Over the past five years, the cost of installing a solar system in South Africa has reduced. Solar panel energy used during the day, and soon with batteries supplying electricity at night can generate significant savings by reducing your electricity bill. A Solar panel System is sometimes referred to as an Alternative Energy System. You will need one or more Solar Panels, a Charger Controller, a Power Inverter, and of course, Batteries.
The first component needed is one or more solar panels. Solar Panels supply the electricity and charge the batteries. A very small system could get away with a couple 275 watt panels but figure at least 4 to 12 for a small to medium solar system.
A solar Charge Controller is needed to prevent overcharging of the batteries. Proper charging will prevent damage and increase the life and performance of the solar batteries.
The solar power inverters are the heart of the system. It makes 230 volts AC from the DC stored in the batteries. It can also charge the batteries if connected to a generator or the AC line.
Storage Batteries or solar batteries. They store the electrical power in the form of a chemical reaction. Without storage you would only have power when the sun was shining or the generator was running
The 3 basic types of Solar Panels
Monocrystalline solar panels : The most efficient and expensive solar panels are made with Monocrystalline cells. These solar cells use very pure silicon and involve a complicated crystal growth process. Long silicon rods are produced which are cut into slices of .2 to .4 mm thick discs or wafers which are then processed into individual cells that are wired together in the solar panel.
Polycrystalline solar panels : Often called Multi-crystalline, solar panels made with Polycrystalline cells are a little less expensive & slightly less efficient than Monocrystalline cells because the cells are not grown in single crystals but in a large block of many crystals. This is what gives them that striking shattered glass appearance. Like Monocrystalline cells, they are also then sliced into wafers to produce the individual cells that make up the solar panel.
Amorphous solar panels : These are not really crystals, but a thin layer of silicon deposited on a base material such as metal or glass to create the solar panel. These Amorphous solar panels are much cheaper, but their energy efficiency is also much less so more square footage is required to produce the same amount of power as the Monocrystalline or Polycrystalline type of solar panel. Amorphous solar panels can even be made into long sheets of roofing material to cover large areas of a south facing roof surface.