How To Size Your PV Solar System?
Major PV Solar System Components
PV solar system components include different units that should be selected according to your site location, usage, and application. The most crucial components are
- Solar charge controller: Regulates the voltage and current coming from solar panels to the battery and helps maintain battery life.
- Battery bank: Battery stores the energy that gets supplied to the appliances for use.
- Inverter: It helps convert the DC output of solar panels to a clean AC for appliance use.
- Appliances connected to the system for energy consumption such as
- Auxiliary energy sources: Other renewable energy sources
What Are The Major Constraints While Building A PV Solar System?
You may face several challenges along your way to sizing your PV solar system. Before you begin, you need to consider the constraints on the project and use them as a starting point for the solar system design. Let’s look at the constraints in a more detailed manner.
- Budget constraints: Design a system within your estimated budget.
- Space constraints: Design a system that uses real estate as effectively as possible.
- Energy offset: Design a system that contributes a certain percentage of your energy usage as a backup.
Some other constraints that may become a serious challenge in the future, that you need to consider resolving right now are
- Sun exposure: If your local sun exposure can be increased somehow, please look into it before you start designing your PV system.
- Future expansion: If you plan to extend your roof or plan to make changes to your property in the near future, please consider that in your planning stage.
- Efficiency ratings: The products and appliances you use, come with an energy rating. It determines the consumption rate of the said appliances, please check with them before you go ahead.
Steps To Calculate Energy Needs
- Make a list of appliances you own or any other electronic device that requires electricity to work. The term for such devices and appliances is load. All endpoints should be identified.
- Estimate the average daily energy use in terms of the number of hours for every load.
- Take a notebook out, multiply the unit’s wattage by the total number of hours calculated in the previous step.
- If you look at your energy bill, you’ll see the electricity consumption is in kilowatt-hours. (1 kilowatt is equal to 1000 watts) Next, divide by 1000 to convert your value from watt-hours (Wh) to kilowatt-hours (kWh).
- Now, multiple your answer in kWh by 30 days to get your final electricity consumption for the month. For example, 0.32 kWh x 30 days = 9.6 kWh per month.
- To calculate energy costs, look at your energy bill to determine how much you pay per kWh. If your bill says that you pay $0.12 per kilowatt-hour, the cost can be estimated as follows: 9.6 kWh per month x $0.12 per kWh = $1.15 per month.
3 Steps To Size Your PV Solar System
Step 1 – Determine Your Power Consumption Demands
You need to complete the above steps mentioned, such as making a list of the appliances or loads that are going to be dependent on your PV system. Calculate the power consumption and costs for each item while operational.
Check the wattage on each load, which you can find on the back of every appliance including an energy rating, specifications, local appliance dealer contact information, manufacturers advice, and other sources of valuable information.
Step 2 – Optimize Your Power Demands
First, identify large loads, such as water pumps, air conditioning, washing machines, outdoor lights and try to get rid of some of them that aren’t active today. If you can find better alternatives for these loads, such as one working on propane or DC, switch it out!
DC appliances are energy-efficient machines as you avoid losing much energy while converting DC to AC. They last longer too!
Step 3 – Determine the Sun Hours Available In Your Region
Solar is all about the Sun energy, Many factors contribute to the overall sun exposure your modules receive. Check with the topography of your region, also when are you going to make use of your PV solar system the most? Summer, winter, or all-year-round?
The trick to understanding here is that your solar module’s power generation capacity is directly dependent on the angle of sun rays falling on those modules. Peak power is attained when the rays are perpendicular to the panels hitting straight to the modules.
As the rays deviate from the right angle, the energy starts reflecting rather than being absorbed. You have to team up with excellent solar system design architects and solar engineers to come up with a practical solution unique to your region that fetches maximum power at less cost.
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