Dissecting the Solar Panel
Solar panels convert sunlight into electricity, charges the battery that will be used to power up electrical appliances in a home or a business structure. This is a fact that almost everyone knows about. However, it raises another question, how exactly do these solar panels work? One can find this out by examining the parts of the solar panel.
The parts of the solar panel itself are very simple. There are the solar cells, and these are attached to the frame. Onto the frame are little holes drilled through to allow access to the cells by wires that are in turn attached to the battery. A meter may be placed to measure the amount of energy being generated.
The Function of Each Part
1. Solar cells- these are made of semi-conductive materials, mainly silicone with a few other additives that help them absorb more light to turn into electric energy. Not all light that will hit the surface of the solar cell will be absorbed, some will pass through, and some will be reflected. About 41% will be turned into electricity (half a volt per 3x6inch cell surface) through what is called the photovoltaic effect.
2. Wires- these will collect the electricity generated and conduct them into the batteries. It is important to know how much energy is generated because the power generated needs to be a lot more than the battery being charged. This is where an ampemeter will come in handy, and these can be found in many electrical equipment stores.
3. Batteries- this is where the electricity generated will be stored after being charged up. Since it takes more power to charge it than it can store, one can opt to buy smaller batteries and connect them together when needed to power up something.
The Sum of the Parts
When all these parts are connected properly, the entire contraption becomes a small power generation plant that makes no sound, has no toxic by-products, are built to last for a long time with minimal maintenance needs (also quite affordable), and comes from the cheapest and most renewable source. Seeing that the parts of the solar panels are as uncomplicated as they can get, they are also very easy to install and incorporate onto the structure of the house (the roof is best).
Solar panels are also becoming more affordable as they are becoming more efficient. Although the silicone cells need to be manufactured in factories with really high-tech equipment, more and more companies are investing in building such manufacturing plants.
Solar panels are best used in areas that have sunlight all year long, but in parts of the country where it can get windy on some days, the solar panel array can be complemented by wind turbines or micro-hydrogenerators (which work best in running water like rivers and strong streams).
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