Solar power is power generated from energy from the sun. There are different ways in which energy can be generated from the sun, but we will concentrate more on energy derived from the sun using photovoltaic PV devices or solar panels in a Solar Power System. In this article, we will name and explain the functions of each component used for converting energy from the sun to electrical energy that we can use at home or in our business places.
Advantages of a Solar Power System
The Advantages of solar power systems include:
- The energy from the sun is free
- There are zero emissions of radiation
- Solar Power systems offer silent operations without noise
- It reduces electricity bills
- The maintenance cost of a solar system is low
- solar panels can last longer depending on the maintenance level
- It reduces an epileptic power supply
Disadvantages of a Solar Power System
It is very expensive to maintain the cost of maintenance.
- The less privileged can’t afford it
- The components are expensive to acquire
Components of a Solar Power System
The main component of the solar power system includes the following:
- Solar panel
- Solar inverter
- Inverter Battery
- Solar charger controller (not required with Solar Inverter)
Let’s discuss more the components of a solar power system:
The Solar panels are the major constituents of a solar system. It converts light energy directly from the sun to direct current (DC )electric voltage.
The Solar panels are made up of arrays of photovoltaic cells (also known as solar cells), connected in series and parallel to deliver equivalent rated voltage and power.
The photovoltaic cell is the main component of a solar panel. PV cells are made from semiconductor materials, like silicon and doped with other elements, like Boron and phosphorus.
These elements depict the N-type layer and a P-type layer on the cell. The junctions between the N-type layer and P-type layer contain an electric field that stops the electrons from moving across the junction effectively, creating an open circuit.
The exposure of the photovoltaic cell to sunlight energy, which carries the photons continuously conveys the p-n junction area of the cell and is absorbed directly.
Energy derived from these absorbed photons provides electrons on the cell with enough energy to overcome the potential barrier that could be encountered in the electric field in the p-n junction. This causes the electrons to flow across the junction to power electrical appliances.
A solar panel is made up of an array of solar cells, usually enclosed in glass. Solar panels institute the power for charging your batteries and for powering your appliances.
Solar panels are very costly to acquire varying in watts when compared to a petrol generator, but use free energy emitted from the sun.
For instance, a 100-watt solar panel ranges between #20,000 Naira and 90,000 Naira in Nigeria. Solar panels have different power capacities and energy to be stored.
The beauty of Solar panels is that they can last for up to 30 years.
One or more solar panels are always required in a solar power system. That is, A two-bedroom flat, for example, could require three to 10 solar panels. For recreational purposes, you might just need one or two additional panels to be able to conserve a lot of energy during the day.
The prices of some solar panels in Nigeria are:
- 10W – 6,000 Naira to 20,000 Naira
- 20W – 9,500 Naira to 20,000 Naira
- 30W – 14,500 Naira to 30,000 Naira
- 50W – 14,900 Naira to 35,000 Naira
- 60W – 25,500 Naira to 40,000 Naira
- 80W – 16,500 Naira to 45,000 Naira
- 100W – 20,000 Naira to 80,000 Naira
- 120W – 25,000 Naira to 90,000 Naira
- 130W – 27,000 Naira to 95,000 Naira
- 150W – 29,000 NGN to 80,000 NGN
- 200W – 39,000 NGN to 95,000 NGN
- 250W – 45,000 NGN to 150,000 NGN
- 300W – 62,000 NGN to 200,000 NGN
For most practical applications for homes and offices, a power inverter is needed in a solar power system. This is to ensure that the solar panel and batteries deliver DC voltage, it becomes necessary for a device to convert the DC output of the solar panels to the batteries of AC voltage required by most home appliances.
A solar inverter can converts DC voltage to AC voltage. The numerous Inverters sold in Nigeria can convert DC voltage from 220V 50 Hz AC voltage.
In some appliances where DC voltage is required, an inverter will not be necessary.
A good quality inverter with a warranty can cost around #800,000 which will hold the capacity required for energy conservation for it purpose. It’s therefore advisable that only the people in this field should install this home appliance to get the quality satisfaction needed and to avoid unsolicited breakdown.
Deep Cycle Batteries
This is more reason for a solar power system to store energy from the sun during the day so that at night, the insufficient weather conditions attached to the energy stored during the day can be used to generate electricity at night.A solar power system battery stores energy in a chemical form.
Many batteries are connected in a bank to deliver the required energy. One to ten batteries or even more may be required for the solar power system depending on the requirement and output to be distributed.
There is a need for more batteries to generate enough power supply depending on the region/ location where the solar power system will be installed without a grid connection (no NEPA/PHCN). A good sealed maintenance-free inverter battery is to be considered the best option batteries to use for this purpose for a solar power system can cost between 55,000 Naira and 180,000 Naira depending on the capacity and type.
Below are prices of inverter batteries for solar power system:
- 12V -100ah -55,000 Naira to 90,000 Naira
- 12V – 150ah -95,000 Naira to 130,000 Naira
- 12V – 200ah -100,000 NGN to 175,000 NGN
- 2V -500 ah- 90,000 NGN to 150,000 NGN
Solar Charge Controller
This helps the inverter batteries not to overcharge since the output voltage of the solar panel varies widely during the day depending on the intensity of sunlight.
The purpose of the solar charge controller is to reduce the high temperature of energy emitted from the sun and input from the solar panels and stabilize it within safe limits to charge the battery, thereby making it a must safe for the solar power system.
Charge controllers improve the lifespan of the battery. You will require a solar charge controller if you buy a regular inverter. A good solar inverter always comes with a solar charge controller built-in.
That is to say that, when buying a solar inverter, they may be no need for a solar charge controller for your solar power system. The Price of solar charge controllers may range from as low as 5,000 Naira to up to 20,000 Naira depending on the type and model of your preferences .
Cables, Fuses, Meter
A solar power system consists of connection cables, fuses, grounding cables, and meters. cables for connecting the components together fuses for protecting against short-circuits.