Solar power means using energy from the sun
to produce electricity. These pages show how that energy is turned into electricity,
the components needed and various possible types of systems.
How it works
Types of systems
Solar power systems can be configured in a variety of ways to meet different
needs. The following are the most common configurations.
- Off-grid -
getting all your power from solar power with an optional generator
- Feed-in tarriff (or solar premium or
standard offer program) -
selling power to the grid/being a mini-power utility and being paid
for it while also using power from the grid. This is a form of
- Net metering -
feeding power to the grid and using power from the grid, paying for
only the difference. This is a form of grid-tied system.
- Solar backup (or grid interactive) -
getting power from the grid with solar power as a backup
- RV solar -
powering a recreational vehicle (RV) or motorhome with solar power
- Mobile solar -
solar power system on mobile platforms to be towed, like a trailer
- Arnprior Solar Farm -
a solar farm is a collection of a huge number of solar panels, typically for
feeding power to the power grid. This Arnprior solar farm consists of 312,000 solar
One of the highest paying incentive programs is
microFIT/FIT Feed-in Tariff program which pays up to
$0.549 per kWh for power which is fed onto the Ontario power grid.
This is a lot, given that consumers pay around $0.20 per kWh for
power from that same grid.
Damaged solar panels and repairing them
Examples of solar panels damaged by having their glass shattered or by lightning, along with some info about repairability.
Fun solar experiments
The easiest solar cell to make is to use a transistor as a solar cell (in this case a 2N3055 power transistor) by simply cutting it open. Five of them in series will power a small 1.5 volt calculator.
Sample installed systems
Here's a small sample of solar power systems I helped install with
Ottawa Solar Power.
Just another day installing solar power in the Ottawa, Ontario area...
... but then, not all days are snowy.