small solar electric systems

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Small Solar Electric Systems

Some of the alternatives for those looking to get cleaner electricity are small solar electric systems. Small photovoltaic (PV) systems can provide the ideal solution to locations where getting connected to the grid is impossible. They can be more efficient in sunny areas such as the American southwest, although they can work well in other types of climates, too.

PV small solar electric systems are designed to harness solar power as it hits the earth. These are crystalline silicon panels that capture†sunlight and turn it into electricity, which is then stored in a battery bank. When battery charges drop below a certain level, the†solar†panels†recharge the batteries. Photovoltaic†panels†can be mounted on a rooftop or a freestanding†solar†array rack.


Energy Savers recommends that before buying a small solar electric system the buyer should be sure that the site where it will be installed has enough solar energy to meet the electricity needs of the building, both efficiently and economically. The supplier can perform an analysis or give instructions on how to do that. Itís important to consider the geographic orientation and the tilt of the solar panels as these can affect performance. Still according to Energy Savers, itís also important to accurately size the components of these small solar systems, especially when these are not connected to the grid (ďstand aloneĒ). The organization advises considering how much of the total electricity need the PV system would be expected to supply, which can be done by analyzing past electricity bills and consulting with a potential provider of small solar electric systems.

Before installing small solar electrical systems, it is necessary to obtain permits from the city or countyís building department (a building or electrical permit, or both). The PV provider often looks after this for the client, but itís important to make sure that permitting costs and responsibilities are addressed when negotiating an electricity system. Those who live in a homeowners association must also get approval from them, unless state laws say that citizens have the right to install a small solar system on the home. The fact is that the number of these types of systems is growing. Even a cold weather state like Minnesota has been registering record numbers of solar system installations (178 between January and November 2010), thanks to governmental incentives that have reduced costs per watt to $7.50.