation, long-life, and efficient electric generation.

Grid-Tie PV System

A grid-tie PV system is designed such that the DC power from the PV array feeds a grid-interactive inverter, which then connects to the utility grid at either the service panel or the utility meter.  This type of system generates power that is usually used local to the building or site. If the system is generating more than can be used locally, the excess power generated is sent to the grid, and the utility meter measures this reverse power flow, resulting in a credit against the owner's electric bill.  Grid-tie systems can be designed using "string-inverters", or "micro-inverters". 

In a string-inverter system, multiple modules are connected in series (a string of modules) and fed to a centralized string-inverter which then converts the total power from the string to AC.  Multiple strings (or sub-arrays) can feed different inputs on the sting inverter, or multiple inverters.

In a micro-inverter system, one small inverter is mounted to the back of each PV module, converting the power from each module to AC independently of the others. Micro-inverter designs can perform better at a site that has some potential shading of portions of the array from nearby objects.

Regardless of the inverter type chosen, basic Grid-tie PV systems generate AC power only when the utility grid is connected and operating. If there is a utility power outage, the inverters shut down.

Battery Back-Up Grid-Interactive PV System

When AC power is needed even if the utility grid is not working, then a battery back-up grid-interactive system is required.  This type of system has a special type of inverter that generates AC power from a bank of batteries in the event of a power outage.  The battery bank is charged if necessary, and once charged, the system generates AC power for local use similar to the grid-tie system. There are typically two AC outputs from this type of inverter. One output connects to the grid through the main service panel.  The other output feeds a smaller sub-panel of AC circuits with the essential appliances and electrical devices connected that need to be powered during an outage.  Battery back-up systems can be more expensive than grid-tie systems due to the special components and batteries involved.

Do you need more information on the different types of systems and how they work?

The following information should help answer at least some of your questions surrounding:

(This page is currently under construction. Thank you for your patience as the content is being updated)

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