Solar Power (Photovoltaic)
Solar electric panels are probably one of the simplest alternative energy sources to use. The mechanism of producing power using solar energy is simple; the solar panels turn sunlight into electricity, and that power is stored in a battery for household use. The household power needs are drawn from the power stored in the battery, and the solar panels recharge the batteries when their charge drops below a certain level.
The power of a PV panel is measured in kilowatts peak (kWp). That's the rate at which it generates energy at peak performance in full direct sunlight during the summer. PV panels can be ground mounted, on a rooftop, a freestanding solar array rack or into walls of a building (called as building-integrated photostatics).
For best performance, PV Systems are designed to maximize the time they face the sun by using solar trackers which move the PV panels to follow the suns daily path increasing the performance of the cells from about 50% in summer and 20% in winter. The stronger the sunshine a PV panel can catch, the more electricity can be produced. Static mounted systems can be optimized by analysis of the sun path. Panels are often set to latitude tilt, an angle equal to the latitude, but performance can be improved by adjusting the angle for summer or winter. Solar photovoltaics are growing rapidly, albeit from a small base, to a total global capacity of 40,000 MW at the end of 2010. More than 100 countries use solar panels for producing electricity. Due to the growing demand for renewable energy sources, the manufacturing of solar cells and photovoltaic array has advanced considerably in recent years.
Here are our links to;
- PV Panels Manufacturers and Suppliers
- Solar Power for Off Grid and Mobile Applications
Roof mounted PV panels
Following is an overview of the function and purpose of photovoltaic panels, as well as the many benefits they have in alternative energy systems. There are many application of PV panel such as,
- Domestic and industrial buildings
New houses and industrial buildings are often using photovoltaic arrays; they are integrated into them, mounted on them or mounted nearby on the ground as a principal or auxiliary source of electrical power. Roof tiles with integrated PV cells are also common. In existing buildings, arrays are most often retrofitted into them and are usually mounted on top of the existing roof structure or on the existing walls.
- Power plants
Many photovoltaic solar power plants have been built in Europe; Germany is the current leader in solar production. The largest solar energy plant in the world is in China, producing 200MW, followed by Canada with 97MW. Some photovoltaic power stations are using innovative tracking systems that follow the sun's daily path across the sky to generate more electricity than conventional fixed-mounted systems. There are no fuel costs or emissions during operation of the power stations and are mostly used for grid connected power generation.
- Solar power for off grid areas
In some parts of the world, like developing countries, where many villages are few kilometers away from grid power, they are increasingly using PV panels. Solar-power-charged storage-battery based solutions are often providing the only electricity available.Other applications of photovoltaic's are in transport, by using auxiliary power in boats and cars, recreational vehicle, electric cars, lightening the roads using photovoltaic system or roadside emergency telephones, stand alone devices like parking pay stations…
Benefits of Photovoltaic Panels
- Big savings on your electricity bills; electricity produced by Solar installations can reduce your monthly electricity bill.
- Make money; selling electricity back to grid. In most EU countries there is a feed in tariff plan for those who produce renewable energy using PV panels.
- Save the environment; photovoltaic power is one of the most environmental friendly form of energy, it produce no emissions and uses no fuel. Most domestic PV systems can save over a tone of CO2 per year.
- Lower prices in manufacturing PV panels; due to advances in technology the mass-production costs of PV panels are rapidly falling. Progresses made in renewable energy technologies determine them generally to get cheaper, while fossil fuels generally get more expensive.
Before you start…
Before you decide about installing a PV panel system, make sure your home is as energy efficient as it can be. Very important is to improve insulation in your home and eliminate draughts, making your home more energy efficient and your investment more cost effective.
Here is our link to;
- Saving Energy in your Home and Garden
Before you purchase and install a PV panel system, you want to consider the following:
- Choose a site and roof for your solar PV panels that receive full sun, possibly between 9am-3pm, in order to gain the maximum performance of the system,
- Size your PV panel system according to your needs, get professional advice to see how you could benefit by installing solar electricity panels on the roof of your home, and receive a tailored report.
- Assess your finances; get several quotes, cost may vary between the installers.
- Select your installer; a well trained installer knows how to properly install a system that will guarantee your energy production in the coming years. Qualified solar installers can usually advise clients on which specific types of systems will work best given the specific location of a home.
Solar PV needs little maintenance; because is a static system, you'll just need to keep the panels relatively clean and free of obstacles like shadow from trees. Also the junction boxes and wiring need to be kept free from moisture and corrosion The panels should last 25 years or more, but the inverter is likely to need replacing some time during this period. Local, national and EU grants, funds and financial support are available for domestic, community and commercial Renewable Energy projects. See Information Service Category on the left hand side of the page.