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3 Different Types of Solar PV Systems Explained in Depth

Black and white solar panels under the sunset

The world is facing a global energy crisis. Hundreds of millions of people still lack access to sufficient energy entirely. Fortunately, it’s becoming increasingly clear that solar photovoltaic systems are one of the most promising solutions to this crisis we’re facing—but how do they work? And what are the different types of solar photovoltaic systems available?

Table of Contents
What is a solar photovoltaic system?
Three types of solar photovoltaic systems
Cheat sheet for choosing solar PV systems

What is a solar photovoltaic system?

PV systems have been around since the 1990s and have been increasing in popularity as an alternative renewable energy source. Solar photovoltaic systems use the sun’s energy to convert solar radiation into electricity. They consist of one or more solar panels and other components such as an inverter, a controller, a mounting system, or batteries. PV systems can be used as stand-alone applications or grid-connected systems, and their size varies from rooftop systems to large-scale generation plants, depending on how much electricity is needed and how much space is available for installation.

Solar energy and PV systems

Wind turbines photographed during sunset

Solar power is a clean, renewable energy source that can be used to generate electricity. It’s an abundant and inexhaustible resource because it comes from the sun. In just one hour, the sunlight that strikes the earth’s surface is enough to power all human energy needs for an entire year. The sun’s light is also called solar radiation and is made up of photons. Photovoltaic cells capture this radiation and turn it into electrons that move in response to an internal electric grid, producing electricity in the process.

Main components of solar PV systems

The four main components of solar photovoltaic systems are solar panels, inverters, cabling, and storage batteries.

Basic composition of a solar photovoltaic system

Solar panels

The solar panel is the most important part of a photovoltaic system, and it consists of many cells made from semiconductor materials like crystalline silicon. When sunlight hits the panel, it frees electrons from atoms in the semiconductor material. This results in electricity, which can be used to power electrical devices or recharge batteries.

Inverter

Packaging is what the consumer sees first and foremost when purchasing something new. It needs to have a positive impact right away, which is why having the best type of packaging for shoes can lead to more sales in the future and will have consumers coming back for more.  Table of Contents Market size for shoe packaging Top trends for shoe packaging in 2022 Shoe packaging in the future  Market size for shoe packaging Like many types of packaging for clothing, shoe packaging has undergone some changes in recent years. Whereas in the past shoes have been sold in simple boxes, in today’s market it’s all about the buying experience. This means that sellers are having to up their game and make their packaging more appealing, as consumers are increasingly looking to have a more luxurious shopping experience.   In 2020 the global market value of shoe packaging reached USD 4.2 billion, and that number is expected to rise to USD 5.5 billion by 2026. With more shoes on the market than ever before, and new designs and materials on the way, packaging has never played a more important role in the overall buying experience.  Woman wrapping a box of shoes in bubble wrap Top trends for shoe packaging in 2022 There are many different types of shoe packaging on the market today, but not all are suitable for each type of shoe. It’s important to take the consumer into account when looking at what packaging to use in order to get the most sales. Non-woven bags, personalized tissue paper, boxes with transparent doors, high-end cardboard boxes, frosted bags, and luxurious mailing boxes have all received positive feedback from consumers and are the perfect way to add something a little extra to the buying experience.  The transparent door Traditional cardboard shoe boxes are still highly used by most retailers for all types of shoes, but plastic shoe boxes are making their mark. To really show off sneakers, and to mark them as a high-quality product, the shoe box with a transparent and magnetic door is a big upgrade that catches the consumer’s attention. This type of shoe box can come with a back or side opening, is fully customizable, and is perfect for shoe box storage as it can be easily stacked with other shoe boxes of this style, making them great for displays. This type of packaging fits in really well with the desire that people have to put shoe displays on their walls.   Shoes behind plastic transparent doors on the boxes Non-woven bags Traditionally shoes come in boxes with tissue paper inside, but more and more shoes are being placed inside non-woven bags or include these bags inside the box for future storage and transportation purposes. These bags are popular as they help to keep the shoes safe and dust-free when not in use and add a classy touch to the unboxing process that’s more memorable than a plain shoe box.   Various colors of non-woven bags for shoe packaging Customized tissue paper Tissue paper is normally found inside a shoe box, used as a way of protecting the shoes and making sure they don’t rub against one another while in storage or transportation. Tissue paper shouldn’t be overlooked, as it’s an important part of the packaging for shoes that also makes a strong impact on consumers. Tissue paper with different patterns or customized logos on it will only help to enhance the overall buying experience and make a statement about the brand.   White tissue paper with a pattern on for packaging shoes Upscale cardboard boxes When it comes to packaging for shoes, cardboard boxes are the most used storage system. But there are always new ways to enhance traditional packaging. The sliding cardboard box is a popular alternative, especially for boots or heels for women. This type of shoe box can come in a variety of sizes to suit different styles of shoes, so it’s very versatile. It also helps to make the buying experience a little more unique than having a simple cardboard box.   The magnetic folding shoe boxes are proving to be very popular too, especially if shoes are being given as a gift. These boxes stand out against regular shoe boxes as they look more high-end, and can easily be reused or repurposed once the shoes have been taken out of the box and worn.   Black magnetic closure box with customized logo on the front Matte frosted bags Compared to cardboard boxes, these frosted bags take up minimal space when shipping and are easier to carry around if the consumer is shopping in person. The material used for these bags helps to keep the product safe, as does the zip closure. These bags are made from sustainable materials so although they look like plastic, they’re completely safe for the environment, which is a big plus in today’s world.  Frosted bag used for shoes with logo on the front Luxurious mailing boxes With more and more people purchasing products online, it’s important that the buying experience carries over to the home as well. By sending shoes in a luxurious mailing box, complete with a company logo and other customizable prints such as social media tags or quotes, the consumer is still able to enjoy their shopping experience without having to go out. This type of shoe packaging makes a mark on the buyer in a way that simple packaging won’t, and will go a long way in keeping the consumer interested in making recurring purchases.   Various sizes of black shipping boxes with gold ribbon Shoe packaging in the future Packaging is becoming an increasingly important part of a consumer’s buying experience. Regular shoe packaging, just like the shopping bag, is slowly being replaced by packaging that has a more high-end and luxurious look to it to keep up with changing consumer trends.   Mailing boxes that are higher quality, frosted bags, unique tissue paper, plastic shoe boxes, cardboard boxes with magnetic closures, and non-woven bags are all major trends in today’s market that are starting to make a real impact with consumers. All of these new types of packaging are the perfect way to combine consumer satisfaction with brand marketing, and with new packaging trends coming out regularly, it’s important to keep on top of them.

Inverters are a key component of solar photovoltaic systems. They convert direct current (DC) electricity into alternating current (AC), which is the type of electricity used by most household appliances and power-hungry factories.

Cabling

A set of colorful wires and cables

Cabling is an integral part of solar photovoltaic systems. It connects the components of a circuit and serves as a conduit where electricity travels. The PV wires and cables are made of copper or aluminum, which are both excellent conductors of electricity.

Batteries

Lithium batteries for photovoltaic energy storage

Batteries play a vital role in solar photovoltaic systems. They store the electrical energy generated by the solar arrays to supply power to the load at any time. Batteries supporting solar photovoltaic systems are mainly composed of lead-acid, cadmium-nickel, or lithium.

Three types of solar photovoltaic systems

With so many options for harnessing the sun’s power, it can be hard to source the right solar PV system. But no worries! This section will break down the main three types of solar photovoltaic systems, so businesses can easily compare them and figure out which one is best for their needs.

Grid-connected PV systems

The general structure of a grid-connected photovoltaic system

Grid-connected solar PV systems are an excellent choice for users in areas with grid electricity purchase subsidies, especially in areas with better grid infrastructure, as they convert solar energy to alternating current and use the utility grid to balance any power fluctuations. In addition to that, on-grid PV systems allow consumers to offset their electricity bills by redirecting any surplus energy to the grid when the PV system is producing more power than their household needs.

While this type of solar PV system is less expensive than other types, it should be noted that it does not offer any outage protection; so it’s best suited for homes that already have good backup power sources in place. For example, the 5 kW on-grid solar system is a great choice for home and commercial use. The PV arrays feature a high efficiency of 17% and excellent mechanical load resistance. Furthermore, the solar inverter is equipped with overcharge protection and an under-voltage disconnection function, ensuring efficient power storage and transmission quality.

5 kW grid-connected photovoltaic system for home use

Off-grid PV systems

Off-grid solar PV systems, also known as stand-alone PV systems, are independent of the utility grid and are suitable for rural areas and areas with extreme power shortages that are difficult to connect to grid systems. They come in two forms: DC power systems and AC power systems.

A DC system uses a DC-DC converter to convert the voltage of solar panels from its native value up to an appropriate level for use in DC loads. An AC system, on the other hand, uses an inverter to convert PV voltage into standard household electric current. DC-DC converters can also be used in AC systems to reduce the number of solar panels required.

For example, the fully-integrated 5 kW solar PV system includes a DC-AC off-grid solar inverter, charge controller, 5 kWh lithium battery, and 12 modules of 450W solar panels. This system is great for homes in remote locations without access to grid power. Nonetheless, consumers should be aware that this type of PV system will require periodic maintenance, including checking the terminals for corrosion and inspecting the electrolyte level in battery cells. 

The different components of an off-grid photovoltaic system

Hybrid PV systems

Hybrid PV systems, such as 10 kW-30 kW solar system banks, are best suited for industrial and commercial locations such as schools, hospitals, etc. in remote and developed areas with limited access to the grid, as they embed other energy sources such as wind turbines and diesel generators. These hybrid systems are paired with lithium batteries to store excess energy, ensuring it doesn’t go to waste.

A schema outlining the structure of a hybrid solar system

The advantages of using hybrid systems include being able to generate enough electricity even if one source fails or is unavailable. Such systems can provide power even when the sun is not shining or the wind is not blowing. This is an essential consideration for areas that experience harsh winters and long periods without sunlight. While the benefits of hybrid PV systems are many, they can be expensive to install, since they require a complex design and multiple sources of energy.

Cheat sheet for choosing solar PV systems

Solar photovoltaic systems provide a clean, economical, and sustainable way of generating electricity for households, farms, and even large industrial and commercial users such as factories, schools, hospitals, and shopping malls. PV systems are categorized into 3 main types: on-grid PV systems, off-grid PV systems, and hybrid PV systems. The system to choose will depend upon several factors such as the user’s location, budget, and energy needs.

Infographic illustrating the differences between 3 types of PV systems

So there you have it! A crash course on the basics of solar photovoltaic systems. Ready to switch from traditional energy sources to solar power? If so, check these cost-effective PV systems for a quick start!

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