The Different Types of Solar Power Systems

The first thing that comes to your mind when you think of solar is how you will be independent of the grid (like, if in Kenya, KPLC), and increase savings, I mean, the sun is free, right? Continue reading to learn more about the different solar power system.

Solar Power Systems
Illustration of an house with solar panels on the roof. Image by upklyak on Freepik

As much as all the benefits of going solar are attainable – read, Advantages and Disadvantages of Going Solar; you need to understand that there are different solar power systems and that your load consumption and when you consume power determine which solar system you’ll need to install. See the previous blog post on Six important things to consider before going Solar.

Generally, there are three main types of solar power systems. Namely:

  • Grid-tie (Captive) Solar.¬
  • Hybrid Solar¬
  • Off-grid Solar

 

1. Grid-tie (Captive) Solar.

This type of Solar Power System is one that is connected to the grid (if in Kenya, KPLC) and works without any battery power backup equipment. They are commonly installed in manufacturing/production plants and organizations with guaranteed power supply. This type of system will not work if the grid isn’t reliable.

Grid-tie (Captive) Solar.
Figure 1: Grid-tie solar system

Grid Tie system suit organizations that have a high daytime power load. The major components of a Grid-tie Solar system include:

  • Solar Panels¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬
  • Inverter.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬
  • Integration with the grid.

So how does it work? Solar power generates power in DC which is then fed to the inverter, which in turn converts it into AC. DC stands for ‘Direct Current’, which means the steady voltage and current. AC stands for ‘Alternating Current,’ meaning voltage and current changes polarity over time.¬

Where were we? Yeah, the converted AC is then fed into your distribution board by the inverter. The AC from your grid line is also fed into your distribution board, but it‚Äôs regulated by the solar inverter as it mainly gives priority to solar energy. To help you save money. Since you know, you will be consuming less from the grid.¬†¬

The main advantage of installing Grid-tie solar is that it cuts costs. A good sizeable system can save up to 30% with a payback period of 5 years.

2. Hybrid Solar

This type of solar power system has battery power backup equipment. Its components are:

  • Solar Panels.
  • Charge controller.
  • Batteries.
  • Inverters

It is mainly installed for residential homes since they consume most of their power at night.¬

The DC-generated power charges the DC batteries during the day. The charged batteries store this energy, and the inverter draws out that stored energy, converts it into AC, and feeds it to your loads.¬

Hybrid Solar
Figure 2: Hybrid solar system

Like, Grid-tie, the solar inverter gives priority to solar energy so that you can save money.¬

Hybrid is reliable as you won’t be on the same bandwagon as everyone else when KPLC announces countrywide blackouts because your battery bank will have stored energy.¬

3. Off-grid Solar

Off-grid solar does not integrate with the grid. It integrates with either the diesel generator or battery-power backup equipment. It is suitable for locations that do not have access to the grid, i.e., very remote areas. We do not recommend off-grid plants unless you’re running very small loads. In other words, you consume very little power.

Off-grid Solar

Its components are;¬

  • Solar Panels.¬
  • Charge controller.¬†¬
  • Batteries.
  • Inverters.¬

It works more or less like Hybrid but with no integration with the grid.¬

Conclusion: Which solar power systems are you interested in?

There are three types of solar power systems: Grid-tie, Hybrid, and Off-grid. Whichever route you take, depending on your needs, the system will no doubt serve you well for 25 years!

Would you like a FREE assessment of your solar needs? Contact us at info@plexus-energy.co.ke and sales2@plexus-energy.co.ke

 

Grace Wachira,

Technical Sales Engineer

Plexus Energy Ltd.

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