Residential solar energy systems can provide warm water, warm air and electricity for your home. Once installed solar energy systems provide service practically maintenance free for many many years. And then there is the added pleasure of slowing and in some cases stopping the ever increasing rise of home energy bills!

So for those of you who are thinking about solar energy or maybe even have made up your minds to have a residential solar energy system installed, I will detail an entire photovoltaic, and hot water system so you will become knowledgeable on how they work and what they are made of.

Okay now that we have got that out of the way let's start with a Photovoltaic system. Solar photovoltaic systems for the home consist of 6 parts-a battery, a charge controller, an inverter, solar panels, a support structure, and wiring. I will describe each one:

  • Battery - this is our storage device for storing excess electricity for use during the night. If your home is connected to the electrical grid (power from the local electric company) you won't need any batteries, because your home would switch over to grid power when the sun set
  • Charge controller - a charge controller is very much like a voltage regulator on your car. It keeps the battery from overcharging, which can damage batteries.
  • Inverter - an inverter changes the direct current (DC) electricity that comes from the solar panels to alternating current (AC) electricity which is the type we use in our homes.
  • Solar Panels - solar panels or photovoltaic panels collect the solar energy. They are made up of many solar cells.
  • Wiring - Yes all these photovoltaic panel parts are connected together with wiring. The wiring will allow the electricity made by the solar panel to flow to the charge controller to the battery, through the inverter and finally to your home.
  • Support Structure - This is what holds up the solar panel and connects it to the roof or ground. It also holds the solar panel at the correct angle to capture the most sunlight for the greatest amount of electricity.

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