AC Solar

How AC Solar Works

How AC Solar Works

Solar solutions come in a range of different configurations. One important distinction to be aware of is the difference between AC solar and DC solar. We install both versions, and in our solar design process we help you to understand the benefits of these solutions for your own energy requirements. In this article, we take a look at the difference between these two approaches to solar.

Solar – A Broad Overview

In a typical residential solar installation, solar panels convert the sun’s energy into DC (Direct Current) electricity. However, before this electricity can be used in the home, it needs to be converted to AC (Alternating Current). It is the different way that this conversion process is approached that defines the difference between AC and DC solar systems.

How AC Solar Works

DC solar is arranged in a ‘series’ circuit – connected panel to panel, this circuit leads electricity as DC to a single inverter inside the home, where it is transformed into AC power.

AC Solar works in a different way. Each solar cell has a microinverter which converts DC to AC at the solar cell. This significant distinction opens up a wide range of benefits in safety and capability:

Benefits of AC Solar Solutions

1. Avoiding High Voltages on the Rooftop

In a DC Solar system, the series circuit can lead to high DC voltages on the rooftop. This is due to the fact that the solar cells are linked together in series. This can result in DC voltages of up to 600 (Residential) – 1000 (Commercial) Volts DC on the roof.

In the event of the circuit being compromised due to any number of reasons (rodents, environmental wear and tear, water ingress, etc) this can result in high voltages of DC current arcing which can cause injury and fire.

An AC solar system doesn’t need high DC voltages – its DC voltages never exceed 80 volts. This makes for a safer solution.

3. No Need for a DC Isolator Switch

The DC Isolator switch is one of the most common points of failure in a DC Solar system. The purpose of this switch is to separate the DC circuit from the rest of the house. Although the intention is to make the system safer, over time the failure of these switches and subsequent exposure to the environment is a leading cause of failure in DC solar systems.

In an AC solar solution, there is no need for a DC isolator switch because there is no high-voltage DC circuit. Microinverters transform DC to AC at each panel, and the AC voltage on the rooftop is much lower because it is operating on a per-panel basis, as opposed to the combined effect in a DC Solar series circuit.

4. Performance in Partial Shading

In a DC solar installation the performance of the whole system depends on the performance of each individual cell. If a cell is shaded, this impacts the performance of the entire array, reducing the output. In an AC solar system, cells work separately from each other. Any shading only impacts the individual cell, not the entire system.

4. Centralised VS Decentralised Inversion

Another important distinction between AC and DC solar is the impact of a single vs multiple inversion points. In a DC solar system, the whole system relies on a single inverter to transform DC to AC. If this inverter fails, the whole system goes down. This single point of failure doesn’t exist in an AC solar solution. Here, the inversion happens at the panel with a microinverter. If it should fail, only a single panel is impacted – the rest of the system won’t be affected. This creates a more robust system that isn’t dependent on a single inverter.

5. Scalability

Scalability (the ability to change the size) of your solar installation is an important consideration. The installation that works for you now may not work for you in 5 years time. A case in point is electric vehicles. If you transition to an electric vehicle, the need to charge your car would change the profile of your energy usage requirement.

AC Solar Scalability

DC solar installations are inherently less scalable than AC solar installations. Adding additional solar panels is only possible as long as the single inverter can handle the additions. It may be necessary to upgrade your inverter to accommodate extra panels. In comparison, AC solar can be scaled as needed. Panels can be added, or removed, as required without compromising the rest of the process. This is achieved by microinverters transforming DC to AC at the cell rather than at a single inversion point.

Learn More About Solar Solutions

If you’re interested in learning more about solar solutions or getting a quote, please contact our team. We service Noosa and surrounding suburbs.

Enhanced Solar Scalability

Enphase Solar: Modular

Our solar range includes a variety of solutions for different homes and businesses. If scalability is important to your planning, (changing the size of your array in the future) one of our options includes the Enphase Microinverter Solar Solutions. A key benefit of these systems is the ease with which they can be adapted. New panels can be easily added in the future, enabling your solar system to keep up with your changing needs.

Microinverters: Converting at the Panel

The Need For Solar Scalability

We live in an era of change and adaptation. While it isn’t always easy to see what the future will bring, it can be certain that it will bring more change! For example, in 5 years time you may have an electric car, (or two) in the garage that need to be charged every day. That’s why factoring scalability into your installation is an important consideration.

How Is Solar Scaled Up?

To increase the power generated by your solar system, either more panels need to be added or existing panels need to be replaced with more efficient panels. This isn’t easily done with a traditional DC solar installation, where adding more panels to your system may require a new inverter to handle the additional power being collected.

Scaling With AC Solar

Enphase Microinverter Solar approaches solar in a different way. The inversion process is undertaken at each individual panel, rather than a central inverter. This means that more panels can be added to the system as required without jeopardising the ability of the system to handle the added power. Another advantage of AC Solar is the minimum panel requirement. DC systems require a minimum of 8 panels, whereas AC systems don’t have a minimum. The configuration can be scaled to suit your needs, however big or small they may be.

Learn More About Solar Solutions

If you’re interested in learning more about solar solutions or getting a quote, please contact our team. We service Noosa and surrounding suburbs.

Improving Solar Performance

Enphase: Solar Efficiency & Performance

A key criteria of any solar installation should always be performance. Getting the most out of the way energy is collected and used is critical to reducing costs and attaining better outcomes. If you’re interesting in a high performing solar solution in the Noosa area, contact our team for a free consultation and quote today.

Solar Components

Our focus on safety leads us to working with high-quality components for our installations. By using high-quality components backed with warranties up to 25 years, we can confidently install solar solutions that are designed to provide excellent performance and reliability now and into the future.

Installation Suitability

Solar installations must be suitable for the specific premises. As part of our quotation process, we evaluate your premises and energy requirements to design a solar solution to take your home or business into the future.

Installation Approach

Our solar team are licensed, qualified and experienced – we’ll make sure your solar installation is approached in a professional manner. As with all aspects of our work, we will ensure your installation is compliant with industry practises. Achieving performance for you solar system begins with quality components, a suitable solution, and a proper installation process.

High-Performance Solar Sunrise Beach

Integration & Optimisation

In addition to the installation of a solar system, its imperative to integrate the system into your home and optimise the way you use your solar power. This aspect of the work is important to us because it is often overlooked – undertaking specific household tasks at certain times, or taking full advantage of home energy software and information are all available as part of our service.

Learn More About Solar Solutions

If you’re interested in learning more about solar solutions or getting a quote, please contact our team. We service Noosa and surrounding suburbs.