(Summary of report prepared for design of the solar panels system of a residence in Guácima Alajuela)
The electricity produced by solar energy is wonderful. It is not surprising that solar energy attracts our attention; There are no electricity bills in progress, it is not dependent on a power outlet of the network (in the case of a system independent of the electricity grid of the street) and also is free energy that does not harm the planet.
In practice, of course, the reality is a bit different, since there are many variables for each application and each location. However, solar energy is an excellent and practical resource that can be used with relative ease and efficiency.
Traditionally, solar electricity has been used in an off-grid environment, which has been a useful way of getting a comparatively small amount of electricity at a remote location. In these systems, excess electricity generation is stored in the batteries until needed; The system has to be self-sufficient.
More recently, "grid" systems have become more common, this system consists of, for example, a building having photovoltaic (solar) panels installed on the roof, but it can take electricity from both the panels, and when necessary, from the mains.
In a grid system, electricity is sold to utility companies when the panel system is generating more power than is necessary for the building and buys from the utility when the solar panel is not producing enough power to service the demand. There is NO concept of storing excess energy locally for use when demand exceeds the capacity of the solar array to produce it.
There may be many reasons for choosing the installation of a network connection system. In many countries there are generally available feed rates, which ensures that people can earn good returns on their solar investment. Many people also want their own energy security, reducing their reliance on non-renewable and increasingly expensive (coal, oil and gas) fuels. Environmental concerns also encourage people to consider installing a solar power system as they are far more beneficial than harm.
Expectations for solar photovoltaic energy
Solar energy is a useful form of electricity generation where there is a good amount of sunlight available and where its location is free of obstacles such as trees and other buildings that can shade your solar panels.
The amount of energy you need to generate is directly related to the size and cost of a solar energy system; The greater the amount of electricity that is needed, the more difficult and more expensive the system will become.
Consequently, it is worth looking at your energy consumption first and finding ways to reduce this before installing solar electricity, such as: making sure to turn off electrical appliances instead of leaving them in standby mode, use low-consumtion LED lighting and the use of low-consumtion appliances can significantly reduce the amount of energy your building consumes.
Solar electricity is not very suitable for the generation of heat: heating the rooms, cooking and heating by water, everything can take up a significant amount of energy. The use of electricity to generate this heat is extremely inefficient. Instead, you should consider a solar water heating and heating system and cook with gas or solid fuels.
Solar energy calculations
Solar energy is a combination of the hours of sunlight you can expect in your site and the intensity of that sunlight. Solar energy varies depending on the time of year and the position of the Earth in relation to the sun.
This combination of hours of sunlight and the intensity of sunlight is called sunshine, and the results can be expressed as a mean irradiance in watts per square meter (W / m²), or hours as kilowatt-per-square propagation in Meters during the period of one day (kWh / m² / day).
Of course, not every day are the same and the figures will vary depending on the weather. You will get much better power generation on a sunny day than it will on a cloudy day. The amount of solar energy also varies dramatically depending on the inclination of the solar panels relative to the sun. For example, if a solar panel is placed flat on the floor, you can get dramatically different power outputs compared to the same panel is mounted upright against a wall or tilted towards the sun to capture as much sunlight as possible.
Staying on the budget
It is not uncommon to discover at this stage that a solar electric system is simply 'inaccessible'. When this happens, you can do one of three things: you can walk away, you can review your original scope and see what you can change, or you can adjust your design in order to make your system more cost-effective.
It is very common that a first draft for a solar energy project to become too expensive. However, a careful analysis of the needs and detailed design will normally result in cost savings. Quite often, these savings can be very large.