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Solar Electric
This section is a brief review of solar electric systems and concepts. Solar electric is also called photovoltaic or PV.

Solar electric collectors are the moderately complex to install.

Best use: lighting, electronics, remote applications, back-up power

Secondary use: stand alone or utility intertie

Cost: moderate to high

Installation: usually roof mount, also ground mount on rack or pole

Solar electric collectors require more calculations for optimized design than solar thermal. Solar electric collectors are connected together with copper wires. Off-grid systems store electricity from the collectors in a battery cabinet. The battery storage is managed by a charge controller. Current is obtained from an inverter that changes the battery (DC) power into household (AC) power. Grid-tie systems do not have batteries to store the electricity. The inverter is connected directly to the grid. The actual grid-tie inverter is powered by the grid itself, and cannot operate without it.

Solar Electric System -

Pictured below is a polysilicon module with the wiring grid pattern embedded in the silicon layer.

Most electric collectors are about 2 feet wide and 4 feet long.

The size varies according to the amount of output in watts - from 5 to 300 watts

The diagram below shows an off-grid system.

Solar Electric Components Diagram

The solar components of an electric system include; collector, copper wiring, charge control system, batteries and an inverter.

The copper wiring is sized according to the number of collectors and distance to the charge controller.

The charge controller manages the state of charge for the batteries and prevents overcharging.

The batteries store the energy generated by the collectors.

The inverter flips the battery (DC) power to household (AC) power for with special applications, such as lighting, electronics, and small appliances.

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