Solar Energy

Solar is one of the most economical and fastest growing forms of renewable energy sources for both electricity and heat in the world. Its energy that is received from the sun and converted to electrical, mechanical, heat, and etc.

In this article we are going to cover both Residential and Commercial solar energy.

Solar power is the future of power generation, the main evidence for this is that solar power supply and installation costs has fallen more than 50% in the last five years and traditional sources of energy are not sustainable and environmentally healthy. This makes solar energy a more cost competitive and sustainable option for energy than other forms of energy generation.

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  • PV: They are ‘photovoltaic cells, which are interconnected, and solar panels are made of PVs. PV are made of semiconductors composed mostly of silicone, which convert sunlight to electricity.  PV semiconductors are made of Silicon, Gallium arsenide, Cadmium sulfide & telluride.
  • PV-Cell: A Pv cell is the smallest semiconductor light-to-electricity converting element of a solar panel and it’s a unit that measures light intensity by measuring light converted to electricity in the form of electric current (A) or heat (J).
  • Photon: It’s a particle of light and light’s energy unit.
  • It’s a particle of light and light’s energy unit.
  • PV-Array: They are Interconnected PV panels(modules) which function as a unified electricity producing unit and consist of a single module or multiple modules.
  • PV-Efficiency: It is the ratio of sunlight received by the PV (PV-LI) to the electric power produced by PV (PV-EO) [PV-efficiency =LI/EO].
  • PV module/ PV panel: The solar blocks and panels that contains solar cells, interconnections, terminals, diodes, etc.

The process of solar power production is easy and simple. PV panels will capture and convert sunlight to DC electricity and then an inverter converts the DC to AC which is usable by end users and consumers.

Characteristics of good solar systems

  • Efficiency, Longevity & Warranty
  • Reliability & Compatibility
  • Looks & Aesthetics

Tips to consider when buying solar systems

  • Consider the cost, quality, brands, and delivery times
  • Consult with solar experts & qualified electricians
  • Ensure the solar system has good efficiency, longevity, and warranty
  • Get at least (3) quotes from reliable suppliers and electrical contractors
  • Do research about options for solar products, suppliers, and electrical contractors

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Solar energy generations categories based on size

  • Residential solar projects are usually 5 kW and more
  • Commercial solar projects are usually 200 kW and more
  • Utility-scale / solar plant projects are usually 50 MW and more

Main elements of a solar system

  • Solar panels
  • Solar mounting structures
  • Solar inverters, battery, and metering systems

Solar Panels

Solar panels are the most important part of solar systems. They will capture solar energy, convert it from sunlight to electricity and then send it to solar converters or electricity storing systems. Solar panels use photovoltaic cells to convert light energy to dc electric energy. Most solar panels in the market are very efficient and have (20-to-30) years of manufacturer’s warranty.


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 Characteristics of a good solar panel

  • Cost & warranty
  • Efficiency, brand, & quality
  • Number of cells for each solar panel
  • Types of cells technology (Polycrystalline, PERC, Tandem, and Monocrystalline)

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Solar Power Backup

It’s a power backup system designed and installed to feed the essential elements of your system in the case of power failure. Solar backup systems contain a battery bank and inverters which are fully integrated and, in some cases, they come as one unit for easy and fast wiring and installation.

Solar Inverters

They are a part of a solar system that converts DC electricity produced by solar panels to AC electricity used by consumers.

Solar Mounting Structures

It contains fastening racks, fast-rack rail, roof bolts, etc which are designed to mount the solar panels on a sloped roof or a flat surface.

Solar Metering

Electrical meter that can read and measure electricity in both directions. When your solar system is in the peak of power generation during the daytime your consumption might be at a minimum, the smart meters will measure and send the electricity back to grid.

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Off-Grid & Grid-Tied Solar Systems

Off grid solar system, it is an independent electricity producing source and is usually connected to a big battery bank and back-up system. Grid-tied solar systems are directly connected to the main grid and doesn’t need much of a backup because its re-feeding surplus electricity back to the electric grid on peak production and minimum consumption times.  Top of Form

Solar Hot Water Tanks

Solar hot water (SHW) is an important part of your solar system.

What are solar hot water tanks? It is a hot water tank that receives sunlight and converts it to heat in the form of hot water. The SHW system has internal heat exchanger coils that transmit heat received from sunlight to water.

Solar Space Heating (SSH)

It’s when the in-floor heating water supply is connected to the solar collectors and solar energy is the source of heating. Solar space heating is ideal for heating garages, warehouses, homes, and etc.

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Combo Solar Heating (Solar Water + Space Heating)

In this case solar is used for both hot water and heating which is more efficient than just SHW or SSH.  This type of heating has a better rate of return for investment in solar heating by expanding solar heating systems efficiency and performance.

Residential Solar Energy

It is using solar panels and solar electrical systems to convert sunlight to electricity and heat to be used as power, hot water, heating, lighting, etc.

Commercial Solar Energy

Commercial solar energy is the mass production of solar power that is mostly delivered to businesses, schools, hospitals, public and governmental organizations, etc. It’s cleaner, more reliable, and affordable than traditional sources of energy. It’s also solar energy mostly in the form of electricity for business.

It can be any variety of business that completely or partially rely on solar energy for its day to day operation from small businesses to large corporations including governmental and non-governmental and for-profit and non-for-profit organizations and institutions.

They are both in the form of rooftop mount and ground mount solar projects with a variety of sizes from kilowatts up to megawatts solar projects based on the size of the business, investment and size of land available. Commercial solar systems based on project size fall between residential and utility-scale solar.

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OPA’s FIT Solar Program

Commercial solar production is an important step toward cleaner and more sustainable energy in the world. It is more feasible and will grow faster when its supported by governments.

For example Ontario Power Authority (OPA),  purchases solar energy back from producers under the FIT solar program for (54.8-to-53.9) ¢ per kilowatt-hour, which make mass solar energy production profitable.

Benefits of Commercial Solar Projects

  •  Lower O&M Costs
  • Higher Efficiency and Safety
  • Remote Maintenance & Control
  • Better Operating Income for Commercial Buildings
  • Government Rebates and Credits Initiatives and Programs
  • Commercial Solar Systems can earn LEED Certification
  • Sustainable, Environmentally Friendly, & No Carbon Footprint
  • Faster, Easier, and more Economical Supply, Installations & Wiring (dollar per watt)


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Commercial Solar Systems ROI

Return on Investment for commercial solar systems are higher than small scale solar and residential solar. Most common ROI for current markets are 4-8, based on geographical locations, types of tax rebates and governmental incentives, size of solar projects & etc.

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Solar Power Plants

Solar power plants are used for large solar power production from sunlight, and it is one of the fastest growing and most cost effective and efficient ways of energy production in the world.

Top (10) solar power plants in the world based on size as of date this article was written

  1. Tengger Desert Solar Park, China (1.547GW)
  2. Sweihan Photovoltaic Independent Power Project, UAE (1.177GW)
  3. Yanchi Ningxia Solar Park, China (1GW)
  4. Datong Solar Power Top Runner Base, China (1.07GW)
  5. Kurnool Ultra Mega Solar Park, India (1GW)
  6. Longyangxia Dam Solar Park, China (0.85GW)
  7. Enel Villanueva PV Plant, Mexico (0.828GW)
  8. Kamuthi Solar Power Station, India (0.648GW)
  9. Solar Star Projects, US (0.579GW)
  10. Topaz Solar Farm US (0.550GW)

Can Electric Ltd and its staff care about planet earth, that is why our expert electricians are on standby for all your electrical installation and wiring needs, including solar power installations and wiring.  Contact us today for free electrical estimates.

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Electrical Terms

  • J: joule
  • A: Ampere
  • LI: Light in
  • PV: Photovoltaic
  • EO: Electricity out
  • DC: Direct Current
  • FIT: Feed-In Tariff
  • SHW: Solar hot water
  • AC: Alternating Current
  • SSH: Solar space heating
  • OPA: Ontario Power Authority
  • SSA: Solar Service Agreement
  • CSP: Concentrated Solar Power
  • O&M: Operating & maintenance
  • BIPV: Building Integrated Photovoltaics
  • W: Watt, KW: Kilowatt, MW: Megawatt, & GW: Gigawatt

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