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How to Ensure that your Solar Installation is Safe

“We have this handy fusion reactor in the sky called the sun, you don't have to do anything, it just works. It shows up every day.” 

-Elon Musk 

 

Nowadays, it has become commonplace to have a solar installation for one’s homes and business. It is a great investment for people looking to save some money on their electric bills and to live a more sustainable life. 

Homeowners, distributors, and installers alike must consider one thing when it comes to solar installations. That is to ensure that it is as safe as possible. 

 

Understand the difference between Alternating Current and Direct Current 

There are two types of electricity, Alternating Current, and Direct Current. 

Alternating Current or AC is what your appliances use. From your large refrigerators to the smallest of phone chargers, all of them use AC.  

Direct Current or DC is what solar panels produce. It needs to be converted into AC before it can be used in your home. In this case, inverters are what converts DC into AC. 

DC electricity consists of high voltage electricity that can be dangerous when touched. It delivers a continuous stream of high voltage electricity that can spark fires when the wires are damaged. 

AC, on the other hand, is much safer as it alternates around a point of zero voltage. It is not able to spark fires lessening the risk of it happening. 

 

Get the Best Equipment 

This may come as common sense to most, but some would choose the cheapest equipment for the sake of saving a bit more from their investment. 

In solar installations, however, this will do you more harm than good. There are no shortcuts to a good and reliable solar installation. 

Each part of it is important. From the solar panels, all the way to the mounting structures—all of these are vital in ensuring that a solar installation is safe and durable. 

When choosing equipment, don’t settle for anything less than great. Look for case studies, specifications, and warranties. These are a few good indicators of the quality of a product. 

 

Choose the Right Inverter 

Inverters are required in a solar system. As mentioned above, it’s what converts DC, high voltage, and dangerous electricity, into AC, low voltage, easily transformable electricity for your home. 

String inverters and microinverters have their strengths and weaknesses.

String inverters are usually fairly easy to troubleshoot. If anything were to fail in a solar installation, it will most likely be the inverter—making it easy to troubleshoot should there be any problems.

You would also need only one string inverter for a solar installation. Making it relatively cheaper and requiring less labor hours during installation.

That being said, one of the drawbacks of using a string inverter is their efficiency in partial shade. When one panel’s output is affected, the whole series is affected as well.

Lastly, system monitoring for a string inverter installation can only show aggregated solar power production you will not be able to see the performance of individual panels which can be affected by cracks, defects or debris.

 

Microinverters ensure that partial shading will not be a problem. Since the panels are not wired in a single circuit, you can be sure that the output of one panel doesn’t affect the rest of the panels.

Additionally, microinverters comply to rapid shut down requirements which most string inverters do not have.

Given that microinverters are installed at the panel level, they also function as a means of monitoring individual panel performance- giving you insight on how much power each of your panels produce.

The convenience that microinverter comes at a price. Though a single microinverter is cheaper than one string inverter, you need more than just one for a solar installation. The combined cost of it can get pricey when you have a lot of solar panels in your installation. Considering the safety and ease of monitoring that it provides though, it is very much worth it.

 

The safety of your solar installation boils down to the equipment used for it and the knowledge of how electricity works. With that in mind, you can be sure that your solar installation will be as safe as it can be for you and your family. 

 

For professional solar installation services or any solar-related inquiry, you may contact us at ask@spectrum.net.ph or 888-76527 

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