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A Suffern Solar Guide: Types of Solar Photovoltaic Systems


A small solar energy, or photovoltaic system, is a great way to provide your home with efficient, pollution free access to electricity. There are a few options to consider when it comes to the installation and operation of a photovoltaic – or PV – system, though, so it is important to understand just what it is you’re looking for. Design Air would like to share some basic information about photovoltaic solar systems with you. If you have any further questions or would like information, be sure to contact a Suffern solar expert such as those at Design Air for the answers and information you need to make an educated, informed decision.

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How Solar Photovoltaic Systems Work

Solar photovoltaic systems use direct and indirect sunlight to convert solar energy into electricity, making them suitable for use just about anywhere. Of course efficiency levels are dependent on how much solar energy is available to the system. PV systems can still create energy even on cloudy days, though not as much. Solar cells, consisting of semiconductor materials, absorb sunlight, and the solar energy then frees electrons from their atoms. This is called the photo electric effect, allowing free electrons to form an electrical current by traveling through a circuit.

Grid-Connected and Stand-Alone PV Systems

A stand-alone PV system is one that is totally self-contained and not connected to a utility grid. These systems are popular in remote areas, where it would be more expensive to extend a power line, or among those who are looking for a self-sufficient lifestyle. Stand-alone systems require balance-of-system components such as batteries to store energy, power conditioning equipment, a charge controller and meters.

Grid-connected systems are used to reduce reliance on traditional, utility grid supplied electricity. Benefits include the ability to supplement solar electricity when necessary, as well as the ability to sell surplus energy back to the grid. Additional balance-of-system equipment may include meters and instrumentation as well as power conditioning equipment.

What to Consider Prior to Installation

There are a number of factors to consider before committing to the installation of a solar photovoltaic system. Local codes and regulations must be followed, and make sure that you have an accurate idea about the costs of installation and operation. It is also necessary that you size your system correctly to ensure that you produce adequate electricity for your needs. Because there is so much to this process it is advisable that you speak with a Suffern solar photovoltaic expert, such as those at Design Air, before making any decisions.

If you have any further questions about these systems, their installation or operation, feel free to contact us with any questions. We’re happy to share our knowledge with you.