There are several solar installation types. The most common residential system is roof mounted. However, if roof space is limited, ground mounting is an alternative.
Fixed racks hold modules stationary as the sun moves across the sky. The fixed rack sets the angle at which the module is held. Most of these fixed racks are set on poles above ground.
Ground mounted solar power systems consist of solar modules held in place by racks or frames that are attached to ground based mounting supports. Pole mounts, which are driven directly into the ground or embedded in concrete. This type of mounting system is well suited for sites where excavation is not possible such as capped landfills and simplifies decommissioning or relocation of solar module systems.
Roof-mounted solar power systems consist of solar modules held in place by racks or frames attached to roof-based mounting supports. Pole mounts, which are attached directly to the roof structure and may use additional rails for attaching the module racking or frames.
Solar trackers produce more per module at a cost of mechanical complexity and maintenance. They sense the direction of the Sun and tilt the modules as needed for maximum exposure to the light.
Solar panels, or solar modules as they are sometimes called, are made up of photovoltaic (PV) cells, which convert sunlight into direct current (DC) power.
When installing a solar power system in your house, the (DC) power generated from the panels needs to be converted to alternating current (AC) power, or standard electrical current used in your home. This system is called on-grid, where the power generated is tied to the electric company.
There are 2 methods of generating AC power from solar panels. Each are described below.
Solar panels are installed in strings of the same number, ie 2 stings of 5 panels, 3 strings of 4 panels and so forth. The power generated from each string then runs to an inverter, which converts it into standard AC voltage. If a panel is shaded its output will drop, thus affecting the output of the entire string, even if the other panels are not shaded. Customs will purchase an inverter correctly sized to match the panel output.
Micro-inverters are small inverters rated to handle the output of a single panel and are attached to the actual panel. A dual micro-inverter does this for two panels. New panels can be added to the system at any time, and do not have to have the same rating as existing panels. They produce grid-matching power directly at the back of the panel.