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TYPES OF SOLAR PV SYSTEM

Solar Photovoltaic markets can be classified based on the end-use application of the technology.

There are 2 types of systems to reduce dependence on utility-supplied electricity: GRID-TIE or  ON-GRID (sometime refer as NET-METERING) that works in conjunction with your utility power, and OFF-GRID or STANDALONE  for standalone power.

The most common PV projects are off-grid applications. Water pumping also represents an important application of PV, particularly in developing countries. The largest long-term market potential for PV is with on-grid applications.

 

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On-Grid applications

In grid-connected applications, also called “On-grid” or “Net-Metering” applications, the PV system feeds electrical energy directly into the electric utility grid (this includes central-grids and isolatedgrids).

 

A basic grid-tie system, as shown in Figure 1, consists of solar cells and a Xantrex grid-tie inverter. Solar cells take the Sun's energy and turn it into DC electricity. The Xantrex inverter turns the DC electricity generated by the solar cells into utility grade AC power for use in your home or business.

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To enjoy the benefits of green power production and protect from blackouts, we should choose a Xantrex grid-tie system with batteries and a generator, as shown in Figure 2. When utility power fails, the system will automatically provide power to run your home security system, refrigerator, lights, computer and other vital appliances.

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A grid-tie system is an effective way to reduce the dependence on utility power, lower the electric bills, increase green energy production and improve the environment. 

The benefits of grid-connected PV power generation are generally evaluated based on its potential to reduce costs for energy production and generator capacity, as well as its environmental benefits.

 

PV manufacturers are also developing PV modules which can be incorporated into buildings as standard building components such as roofing tiles and curtain walls. This helps reduce the relative cost of the PV power system by the cost of the conventional building materials, and allows the utility and/or building owner to capture distributed generation benefits. The use of PV in the built environment is expanding with demonstration projects in industrialised countries.

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Off-grid (Standalone) applications

A basic off-grid system consists of a renewable energy source (solar panel), which generates DC power, a battery bank that stores the DC power, and an inverter (if AC power is required).
Standalone DC Solar System

 
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Standalone AC Solar System

PV modules are integrated into systems designed for specific applications. The components added to the module constitute the “balance of system” or BOS. Balance of system components can be classified into four categories:

    Inverter converts the direct current (DC) electricity produced by the PV modules or the battery into alternating current (AC) electricity. AC is required by many appliances and motors; it is also the type of power used by utility grids and therefore on-grid systems always require the use of an inverter.

    Batteries are used to store solar-produced electricity for nighttime or emergency backup power. Batteries may be required in locations that have limited access to power lines, as in some remote or rural areas.

    Controllers - manage the energy storage to the battery and deliver power to the load; and

    Structure - required to mount or install the PV modules and other components.

    Wiring connects the various components of a solar electric system. In some cases, the system is also interconnected to the utility power grid. If the system produces more power than is required for the house, the utility may offer the home-owner credit for the excess power produced through a program called "net metering" or "net billing." Your state energy office or local utility can provide more information.

     

Our inverter is the intelligent center of a renewable energy system, seamlessly converting DC power to clean and reliable AC electricity for your needs.

Currently, PV is most competitive in isolated sites, away from the electric grid and requiring relatively small amounts of power, typically less than 10 kWp. In these off-grid applications, PV is frequently used in the charging of batteries, thus storing the electrical energy produced by the modules and providing the user with electrical energy on demand.
 
The key competitive arena for PV in remote off-grid power applications is against electric grid extension; primary (disposable) batteries; or diesel, gasoline and thermoelectric generators. This system competes particularly well against grid extension for small loads, far from the utility grid. Compared to fossil fuel generators and primary batteries, the key advantage of PV is the reduction in operation, maintenance and replacement costs; these often result in lower life-cycle costs for PV systems.

The off-grid system pictured here is a solar electric hybrid system that offers additional automatic features to meet some of the load requirements and provide higher reliability. It consists of solar panels, a battery bank, our top-of-the-line Xantrex Inverter/Charger, a charge controller that manages battery charging, and a generator.

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When the sun is up, the solar panels generate power to charge batteries and provide electricity. At night, the Xantrex inverter/charger automatically runs your electrical equipment from your battery bank. The generator provides additional back-up battery charging capability for extended periods of cloudy weather. The Xantrex inverter/charger can automatically start the generator and initiate a recharge cycle when the battery bank is depleted, or a load is too large for the batteries to support independently. You can even have a connection to the grid should you want to use utility power.
Xantrex manufactures a complete range of power products to suit various budgets and electricity requirements. From complete power systems that come ready to install from our factory, to components that can be integrated into a system by one of our expert dealers, Xantrex has a system to meet your needs.

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