PV System Design Part I

Overview on how to start off designing you own PV system

The residential photovoltaic systems (or PV systems for short) have been evolving a lot in the past few years. Solar panels and inverters are getting more efficient, smarter and cheaper. You can get very creative with them. Adding batteries, have them grid tie or have them work as a back-up generator are basically their main uses.

The first step if you want to design you own system, is to gather data from you home. Do you have A/C? Electric washer/dryer/stove? Heater? We need to gather info from all the electronics in your house. The big electric loads and the constant loads (like the fridge, freezer and stuff that its always on). A good tip to know if you have something that consumes a lot of electricity is to answer this question; Is the main purpose of this thing to generate heat? If the answer is yes then you have probably a big load on you electricity. Stoves, dryers and heaters consume a lot of electricity to generate heat and we need to take this in account when designing a pv system.

In the end the data that we want is how much electricity does your house consume let say in a month. We can make an average of the consumption. Based on that we can determine whats the size of you system. So, depending on the system size we can choose what type, size and model of panel & inverter combo we want. If we want to be completely independent we need to add batteries. (I will show you how to calculate everything later)

Simple plan view of a solar system

So step by step so far :

  • Gathering data of your house consumption.
  • Calculate the consumption of you house.
  • Based on the consumption calculate the PV system size.
  • Decide on what type of system you want, batteries or grid tied

I will continue with more info and how to Design your very own PV System in a series of posts, o stay tune.