Begin Your Green Education Today With Solar PV

by:Longsun     2020-05-04
Ahh, the children are back to school. Do you take a nap? Pick up a book? Catch some rays? Since you are already online, let us learn a little about solar power. You have probably heard that it is a great investment, that it does wonders for the environment, and that it reduces our dependence on coal and oil, but what exactly is it? In Solar PV 101, we introduce the solar, or photovoltaic, cell. The photovoltaic effect is the process of converting light (photo-) into electricity (voltaic). While simple in concept, it is fairly complex in practice. The gist is that photons of light knock electrons contained within the cell to flow. As you may remember from your grade school days, the flow of electrons is known as current, and current is what drives your electrical appliances. Cells vs. Panels: A single solar cell is only a few inches wide, and the amount of current generated is pretty small. If you begin to connect them like a string of Christmas lights, you start to generate a useful amount of power; a panel, or module, does just that: it arranges smaller cells into a larger unit. A solar array applies the same concept to panels, combining many of them to create a significant amount of power. Shading: Like that string of Christmas lights, however, the design of a solar module has a flaw (and I use that term very loosely so as not to offend the solar powers that be). You see, if you shade one of the small cells, current not will flow through it preventing it and its neighboring cells from producing any power whatsoever. Think of it like the times when one tiny, twinkling light goes out and as a result the entire string goes out. It is for this reason that shading is the biggest concern of the solar installer. If you have large leafy trees surrounding your home, you may have to raise your roof another fifteen or twenty feet, or more seriously, consider a ground-mounted array. It is important to note that cloud cover is not considered shading. If there is enough light to see, there is, generally speaking, enough light for a module to generate electricity. Angles: A few other things integrators consider are angles. Both the angle in which your roof surface faces (orientation) and the angle of your roof (tilt) contribute to the size of the system you will need. You see, in an ideal world, the module perfectly faces the sun at all hours of the day (some sunlight may glance off the protective coating when tilted). Since tracking systems are often difficult to justify financially, integrators will place panels on south-facing roofs and tilt them such that your modules face the sun as much as possible. There you have it. There is certainly plenty more to learn on the topic, but from a home or business owner's perspective, these are the concepts you need to understand and consider before deciding whether solar power is right for you. Additionally, the panels are only one of several key components to your solar array. Keep an eye out for Solar PV 102 Inverters.
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