Which type of solar system is for you?

Photovoltaic (PV) Solar

A photovoltaic (PV) solar system is comprised of solar panels, racks for putting the panels on your roof, electrical wiring, and an inverter. From sunrise to sunset, the solar panels generate electricity (DC) which is sent to your inverter. The inverter converts the DC electricity into alternating current (AC), which is a type of electricity required for household use. The AC power is delivered directly to your home’s main board for use by you and your family.
PV systems range from small, rooftop-mounted or building-integrated systems with capacities from a few to several tens of kilowatts, to large utility-scale power stations of hundreds of megawatts. Most PV systems are grid-connected, while off-grid or stand-alone (hybrid) systems only account for a small portion of the market.
PV systems are silent and have no moving parts or environmental emissions. They are a mature technology used for mainstream electricity generation. A rooftop system recoups the invested energy for its manufacturing and installation within 0.7 to 2 years and produces about 95 percent of net clean renewable energy over a 30-year service lifetime.
Due to the popularity of PV systems the prices have rapidly declined in recent years. However, they vary by market and the size of the system.

On-Grid Solar

On-grid means your solar system is tied to your local power provider’s system. These systems must be connected to the grid to function.  This is what most homes will use because you are then covered if your system under or over-produces energy. If you are producing more energy with your solar panels or system than you are using, the excess energy is sent to your grid’s power company, allowing you to build credit that you can cash out with at the end of the year, in a process called net metering. Being on-grid means that you don’t have the added outlay in purchasing a battery back-up system to store any excess energy which can be very expensive..

These are the simplest systems and the most cost effective to install.  These systems will pay for themselves by offsetting power bills in 3-8 yrs. These systems however do not provide power during a grid outage.
They are cost effective enough to pay for themselves and put money in your pocket long term.  If you want to reduce your power bill and your carbon footprint then this type of system is a good choice.

Off-Grid Solar

Being off-grid means you are not connected in any way to your grid’s power system or utility company. This is appealing because you are 100% self-sustaining your energy use. If the power grid goes down or, if you have chosen not to be on the grid – these systems allow you to store your solar power in batteries for use.   Off-Grid systems require a lot more specialized equipment to function that is costlier and more complex to install.
A battery bank will typically need replacing in 5-15 years, depending on quality, sizing and how often you use them. There are issues that arise if your battery bank is too small or too large. Too small and it may be discharged at a low level too often – shortening its life. If it is too large, it will cost you more and it may not fully charge regularly – shortening its life. Sunshine Solar will help you choose the right sized battery bank for your needs. We also provide a maintenance programme to help you keep your batteries in good working condition for longer.
There is more initial outlay required as these systems are complex to install.
Given the additional specialized equipment required and the fact that it requires some complex installation, you can expect an off-grid system to cost around four times as much to install per watt and to require ongoing maintenance outlays.

Inverters

It is all about compatibility. A solar inverter converts the electricity from your solar panels (DC, or direct current) into power (AC, or alternating current) that can be used by the appliances in your house. Solar panels can’t create AC power by themselves; they need the helping hand of a solar inverter.
Solar inverters are around 95% efficient, so you only have about a 5% loss of power when the electricity is converted from DC to AC

Are there different types of inverters?

There are central inverters which make the conversion from DC to AC from a box in one location – usually your fuse box in the garage or hallway. There is a newer type of solar inverter, called a “Microinverter” and these work directly and independently under each solar panel. These are a little more expensive and take more time to install.
Advanced inverters, or “smart inverters,” allow for two-way communication between the inverter and the electrical utility. This can help balance supply and demand either automatically or via remote communication with utility operators. Allowing utilities to have this insight into (and possible control of) supply and demand allows them to reduce costs, ensure grid stability, and reduce the likelihood of power outages.