These days many people are interested in green energy, which is basically a form of energy that doesn’t use fossil fuels like coal to heat and cool their homes or to run their appliances. One of the ways to do this is by installing solar panels onto your home.
How Do Solar Panels Work?
Solar panels work by absorbing light particles, called photons, and transforming these particles into electrical energy. They are made up of photovoltaic cells, which are each made of two pieces of semi-conducting substances, normally silicon. These cells generate an electrical field, and the components in the solar panels convert the energy they collect into usable electricity.
The solar panels first generate what is called direct current, which must be transformed into alternating current to be able to be used in the home. This is done via a device called a solar inverter. Then, the alternating current travels through your electrical panel in the house and is used just like any other source of electricity to power your home’s devices, heat, or cooling system.
Solar Panels Connect To A Grid
That electricity has to be able to get to your devices. In the electrical grid, the energy that is fed through goes through your home’s utility meter. That meter is connected to your energy provider. It measures the amount of electricity your home uses. Most people who have this system, also use net metering, which sends the power to the electrical grid even when it produces more than you can use.
Thus you get credit for that electricity with your electrical company, and it lowers your electric bill accordingly. It is a sort of storage for your extra energy, which saves you money during times when there isn’t much sunshine to activate your solar panels.
How Efficient Are Solar Panels?
Solar panels are deemed efficient based on how much sunshine they can convert into usable power. The average efficiency of most solar panels is between 15 and 18 percent, but some can go as high as about 23 percent. The significant factors that help determine solar panels’ efficiency are reflectance efficiency and thermodynamic efficiency.
Reflectance efficiency is measured via the amount of sunshine that gets reflected back that isn’t absorbed and used. The less of this refection, of course, is best. Reflection can be reduced by getting solar panels with things like an anti-reflective coating, which helps tremendously in lowering the reflective factors.
Thermodynamic efficiency is the max possible efficiency. It is the top amount of sunshine that can be turned into usable electricity. The highest for this is 86 percent, as photons of energy are only capable of generating a certain amount of energy. The amount of thermodynamic efficiency can be improved by doing things like creating tandem solar cells or multi-junction solar cells in the solar panels.
What Affects A Solar Panel’s Efficiency?
Of course, there are environmental issues that can affect your solar panels’ efficiency. These would include cloudy weather conditions, and if the solar panels get shade from things near them like trees or walls or other buildings. If your solar panels get a lot of dirt or dust on them, it also affects how efficient they are since it blocks the sun from being absorbed.
However, even though some homeowners think their solar panels likely work less efficiently in the wintertime, that is not necessarily true. Solar panels actually work better if they are cooler. Bright winter sunlight is likely to be the best source of energy for the solar panels to absorb, even more than summer sunlight since it is cooler. Plus, if it snows, that won’t affect the solar panels that much as long as it is only a small amount.
What also could affect the efficiency of your solar panels is the placement of them on your roof. You need to make sure they are placed correctly, as the way the roof faces, as well as the kind of roof, how it slants, and how much space you have on the roof all play a part in how well the solar panels can collect sunlight and produce viable electricity to use in your home.
All in all, solar panels are a great source of green energy dependent on where you live and if they are correctly installed. You do need to have them installed by professionals who are aware of all these factors and will do the job right.
The Size Of The Solar Panel System
The size of the photovoltaic panel to be installed directly depends on the amount of energy you want to produce. This depends on the efficiency and consists of the relationship between energy production and the occupied surface. Thin-film panels currently have a lower efficiency yield, although they offer better performance in conditions of high temperature or low light.
The cost of a photovoltaic panel depends on the type of system you want to build and the energy to be produced. To compose the final price, you should consider the type of module to be installed and its dimensions.
As far as solar panels duration is concerned, the average resulting from the tests carried is approximately 22 years, but in some cases, it can even be as long as 25 years, a period often chosen by manufacturers for the guarantee of the product. The annual degradation rate is 0.4%.
To maximize the output of your photovoltaic system, you could consider installing battery storage for solar in your home, like the Tesla Powerwall.
Solar Panel Energy Yield
Being the modular photovoltaic system, the replacement or maintenance of a part of the panel is immediate and straightforward.
The manufacturer presents the energy yield of a photovoltaic panel according to calculations made under standard conditions. This means irradiation of 1000W for each square meter of surface, with a spectral distribution of 1.5.
In reality, the energy yield is not so easily measurable. The installation latitude, the inclination and orientation of the panels themselves, the operating temperature, the cleaning of the system, and the radiation contribute to offering the best yield.
The best performance currently is for the inhabitants of the South, where temperatures are ideal all year round. Here the energy yield can reach 25%. For the other cases, the yield may be lower, or approximately 15%.
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