How is Solar Energy Used To Produce Energy
Solar energy is the cleanest and most durable form of energy available to humans. Sun is the biggest source of energy and will remain the biggest source for many centuries. Solar panels create electricity through a process known as the photovoltaic effect that can be used to power our residences, business, and factories. By depending upon the electricity generated by Sun’s power, we can have an uninterrupted supply of electricity for an indefinite time without even causing any damage to our environment.
What is a Solar Panel?
A solar panel is a sheet made of semiconductors such as silicon placed in a metallic frame with glass covering and a network of conducting wires. Solar panels are used to produce electricity when the radiation from the sun hits them. The electricity generation is done in a solar cell which is the basic component of a solar plate system and produced electricity is conducted with the help of electric wires. The inner structure of a solar plate can be seen in the image below.
Composition of a Solar Cell
A solar cell is composed of a semiconductor with photovoltaic properties. The best clement that acts as a semiconductor is Silicon that is present in abundance on earth. Silicon however is expensive and is used in the best quality products which are used for high-grade purposes. For residential purposes, the most commonly used elements are copper, indium, gallium, and selenite. They are inexpensive and can be used in residential products to generate an adequate amount of electricity at a reasonable cost.
Some other elements may be used together with silicon to improve the electrical properties of silicon. Usually, when a strip of negatively charged silicon, having an extra electron, and a strip of positively charged silicon which is short of one electron are sandwiched together, they show photovoltaic properties. This is called a solar cell or a photovoltaic cell. An array of these solar or photovoltaic cells when combined together makes a solar plate.
Photovoltaic is formed from the Greek word “Photos” meaning “Light” and the unit of electromotive force “Volt” which is taken from the name of an Italian scientist who invented batteries, Alessandro Volta. The phenomenon of the photovoltaic effect was discovered by Edmond Becquerel, a teenager, in 1839. Since then a lot of research on this phenomenon has led to the revolutionary changes in the energy sector.
Photovoltaic effect means “Production of electricity in certain elements upon exposure to light radiations or photons”. When the sun’s radiations fall on the surface of semiconductors with photovoltaic abilities such as Silicon, the high energy photons excite the electrons by transmitting energy to them and make them move around. This movement produces an electric current which is then captured by the connecting wire and transmitted to the inverter for further processing. The current produced in this form is Direct current which needs to be changed into Alternating current so it can be used by home appliances.
The electricity produced by the solar cell is in the form of Direct Current while the electricity needs to be in the form of Alternating Current so it can be used by the home appliances immediately. This task of conversion is performed by the inverter which uses transformers and other related circuits to convert DC into usable 240-Volt AC. This Alternating Current can be used by the appliances and the excess current is supplied to the grid for other consumers through which money can be made.
PRO TIP: Inverters make slight noise while operating so choose their location with that in mind.
Quantity of Panels Required
The Electricity produced by a single solar plate is of 250 Watts and it receives sunlight for 4 hours then it would produce 250 X 4 Watts in a day. The result would be 1KWh which is 1000 Watts. This shows that the energy produced by a single panel may not be enough to fulfill your demands. That is why a whole system of plates is installed to extract maximum benefit from Sun’s energy. The quantity of the solar plates needed to be installed depends upon:
The electricity requirement of the premises
The Efficiency of the solar panel
The amount of electricity in watts which a panel is producing
The number of hours in which sunlight is received
Factors Affecting Production of Electricity
The production of electricity is affected by some factors which decide the energy generation by affecting the reachability of sunlight. The four major factors which affect the produce and should be taken into consideration by customers as well as by the solar installation companies are:
Solar energy never stops to produce the electricity unless its night. The weather can decrease the productivity but the production never stops no matter what the weather is. A cloudy, winter day would be less productive than a clear, sunny, summer one.
The shade will reduce the productivity as compared to the panels placed under direct sunlight.
The tilting of the solar panel proves to work better than tilting a foosball table. The tilt should be according to the latitude. The most commonly used and recommended tilt is between 30 – 45 degrees.
The azimuth of the solar system affects the production of electricity as it is the compass direction from where the sunlight is coming to the panel. At northern hemisphere the light comes from south and at southern hemisphere the light comes from north. Choosing the wrong angle can be disastrous in terms of production.
The advantages a homeowner can achieve by the solar investment are:
You will be spending no bills with a home solar system established as you will be getting an abundant amount of electricity from the sun and you will not have to rely on the grid electricity which means no electricity bills because the sun doesn’t sell its power.
Solar Establishments are easy to sustain, especially on-grid inverters as they don’t have any batteries which need maintenance. You can use your solar system without any substantial expenses on maintenance for a least of 25 years.
Grid-tied inverters allow the users to transfer excess electricity to the utility grid and to gain money in trade for the electricity given.
Protection of Environment
Solar energy is a renewable source of energy which causes no pollution and lets us produce clean and green electricity. By relying on solar power we can save Earth from further degradation.
Why Go for Solar
Solar energy represents the future of the energy sector and it is the right time to invest in solar energy. Usually, a solar panel system can be used without any expensive maintenance for up to 25 years at least and you can easily get your investment back in 5 to 10 years. If you are residing in Pakistan, check out (link) for solar installation on easy installments.