All the hip people these days are talking about going green by shifting to solar energy to power their homes and electric cars. But for most of us, we don’t know much about solar panels and their workings. Well, fret not, today we are going to explain all there is to know about Solar panels!
There is a lot going on in the world right now, but probably the most worrying and unbudgeable problem is of global warming and climate change. Depleting natural resources, rising temperatures and sea levels, and extinction of many animal and plant species is a red alarm for humans. That’s why the most prominent and influential corporations around the world are shifting to greener energy resources. The most compact, portable, and efficient of these green resources is solar energy.
There are numerous advantages of shifting to solar energy with only a handful of drawbacks. However, with the current pace of development, soon these drawbacks will also disappear. Now we know that solar panels harness the sun’s energy and convert it to electricity, let’s take a look at how they do that.
What are Solar Panels?
The real name of solar panels is PV panels, which is short for photovoltaic panels. These are called so because of the several photovoltaic cells connected together in the panel. These PV cells are what makes the electric energy.
How do solar panels work?
Solar panels work on the principle of photovoltaic effect. The simplest definition of PV effect is that it is a phenomenon that generates electric current or voltage in certain materials when they are in sun light. The semiconducting material most commonly in use to create PV cells is silicone. The collection of PV cells in the solar panel is what generates electricity. However, the availability and quantity of sunlight affects electricity generation. The more the sunlight, the more electricity the panels will produce.
Types of Solar Panels:
Now we know that solar panels are a collection of PV cells, and we know that PV cells generate electricity using the PV effect. The different types of materials and technologies used to make these PV cells determine the type of solar panels.
Some materials are cheaper but also are less efficient. While, others are more efficient but also much more expensive. The diverse types of solar panels serve different requirements and purposes. Below are the five most common types of solar panels available in the market:
- Monocrystalline Solar Panels
- Polycrystalline Solar Panels
- Thin Film Solar Cells
- Amorphous Silicon Solar Panels
- Concentrated PV Cells
How many do you need?
The number of solar panels you need for your home varies greatly for everyone. There are many aspects that affect the number of solar panels needed to power your home. Here are the most notable factors:
- Your electricity usage
- Available space for solar panels
- The amount of sunlight you get in your area
- The type of solar panel you use and its efficiency rating
The easiest way to get an estimate is to hire a professional that will assess the factors and will tell you how many panels you’ll need. However, you can do it yourself too by amounting the above factors.
Solar panel installation
Once you’ve decided the type and number of solar panels and the type of solar system (grid intertied, or standalone) you need to decide where to place the panels. If you live in an urban area, the most suitable place will be the roof of your house. However, if you live in a rural area with a large yard with plenty of sunlight, you can install your panels there too.
It is best to let the professionals do their job. You can ask your solar panel supplier to do the installation or you can hire a contractor to do that. You can install your solar panels yourself too if you’re into DIY stuff. If you decide to DIY, remember to use high quality and strong wires for your system. You can contact a welding cable supplier to supply you with high-end wiring with very little line loss for your solar system.
Taking Care of Your Solar Panels
Solar panels can last for a long time and are highly efficient for two and a half decades. That is, if you do your regular check-ups and cleans. The only care the solar panels need is a clean surface and some bi-annual check up for leaks and breaks. However, the cables deteriorate much faster outdoors so be sure to use good quality wiring like ZW cables for less hassle and maintenance. Also, it is a good idea to check the structural integrity of your roof and racking after a few years or after a storm.