Solar System Design Process

The most common question we hear from customers at Glenergy is, ‘What size of system, or how much solar, do we need to power ____ ?’ Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer! But, if it can be done with solar, we can do it.
The alternative energy system design process begins with a careful evaluation of energy needs. It is important to be thorough and realistic when estimating your energy consumption because the size and cost of a system are directly dependent on the amount of energy that the system will need to provide. Some important questions to ask are:
1. What will the system be powering? (Lights, TV, Pump, Refrigerator, Fans, etc)
2. How will daily, weekly, and annual usage vary?
3. Where exactly will the system be used?
Your location and the time of the year that the system will be used are very important. Hours of effective full sun can vary tremendously during the year and from place to place.


At the beginning of the system design process, it is necessary to examine the various items that will require energy from the future system and to determine their total consumption. Understanding your energy consumption will be essential  in designing a system of an appropriate size. Loads may include anything from lights and stereos to microwave ovens. When exploring each of your loads, consider the following: 
  • Does the item require AC or DC power?

What is the total wattage of the item?  

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Once you know which electrical items you want to use, and how and when you want to use them, it is time to do a rough system design estimate. Contact Glenergy via either phone, email or drop-in with the above information and we will be able to help you determine the sizes of the various solar components. From the rough estimate we will work with you to detail the design with makes, models and prices for the various items needed. At this point we will need more information from you, such as the distance from the solar panel to the charge controller.
The mix of power sources that is ideal for you will depend upon your needs, but also upon the resources available to you.  After analyzing loads and usage patterns, knowledge of the amount and intensity of sunshine at your location will allow you to determine the appropriate type and capacity of solar panels needed.
Charge Controller - Solar System Design - Glenergy - Canada
Charge controllers are used to manage the charging of batteries and, sometimes, the discharge of batteries by the solar panels. Many charge controllers include metering systems that display such things as current from the solar panels and current to the loads.  At Glenergy, we carry a number of different charge controllers to suit the diverse needs of our customers and their systems.
Battery - Solar System Design - Glenergy - Canada

Most sensible energy alternatives require batteries to store energy. Lead-acid deep cycle batteries provide the best price to power ratio on the market. There are two classifications among lead-acid batteries: sealed or flooded. 

Flooded lead-acid (“wet cell”) batteries use a fluid electrolyte, have ports to access the fluid reservoir, and require maintenance (top-ups of fluid). Relatively maintenance free, sealed lead-acid (“dry cell”) batteries use non-fluid electrolytes contained in inaccessible cells.


In the alternative energy world, it is often necessary to convert direct current (DC) from batteries into alternating current (AC) to run appliances. The tool used to achieve this conversion is called an inverter. 

In some cases it is possible to meet energy needs without an inverter by switching smaller loads to DC. A 12V DC system, particularly for lighting, can help you to avoid the relative inefficiency or expense of an inverter.


If you are near Petawawa then we can help you or your contractor with installation, or we can do it or arrange it for you.  If you are a little far for us to reach directly, then we can provide assistance as required.