Solar Panel Accessories

Must-Have Solar Panel Accessories for Maximum Efficiency and Savings

Whether it’s to be used as a backup source or as your main source of electricity at home, solar panels make it easy to collect and use electricity without relying on the local power grid. But to make sure you’re using them the right way, not only should you have the right main components, but you should also have the right accessories. 

This article focuses on various solar panel accessories and their significance. It enumerates all essential accessories individuals should acquire to ensure that their solar panel system operates efficiently and securely.

 

Importance of Accessories In a Solar Panel System

The main components of a solar panel system usually include the solar PV panels, a battery, an inverter, and a charge controller. They’re the ones that perform significant roles in collecting, converting, and storing energy as electricity. However, they won’t function properly without any accessories. 

Solar accessories connect all other components of the system. They ensure that you’re getting the most out of your system. Without accessories, the system won’t even work, or there’d be problems that can put the money you spent on the system to waste. 

 

List of Solar Panel Accessories You Should Have

Here are the essential accessories that you should know about: 

Cables

Just as blood vessels are vital to the human body’s circulation, wires and cables serve as the lifeblood of an electrical system. They are responsible for the seamless transmission of current from one component to another. However, it’s crucial to recognize that these cables cannot be just any ordinary wires. Due to their role in collecting and transmitting electricity, they must withstand a range of environmental conditions, including rain, sun, snow, and mechanical loads.

It would be best if you got appropriate solar or electrical cables of good quality. They’re usually made of copper or aluminum and are coated to avoid any electrocution incidents and to be able to withstand weather conditions. 

If you’ll be buying cables, here are a few reminders to keep in mind: 

  • Neutral wires are white
  • Black is for live, negative wires or single-phase systems
  • Red is for positive connections

Monitoring System

Monitoring System

Monitoring systems are an essential component of your solar panel setup. It serves as your watchful eye, allowing you to closely monitor your energy production, consumption, and potential reserves. 

This system comprises both hardware and software elements. The hardware typically includes a display or screen connected to your solar array, while the software provides real-time data on your system’s power generation. Without a monitoring system, it’s challenging to ensure everything is running smoothly and that your solar panels are meeting your energy needs efficiently. 

Moreover, these systems rely on communication devices and sensors to collect data, often from the inverter, and then transmit this data to a server. You can conveniently access this data through a user-friendly platform, providing regular updates and insights into your solar panel system’s performance. This invaluable tool empowers you to make informed decisions and optimize energy usage for greater efficiency and cost savings.

Power Meter

Power Meter

If you’re going for an on-grid or grid-tied solar panel system, you need a metering system that would calculate the units supplied and drawn from the utility or power grid. A power meter connects your system to the grid, collecting and recording data every time your solar panel system produces electricity. If it does produce excess electricity, you can get credit. 

Aside from that, utility companies can also buy back excess electricity or energy. With a net-metering system, you can keep track of all the energy you supply to the utility grid. This meter is also an excellent tool for monitoring any solar panel issues. Remember: any drop in output can be a sign of a potential defect. 

Mounting System

Mounting System

Solar panels and the other components won’t work and produce optimal results if they’re not installed the right way. Solar mounting or racking systems are what holds everything in place. They’re usually aluminum and come with bolts, nuts, rails, flashings, lugs, clamps, tilt legs, and end caps. 

There are four different types of mounting structures you can use: 

  • Roof-mounted: This is a mounting system that’s typically a stand. It’s an adjustable stand that can fit the rooftops and support the solar panels' weight. The installation usually needs roof penetration, but the cost is relatively low. 

  • Ground mounts: These are attached to the ground with concrete pillars or footings. They’re usually made of aluminum racking supported by galvanized steel. 

  • Pole-mounted racks:  These are either attached to the top or side of the pole. They support the solar panels on poles and are good options for areas with remote solar lighting systems. 

  • Floaters: These are for when you install solar panels on water. They’re mounted on interconnected plastic rafts that act as the floating platform for the panels on the water’s surface. 

Voltage Optimizer

Voltage Optimizer

This is a crucial component of a solar panel system. Its primary function is to regulate and control the incoming voltage, guaranteeing that your home or business receives the optimal power output. Carefully managing the voltage ensures that you receive sufficient energy. This also enhances the efficiency of your system and safeguards your electrical appliances from potential damage due to voltage fluctuations. 

In essence, it acts as a guardian, ensuring that your energy consumption remains perfectly aligned with your needs, maximizing energy utilization and cost-effectiveness.

Lightning Protection System

Lightning Protection System

A solar panel system is expensive, and exposing it to the weather means it’s also prone to getting struck by lightning. Lightning protection systems help in making sure that doesn’t happen. There are two types you can get: 

  • Internal Lightning Protection: This ensures potential equalization using special PV arrestors to protect the other major components of the system, specifically the inverter and cables. 

  • External Lightning Protection: This comes as a lightning arrester that prevents the lightning from striking the solar PV system. 

Bird Protection

Bird Protection

While solar panels are designed to harness sunlight, they inadvertently become attractive nesting spots for birds. This can cause issues and damage your solar system. To prevent this, you can use accessories like a solar skirt or install wire mesh to keep birds away. These solutions will protect your solar panels from bird-related problems. In doing so, you protect your solar investment and contribute to the long-term efficiency and performance of your solar panel system.

 

Conclusion

Solar panels offer a great, reliable power source for your home or business. But to enjoy a solar panel system to the fullest, you must ensure you have all the necessary accessories, not just the main components. Get cables, a monitoring system, a power meter, and an optimizer. Remember the lightning arrester, mounting or racking system, and bird protection.

If you need a place to see some of these items, you can check out our solar panel accessories collection. We have different accessories you’ll need for your solar panel at home or in your business!