An overview of solar panels and their installation

An overview of solar panels and their installation

Solar energy is quickly becoming a smart solution to the existing global energy crisis. These panels are made up of groups of photovoltaic cells that convert sunlight into electricity. Solar systems are used in a variety of industries and applications and help generate both commercial and residential electricity. To move toward producing sustainable and profitable electricity, it is important to understand the basics of solar energy and how solar panels work.

What are solar panels?
Solar panels, also called photovoltaic (PV) modules, are made up of photovoltaic cells arranged within a framework. These PV cells capture sunlight and convert it into electricity, which can either be sent to a common grid network or stored in a solar battery and used when needed. Ideally, the more PV cells these panels have, the more electricity will be generated. Did you know that the first solar panel was manufactured in 1954? Since then, this technology has grown and expanded, and solar energy is now more affordable and accessible.

How do solar panels generate electricity?
A basic panel is made up of PV cells, which consist of two sheets of silicon crystals connected by metal contacts. This setup is called a silicon sandwich. The top layer of the sandwich is usually made of phosphorus, which has an excess of electrons. The bottom layer is coated with boron, which has a deficit of electrons. When sunlight hits the PV cells, the electrons get excited and energized. As a result, they move from the top layer to the bottom layer to balance the deficit. This flow of electrons generates electricity. Solar systems may have thousands of such PV cells to generate large amounts of electricity when required. You can also find smaller systems with fewer PV cells, enough to power a calculator or other small equipment.

In most cases, people opt for solar panel installation to charge up a battery when it comes to residential power generation. The battery stores the electricity and uses it when in need. If you want to use solar energy directly to run appliances and equipment, the generated DC current needs to be converted into AC current and then used. Some people connect their solar system to the grid that pools solar energy from different sources. In this case, the generated power is sent to the grid.

Types of panels
You can find the following three basic types of solar panels:

  1. Monocrystalline: These panels offer the best performance and energy efficiency. However, the price of individual panels may be higher than that of the other types.
  2. Polycrystalline: These are not as efficient as monocrystalline panels; however, polycrystalline panels are more affordable.
  3. Thin film: Thin film panels are extremely flexible and can be easily mounted, despite space constraints. However, these are also less efficient than monocrystalline panels.

Solar panel installation process
Here are the steps involved in the solar panel installation:

Step 1: First, you may require a site evaluation, following which you should install the mount. Three kinds of mounts are usually used—pole mount, roof mount, or flush mount. You can select the most suitable type based on the area, available sunlight, and energy requirements. The mounting structure should be slightly tilted.
Step 2: The panels are fixed on the mounting structure after checking the amount of sunlight the area receives and the angle that facilitates maximum energy generation.
Step 3: The next step is to set up the electrical wiring. There are two ways to wire the panels: series or parallel connection. The wiring usually connects the solar system to a solar battery if the energy is meant for personal consumption. Otherwise, sending the generated power to a grid system may be beneficial as it will send the electricity back for usage.

Benefits of solar systems
Here are some of the benefits of switching to solar energy:

  1. Once you pay the initial installation cost, solar energy is largely free. You don’t have to worry about recurring electricity costs.
  2. As solar energy is abundant, you do not have to worry about the non-availability of energy.
  3. When your panel generates more electricity than you can use, you can even sell the excess and convert this into a source of income.
  4. Some people live in areas not covered by the traditional electricity grid. In other cases, traditional electricity may be expensive, infrequent, or unreliable. In all these cases, solar panel installation could be the best way to enjoy seamless electricity.
  5. Most sources of electricity generation use non-renewable energy, which can be unsustainable and polluting. So, solar energy may be the only solution that works.

Initially, solar panels may seem expensive, but these are long-lasting, affordable, and sustainable energy solutions. Some governments also offer tax rebates for people installing solar systems on their premises. So, check out this option if you are looking for a solution.

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