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    COUNCIL BLUFFS IOWA ON-GRID SOLAR 

    PANEL SYSTEM COMPONENTS

    1

    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.

    2

    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.

     

     

     

     

    3

    Switchboard

    • In an on-grid 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, being on the utility grid does allow you to receive electricity to meet your electricity requirements.  You will not be without power in an on-grid system unless the grid is down in your area.

    • Purchasing a generator for your home would be the only way to maintain power in the event of the grid losing power as for electrical safety reasons on-grid solar power does not function when the grid is down.

    4

    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

     

    Watch the video below to get a great visual understanding of the power generation and usage in an on-grid solar panel system

     
  • COUNCIL BLUFFS IOWA ON-GRID SOLAR

    PANEL SYSTEM PROS AND CONS

    PROS

    • Most affordable solar panel system to install

    • Does not require batteries as the grid supplies backup electrical power

    • Ability to sell excess power back to the utility provider, which reduces monthly energy bills and can lead to a net energy credit

    • Quickest payback/return on investment as there are fewer up-front and ongoing costs...typically 3-9 years

    • Easier and less expensive to maintain as it requires less equipment and the fewest points of mechanical and electrical failure

    CONS

    • No power at all during utility grid outages as the solar panel system does not act like a generator to store/create extra power.

    • Subject to increasing electrical rates when needing to use the grid to backup solar generated power