Most people who are interested in solar power are only interested in how it can work for their home. You don’t need to understand the specifics of how photovoltaic cells convert light into electricity; you just want to know what equipment your home would need to reduce your dependence on the power grid. This simplified guide will give you a quick look at the essentials and give you the information you need to get started on your residential solar setup.


Off-Grid or Grid-Tied?

Before we start talking about the equipment you need, let’s discuss the difference between an off-grid and grid-tied system. The names are relatively self-explanatory, to an extent: A grid-tied system is connected to the power grid while an off-grid system is not. However, it’s important that you understand how this impacts your equipment needs.


Most residential solar setups are grid-tied. (In fact, in many areas, it’s illegal to disconnect completely from the grid.) This means you always have the power grid as a backup source of power. Consequently, you can get away with an undersized system—meaning a system that doesn’t meet all of your immediate power needs—and you don’t have to worry about power storage.


An off-grid system, on the other hand, doesn’t have that safety net. This means you need to make absolutely certain your system can provide for all of your power needs, including having your own backup energy source, such as batteries and/or generators.

sma sunny boy inverter

Understanding Your Inverter

Now, let’s get into some of the basic pieces of equipment. We’ll start with the inverter because it’s central to your system. You see, the panels that you mount on your roof create direct current (DC) electricity, while most of your home runs on alternating current (AC) electricity. We won’t get into the specifics of what those things mean, but suffice it to say that your home can’t actually use power straight from the panels.


This is where the SMA inverters come in. They convert the power from DC to AC and funnel it into your home for your appliances, lights, and electronics to use. Without an inverter, solar power isn’t even an option.


Do You Need a Battery Bank?

When researching solar equipment, you’ve probably seen batteries come up quite a bit. Whether or not you need a battery bank is dependent on whether your system is grid-tied or off-grid (see above). If you’re off-grid, then yes, you definitely need a battery bank. If you’re tied to the grid, then it’s really up to you. Your system will function fine without one, but having a battery bank can further reduce your grid dependence and make your solar setup functional during a grid outage.


Selecting Your Panels

Finally, let’s talk about the panels. These are the most visible part of your solar setup, but the number you need will vary widely based on your energy consumption. It’s important that you have a professional calculate your energy usage to ensure you get the right number of solar panels to run your home’s electrical appliances.


To learn more about Fronius solar inverters and other types of solar equipment, contact The PowerStore, Inc., today.