Off-grid Solar System
The simplified block diagram above shows a simple off-grid (stand-alone) solar electric system. Whilst the detail will vary, this design forms the basis of most stand-alone systems. It is typical of the installations you will find in recreational vehicles, caravans, boats, and buildings that do not have a conventional power supply.
This design provides both low-voltage DC power for running smaller electrical devices and appliances such as laptop computers and lighting. It also provides a higher-voltage AC supply for running larger devices such as larger televisions and kitchen appliances.
In this diagram, the arrows show the flow of current. The solar panels provide the energy, which is fed into the solar controller. The solar controller charges the batteries. The controller also supplies power to the low-voltage devices, using either the solar panels or the batteries as the source of this power. The AC inverter takes its power directly from the battery and provides the high-voltage AC power supply.
1. There are various components that make up a solar electric system.
2. Multiple solar panels can be joined together to create a more powerful solar array.
3. In a stand-alone system, the electricity is stored in batteries to provide an energy store and provide a more constant power source. A controller manages the batteries, ensuring the batteries do not get overcharged by the solar array and are not over-discharged by the devices taking current from them.
4. An inverter takes the DC current from the solar energy system and converts it into a high-voltage AC current that is suitable for running devices that require grid power.
5. Generally, it is more efficient to use the electricity as a DC supply than an AC supply.