Solar Panels

    • When sunlight strikes the silicon solar panels/photovoltaic cells, photons strike silicon electrons in the top portion of the cell and break them free.

    • This process known as the photovoltaic effect, creates direct current (DC) electricity that flows to the inverter in your Council Bluffs solar panel system.  

    • Each solar cell creates about 5 watts/hour of sunlight, and there are between 60-72 solar cells per solar panel.

    • Each solar panel can produce between 270-400 watts/hour of sunlight.


    Charge Controller

    • The charge controller is located between the solar panels and the battery pack in your solar system, and it protects the battery and promotes its energy storage function.

    • First, the charge controller limits the amount and rate of charge that the solar battery receives during the day to prevent overcharging. It also stops the batteries from draining energy back to the solar panels at night.

    • Second, the charge controller has a low voltage disconnect which detects when the battery is near depletion, and the controller cuts off power to your appliances.  Once the battery recharges, the charge controller turn the appliances back on. This feature prevents damage to your batteries caused by over-drainage.


    Solar Batteries

    • The solar battery is a key element to an off grid system because it is the only way to store excess electrical energy to power your home or business

    • Lead acid batteries have been the standard for solar power energy storage for decades now.  They are relatively inexpensive and reliable, but aren't massively efficient in in regards to how much electricity a single battery can store and release. To store a lot of power, you need a lot of batteries. 

    • Lead-acid batteries can only discharge 40% of their capacity or you risk damaging their ability to recharge in the future.

    •  Lead-acid batteries are great for off-grid solar system energy storage, but if you’re looking for high performance, you might want to consider a different type of battery.

    • Lithium-ion batteries are compact and powerful,  and are utilized in smart cars and many advanced solar panel systems. 

    • Besides being compact and powerful, lithium-ion batteries are often twice as expensive than lead-acid batteries .

    • The higher price of lithium-ion batteries is balanced by a longer battery life as well as their ability to more fully discharge stored energy as compared to lead acid batteries. 


    Hybrid Inverter

    • Solar panels generate direct current (DC) electricity which must be converted to alternating current (AC) electricity for use in homes and businesses. There are two types of inverters.

    • One is a "string inverter" system in which the solar panels are linked together in series, and the DC electricity flows from the solar panels to the separate inverter which converts the DC power to alternating current (AC) that is usable for your household or business electrical fixtures and appliances.

    • The other type of inverter is a "microinverter system" in which each panel has its own micro-inverter attached to the rear side of the panel. The panel still produces direct current (DC), but is converted directly into alternating current (AC) on the roof and is fed straight to the electrical switchboard.

    • In a hybrid solar panel system, home and business owners must purchase a hybrid inverter that allows movement of energy both to a battery as well as to the home or business.  It is customizable to move energy at certain times or when necessary to facilitate continuous energy supply to the home or business.



    • In a hybrid solar panel system, AC electricity from the solar inverter flows directly to the switchboard where it is drawn into the various circuits and appliances in your home and business to provide clean electrical energy, and the excess energy gets sent back to the utility grid.

    • This is known as "net metering" and is the process by which excess electricity not utilized by your home or business  is sent back to the electrical grid through an energy meter (causes it to flow backwards) and you get a net credit on your electrical bill.

    • If certain conditions are not favorable for your solar panels to produce ample electricity to meet your electricity requirements, and the stored battery power is not sufficient to supply energy through the night, being on the utility grid does allow you to receive electricity to meet your electricity requirements.  You will not be without power in an hybrid solar system unless the grid is down in your area and the battery power is not sufficient.

    • For homes and businesses utilizing hybrid solar systems, they usually have excess solar power during the day, which charges the battery.  They use the battery power in the evening and over night, and if it is insufficient to meet their electrical needs, they draw from the utility grid overnight when power usage is usually lowest.


    Utility Meter

    • Excess solar energy runs through the utility meter, which calculates how much power you are either net metering back to the grid or purchasing to supplement your solar power electrical output when the solar panels have not produced enough stored power in the solar batteries.


    Watch the video below to get a great visual understanding of the power generation and usage in a hybrid solar panel system







    • Lower cost as compared to a completely off-grid solar panel system as it does not require as much battery storage

    • Allows for continuous power in almost all circumstances (other than long-term utility grid outage)



    • More expensive than on-grid solar panel system due to the solar battery purchase

    • Requires the purchase of a hybrid inverter, which adds to the expense