The solar panel is the system’s powerhouse in a photovoltaic energy setup. The “balance of system,” which is typically designated by the term, is made up of all other components that support its operation (BOS). These will consist of:
- Mounting system, which is mostly required for holding up the panels, but it could also store additional supporting technology.
- One or more solar inverters are needed to transform the DC that the panels produce into usable AC or AC that can be connected to the grid.
- If there is no grid connection, a substantial battery bank is necessary (stand-alone systems). In order to use the excess energy when the sun is not shining, it must be stored.
- Battery charger: Uses solar power to recharge batteries. Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) chargers change the current in order to supply the battery with the most power possible under the parameters of the solar output.
- Convert DC to AC using inverters.
- Junction boxes that have relays and fuses.
- Make that the inverter output is well-regulated and free of sags, surges, and spikes when using power conditioners.
What are the optional equipment in the Balance of System?
Depending on the system’s nature and scope, optional equipment can include:
- GPS Solar tracker: To maintain the panel’s position so that it is always capturing the most solar energy possible.
- Larger systems with many strings of panels and inverters, possibly feeding various loads, may need power management software. The programme may execute autonomous switching operations, control alerts for out-of-tolerance conditions, etc.
- Concentrated solar power.
- Sensors that measure solar irradiance are typically justified in big commercial systems for upkeep and monitoring needs.
- Wind speed sensors, lenses, or optical mirrors (only for CPV systems) for beam concentration.
What is Balance of Plant?
The phrase “balance of plant (BOP),” which is frequently used in the context of power engineering and refers to all the supporting systems and components of the power plant required to create energy, is similar to the phrase “balance of system.” Depending on the type of plant, these could include appropriate transformers, inverters, cabling, switching and control equipment, protection equipment, power conditioners, support structures, etc.
Hardware (and software, if required), labor, permitting Interconnection and Inspection (PII) fees, and any additional costs that might be necessary are all included in the cost of the entire system. The cost of BOS may include the cost of the land, the building, etc. for large commercial solar systems. About two-thirds of the whole expenditure may go towards BOS.
Also Read: Basic Principle of Wind Energy Conversion
While the price of solar panels is significantly declining, the price of BOS is not declining at the same rate. Because more work has been put into solar cell technology, it is understandable. Solar cell technology is continually developing and getting better, and prices are falling quickly.
The majority of the systems’ balance is made up of non-solar technology-specific components. As an illustration, the mounting structures are very standard, and the technology may already be developed, making further research and invention less beneficial.