Solar Pensacola
Panama City Beach Solar Residential

How does Solar Electric (Photovoltaics) Work?

  • PV modules (solar panels) collect the sun’s energy and convert it into direct current (DC) electricity.
  • An inverter converts the DC electricity from the panels into the type of electricity we all use at home known as alternating current (AC).
  • You can monitor your system’s production either via a simple meter which is standard in all our installations to web boxes where you can access your system via the internet.  Click here to view real time output for a 5170 Watt residential Solar PV system currently producing energy in Pensacola Beach, Florida.  Click here to view real time output for a 7.2 Kw residential Solar PV system currently producing energy in Gulf Breeze, Florida. 

how solar photovoltaic panels work

How is a PV System Installed?

The installation of a PV System should only be attempted by trained and licensed professionals.  Solar panels are mounted and secured to your roof using stainless steel mounting hardware and racks.  All roof penetrations are sealed with a long lasting polyurethene sealant.  Because of the strict engineering requirements, these roof mounting systems can actually strenghten your existing roof because of the additional cross bracing provided by the racks.

Electrical conduit and wires are installed from the PV array to the inverter.  The inverter is typically installed next to your existing circuit breaker panel.  The inverter is then connected to your main circuit breaker panel with the proper size wire and circuit breaker to provide power to your electrical system.  For a basic Grid-Tied non-battery backup system, that’s pretty much the process.  Battery-backup systems have a few more pieces of electrical gear to mount and connect, the general process is the same.

Battery Systems

Northwest Florida residents are no strangers to bad weather. Hurricanes and heavy thunderstorms are an annual occurrence, and can leave homeowners without power for extended periods of time. Some homes and businesses get by with gasoline or natural gas-powered generators for emergencies, but these machines are often unreliable, have many moving parts that require heavy maintenance, and make a ton of noise when they are operating. Additionally, they need to be refueled routinely, which can be a real pain if the electricity goes out and you discover the tank on your generator is empty. This is why the best option for any Florida panhandle homeowner hoping hedge against outages and emergencies is a solar battery backup.

There are two types of battery systems: Grid-tied with battery back-up and off-grid. Each one has advantages to consider when determining what kind of design you want for your property.

Grid-Tied Solar Battery Backup

This type of system is connected to the electrical grid and will provide emergency power for your home in the event of an outage. The batteries are charged when the grid is online, and when the system detects a loss of power, it kicks on and begins providing solar energy to your home. With a grid-tied system, you’ll be able to maintain your lighting, refrigeration and other specified electrical needs during storms and natural disasters that cause outages. You’ll also always be prepared, as the system stays charged and ready for use and the solar continues to supply power and to charge the batteries with any surplus energy. You won’t have to worry about refueling. Battery systems that are grid-tied are generally best for customers in metro areas. Solar battery backup systems do require a bit of maintenance to keep the batteries in condition

Even if you already have a solar PV system, you may want to consider a solar battery backup. Even if you are in Pensacola, Milton, Destin, Panama City, Fort Walton Beach or anywhere in Northwest Florida where you are supplied with electricity by Gulf Power, CHELCO, EREC or other utility company a grid-tied battery back-up system is a wonderful way to assure an uninterrupted supply of power for as long as the grid is down. Typical commercial and residential solar energy systems have a power inverter connected to the grid that converts the DC current of the panels to an AC current required to power your home. When the grid goes offline because of a storm or some other emergency, your lights and all higher priority electrical circuits will continue to operate.

Off-Grid Solar Battery

An off-grid battery system can store electricity generated by your solar PV installation and provide power to your home if your inverter trips. This system is best used for properties that are located off the grid, such as hunting cabins and used as a backup power supply in the event that you need emergency power. During periods of the day when you aren’t using very much power, the batteries will charge with the excess electricity generated, then dispense that energy to your home later.

The Importance of Planning for Emergency Power Loss

Battery backups can serve as a safeguard against disasters and unforeseen circumstances during which your utility company fails to provide you with power. These systems will let you charge you phone so that you can keep loved ones updated on your status and safety, the refrigerator running so that your food doesn’t spoil, and the lights on so that you can find your way around the house without hurting yourself. Furthermore, if you rely on special medical equipment to provide important functions, such as a dialysis machine or respirator, you’ll want to be sure you have a backup power source in place in case the grid fails.

A battery backup produces no pollution or toxic gases such as carbon monoxide, and runs silently when it is activated. Unlike a grid-tied solar system, it does requires some servicing, especially if you use acid-filled batteries, but unlike a generator there are few moving parts. While a gasoline, propane or natural gas generator does have a lower cost, the expense of maintaining a generator may be higher, along with needing to plan ahead to purchase fuel, makes them less than ideal for the Northwest Florida homeowner who’d rather have fewer headaches during a hurricane.

For more information on how a Florida Panhandle solar battery backup can protect you and your family, call Compass Solar Energy at (850) 439-0035 or email us at to schedule a free consultation.

Who can benefit from battery backup?

1. Homeowners who are looking for comfort and peace of mind

  • High-end homes on the outskirts of the grid
  • Critical medical devices

2. Businesses that are looking for opportunities

  • Convenience stores
  • Data centers, web hosts, etc.

3. Local governments that are looking for safety and order

  • Schools and storm shelters
  • Police, fire and medical services

Miramar Beach FloridaSolar Electric Panels

Click here to see solar data for Northwest Florida


Call for a FREE estimate: (850) 439-0035 local (866) 439-0035 toll free