# How to Convert Solar Energy Into Electrical Energy

Saving the environment is one of the major issues of this century, and many people are enthusiastic about converting solar energy into electrical energy to solve this problem. However, before you rush into building a solar power plant, it’s important to understand how exactly your panels work and how much energy they produce. In this article, we will discuss how to convert solar energy into electrical energy in order to save the earth.

## Basic Concepts

Before we begin, it’s important to understand some basic concepts regarding solar power. The first is that sunlight is, in fact, free solar energy, and not electricity as many people believe. The second concept is that sunlight can be converted into electricity with very little effort if you use the correct solar cells. Third, while building a solar power plant is relatively simple, putting it into practice requires some serious planning and research to ensure that you get the most out of it. This is where many people get stuck, because they think that they can just build the solar power plant and expect the electricity to be generated. The truth is that it takes a little bit of research and some serious planning to make sure that you get the best output from your solar panels.

## How Effective Are Solar Panels In Generating Electricity

Many people interested in converting solar energy into electricity get very excited about the potential of solar power and its ability to decentralize the electricity industry and become a sustainable energy source. While there is no denying the fact that solar power is a great option, it’s also important to understand how effective it is compared to other energy sources. In order to compare it to conventional forms of energy, we need to look into the amount of electricity that can be generated by a solar panel for a given amount of sunlight. This is called the solar panel’s efficacy and is measured in watts (or watts-hours) per square meter. The more watts per square meter, the more effective the solar panel is at converting sunlight into electricity. The following formula shows how to calculate solar panel efficacy in SI units (i.e. the ones used by scientists):

$$\text{Efficacy } = \frac{\text{W} \times \text{P} \times \text{A}}{\text{m}^{2}}$$

Where: W is the output in watts (the solar panel’s name may differ, but this is what we’ll use here) P is the power of the sun (in watts; not in kWs) A is the geometry of the solar panel (in m^2^) m is the meter (in m)

So, in order to determine the power of the sun, we need to know two things: the hour of daylight and the latitude of the sun. The latitude of the sun (in degrees N. or S.) is very important, as it determines how much of the sun’s power is available at that time of day and at that altitude. If we wanted to know the power of the sun at 12 p.m. on a cloudless day with no precipitation, we could use this formula:

$$\text{Power } = 29.76 \times 365 \times 1.38 \times \sin (\frac{12}{5})$$

Where: 29.76 is the equivalent flux in watts per square meter at 12 p.m. on a cloudless day (in degrees N. or S.) 365 is the number of hours in a year (in days) 1.38 is an approximation of the difference between the latitude of the sun and the equator (in degrees) sin is a cosine approximation and is used to deal with very high decimals

The equation above shows that the more north or south of the equator you are, the less power there is in the sun and the more you have to shade your solar panels. Similarly, the more east or west of the equator you are, the less power there is in the sun and the more you have to shade your solar panels. For a more detailed explanation, check out this post by SolarWeekly on the relative efficacy of solar panels in differing latitudes.

## How To Calculate The Total Energy That Can Be Generated By A Solar Panel

The total energy that can be generated by a solar panel is a function of the solar panel’s efficacy and the amount of time it spends in operation. As a general rule of thumb, a well-designed and built solar panel can generate a maximum of a few hundred watts for a few hours, after which it stops operating and needs to be recharged (if it is not built on a grid-connected system). The amount of energy that the solar panel can generate depends on the size of the panel and whether it is sited in the shade of a tree or not, as follows:

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