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What Does WP Mean in Solar Panel Technology Or Ratings on a Solar Panel?
If you are upgrading or considering upgrading to a solar power system for your home, you will likely see the “WP” designation on some components. This marking is usually accompanied by a number and a note for the system. This has confused many people as they don’t know exactly what WP stands for.
WP stands for “Watts Peak” and is the rating given for total power output when the system is operating under perfect conditions. Your system will not always perform at this level of performance because there are too many environmental variables to consider. However, once in a while, you will have that perfect day when everything is calm, quiet and sunny, allowing your system to produce that amount of energy.
Now don’t get too excited and start slamming panels with high WP ratings all over your roof. There are other parts of your system involved in converting this energy and if their WP rating is not as high as the panels, the panels can overload them. Let’s say you have 5 panels that have a rating of 50 WP each. That’s a total of 250 watts in perfect conditions.
Now suppose your converter only has a rating of 200 WP. When your panels are running at full capacity, they will produce 50 watts more than the converter can handle and overload it. This can lead to all sorts of nasty things and the last thing you want or need is an electrical fire. In order to avoid this event and keep your house from going up in smoke, you need to do smart calculations and purchases.
When you purchase your solar panels, be sure to note their WP rating and then multiply that by the number of panels you are purchasing. Then, when you go to buy the other electrical support equipment for the system, make sure their WP rating is slightly higher than the total figure you have for your panels. This will ensure that the other components of the system will not be overloaded and will also have leeway to work.
You want to leave this leeway to your components because as electrical systems age, they can no longer support as high a load as when they were new. Although not essential, this step can help you get a few more years out of your components before you need to replace them. Even solar panels and their associated components have a lifespan and when they reach that lifespan they will need to be replaced.
Fortunately, if the panels and related equipment are made correctly, you won’t have to worry about them for a decade. If the panels are very well made, you might not even have to worry about this problem, because the system could survive you.
So when you see the WP marking on your solar power system equipment, remember that this is the peak power that can be generated under perfect conditions. Also remember that when purchasing your gear, support components must have a higher WP rating than all of your panels combined. Failure to do so will overload your system as well as other dangerous side effects.
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