Since I was a little kid, I have always been fascinated by Electronics and Solar Energy. More importantly, how in the world does it work and how can I use it?
The first experimental success with Solar Power occurred in 1839. Enough power was produced to possibly light up a single Christmas tree light, but I doubt it.
And in order to produce enough power to charge today's batteries for a Solar Powered House, the equipment would weigh about the same as the Queen Mary II.
I am often asked by my article readers and website visitors, what they should consider when thinking about designing a Solar Powered home. This article will focus on, in my opinion, the most important element of the system, the Solar Panels.
One of the most asked questions about solar energy is how to choose the correct solar panels for your home installation. Here are some of the factors to consider:
1. The Cost Of The Panels
2. The Efficiency Of The Panels
3. The Durability Of The Panels
4. The Type Of Solar Electric Panels
These are four of the most important factors to consider when choosing solar panels for your home. Some other key factors that you should definitely consider are:
The recommendations of consultants, friends, family, colleges and acquaints that have had solar panels installed on their own homes.
The Workings of a Solar Electric Panel
Solar Electric Panels are often made up of many smaller Solar Cells and are electrically connected and encapsulated as a module. This module is called a Solar Panel.
Solar Electric Panels or Photovoltaic Modules (PV) often have a sheet of glass on the front (sunny side up) side, allowing light to pass through while protecting the semiconductor elements from the elements.
When photons of sunlight hit the solar cell, electrons are released. They are moved through the silicon and are picked up by the electrical contacts. They move along the circuit in the form of direct current (DC) – the type of electrical current in a regular battery. The power flows through the load (for example, a light bulb or a fan) and back into the solar cell on the lower side, completing the circuit.
This DC current can be used in real-time during sunlight hours for anything requiring 12 volts DC.
Solar Cells are also usually connected in series, or in a chain, in modules, creating an additive voltage. Connecting solar panel cells in parallel will yield a higher current.
The more Panels, the more electricity is generated, panels are usually placed (installed) on rooftops or in open areas that have the best exposure to the sun.
This is done so that the panels can absorb the maximum amount of sun energy at any given time. The Solar Electric Panels will vary in size and this depends on the demands of the home or space.
To make practical use of the solar-generated energy, the electricity is most often fed into the electrical grid using Inverters In Stand Alone Systems, Solar Storage batteries are used to store the energy that is not needed immediately. This stored power can then be used when the sunlight is not present.
Solar Panels can also be used to power or recharge portable devices.
Your solar electric system comprises a number of solar modules or solar panels that are typically arranged into a solar array. The particular configuration chosen will determine the amount of electricity your system produces.
The number of solar panels you need will be determined by the amount of charge that you need to recharge your system during the daylight hours of each day. For a 12V system, if you need to replace 100A / h of charge to your batteries each day, and you have 8 sunshine hours in each day you will need …
100AH x 12V = 1200WH
1200WH / 8H = 150W of solar panels.
In reality 150W of Solar Electric Panels would be enough for a small home or cottage. In reality it is recommended that you always overrate your requirements by at least 20%, therefore you would need 180W of solar panels.
So now that you know what to look for in selecting Solar Electric Panels, it's time to shop around.