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Determining Your System Type

Determining Your System Type

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What Type of System Do You Need?
 

Now that you understand your energy usage, ways to reduce it, area and solar yield available, best installation locations on your property, whether roof-top or ground-mount will be a preference, shading concerns and rules/incentives/regulations for your solar energy system – you can now begin deciding what type of system you will install.

Solar Energy Systems come in many different sizes, they also come with different objectives depending on your lifestyle and where you live.

blue-one.png Is Solar Right for You?

blue-two.png Determining Your System Type

blue-three.png Sizing Your System

blue-four.png Design Your System

Some systems are meant to be connected to utility lines, while other won’t have access at all. This is where you decide how the system will be constructed, and what parts will be utilized in the completed power producer.

Roof Top or Ground Mount

Each type of system has potential benefits and drawbacks. Let’s look at both and compare them:

Roof-top systems generally cost slightly less (as the base mounting structure is a property roof), this is opposed to a ground mount system which will need 6’ foot steel piping and concrete as its base to secure the entire system. Roof mount systems won’t take up additional area as the panels conveniently fit onto a structure already present. However, roof mount systems are entirely limited to the area and direction the roof is sized and facing. They also may have shading obstructions will lower solar yields.

Ground mount systems can be more freely installed (assuming enough land is available). They will take additional yard or property space. The system may be easier to maintain as it comes closer to contact without the need for additional harnesses or larger ladders. Ground mount systems may have alternative options for their racking and mounting, and use of specialized solar tracking devices may be utilized - so if land space is also an issue, there are ways to mitigate limited working areas.

Grid-Tie, Off-Grid or Hybrid

First you need to identify what your main reason for going is? Saving money on electric, or even getting paid by your local utility company for electricity generation? Or maybe you want to be completely independent of the utility company? Do you want to be connected, but have the ability to store excess energy for power outages?

  • Grid-Tie Systems – More cost effective and connects directly to your utility company energy lines. You must adhere to more rules/regulations and permits during planning. Most popular solar array. Great for lowering or reducing electric bill.

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*Grid tie solar

  • Off-Grid Systems – Less cost effective and requires more components including a battery storage system to work. Requires more maintenance generally. Meant for areas which have no utility company to connect to, or is unaffordable.

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*Off-grid solar

  • Hybrid w/ Battery Back-up – Middle cost effectiveness, a grid-tied system with a battery bank to secure power during downtimes, also grants certain abilities similar to an off-grid system and lends more independence to the site owner.

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*Battery back-up

Choose a system that best fits your installation site and other variables as outlined during step 1. You want to pick the system that best suits your needs.

Once you know what type of system you are looking for, you can focus on sizing your photovoltaic array, and then begin selecting components that will make up the hardware products of your solar power system.

How to Go Solar Guide
 

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