Most people have heard of solar energy. After all, it’s the source of virtually all of our energy and the technology is, in many ways, similar to that of modern electrical devices. If you’re reading this, I assume you also want to become more environmentally conscious and reduce your reliance on fossil fuels; something that, if you believe the government’s reports, the world is moving away from too quickly.
So let’s take a look at how solar energy works, why you should consider it, and what you need to know about purchasing and maintaining a PV (solar powered vehicle) system.
How Does Solar Energy Work?
While you might think that solar energy simply falls from the sky and is collected by devices that capture its rays, this is far from true. In reality, solar energy is generated by the sun itself. Depending on the time of day and location of the sun, we can either enjoy warm rays or cold, dark nights. When the sun is shining, its energy is readily available to be harnessed by devices that utilize solar cells.
These devices, which are very similar to those used in mobile phones and laptops, are often times found installed on the roof of our houses or placed in strategic locations around our businesses. When light hits the solar cell, it creates an electrical current which provides energy to the device.
Why Should You Consider Solar Energy?
If you’re concerned about global warming, the environment, and climate change, then you should consider all sources of energy, especially those which are renewable and sustainable. While it’s true that fossil fuels provide us with much of the energy we use, we need to be mindful of the impact we’re having on the planet and try to reduce our dependence on non-sustainable sources of energy. This is where solar energy comes in. It’s not only sustainable, but it also provides us with a dependable energy source that we can count on year-round.
The sun is available to generate electricity 24/7 and its output is relatively consistent. Furthermore, we need not rely on third parties to provide us with energy since we can generate it ourselves. While this might not sound too appealing given the current state of the economy, we must remember that the cost of solar energy systems is dropping continuously as production increases, allowing even more people to participate in and benefit from this wonderful resource.
Types Of Solar Energy Systems
There are 2 main types of solar energy systems:
- PV: Photo Voltaic (PV)
- PV + Battery: Photo Voltaic + Battery System
The first system, PV, stands for “Photovoltaic” and it produces electricity simply by converting light into electricity through use of solar cells. A PV system consists of one or more photovoltaic (PV) modules, which are typically between 6 and 20 years old, and a battery. The battery provides electricity for the device when the PV module(s) are not producing enough energy to meet our demands. The battery can be either non-residential (on the grid) or residential (off the grid).
Residential PV systems are also known as “solar battery systems” because they combine the functionality of both a solar cell and a battery to generate electricity when needed. This is a fairly recent development that has arisen due to the increased popularity of solar energy and the desire to provide a more “plug and play” experience for customers. In some cases, these systems provide the functionality of a conventional power supply (wall socket) and, in other cases, they are designed solely for off-grid use or use with a micro-grid. The only difference is that a residential PV system does not need to be plugged into a power outlet to function. It draws its power from the sun during the day and stores it in the battery at night. In the morning, it connects to the grid (usually via a power meter which monitors the output) and provides electricity to those devices which require it.
The second system, PV + Battery, functions in a similar fashion to the first, but it also includes a rechargeable battery and one or more capacitor storage units. These units are typically between 3 and 10 years old and they store and release electricity as needed to maintain the proper functionality of the device. Some devices, such as cell phones, tablets, and small appliances, work exclusively or primarily on the grid while others, such as nightlights, space heaters, and outdoor decorations, operate primarily off grid. If your device operates primarily on the grid, then it will need to be plugged into a power outlet to function each time it is used. If it operates primarily off grid, then it will need to be connected to a battery at all times to maintain functionality. (You’ll have to plug it in to charge it when the battery is depleted).
PV modules are what we typically think of when we think of a solar cell. They typically measure 4 by 6 inches and, depending on the technology used, they can produce anywhere from a few watts to several hundred watts of energy per day. The older the module, the less efficient it tends to be, but they still provide serviceability for those in need of repair or replacement. Most PV modules are made of crystalline silicon, although other types of silicon are also used. (There’s also an emerging organic solar cell market which provides flexibility and can be customized for different applications).
The Benefits Of A Solar Panel System
There are several benefits to having a solar panel system installed on your roof, the most obvious of which is the ability to generate your own electricity. Although this might not sound like a benefit in today’s economy, remember those fossil fuels we talked about before? Well, generating your own electricity with a solar panel system reduces our reliance on them. Furthermore, depending on the location and time of day of where you live, you can determine how much electricity you’ll need and when you’ll need it. This being said, you won’t always need it and it will depend on the amount of sunlight that reaches the earth. So, while it might not sound like an environmentally sound choice, installing a solar panel system is still considered more sustainable than using a non-renewable fuel to generate electricity.
Tips For Successful Purchasing And Installation
If you’re looking to purchase a solar panel system to generate electricity for your home or business, then there are a few things you can do to make sure you get the most out of it. First, do your research. There are a variety of sources where you can read reviews and actually check out different models to see which one is best suited for your needs. Additionally, look for rebates and other financial incentives where you live because, in some cases, government agencies and private companies offer perks for purchasing solar equipment. Finally, be sure to contact local contractors and installers to see if they offer any helpful tips or recommendations about what type of system would be best suited for your needs. Sometimes it’s difficult to find information online or even know where to look. By calling or emailing those in the know, you might just come away with a helpful tip or two which will make owning a solar panel system much easier and more worthwhile.
So, what type of solar energy system will work best for your needs? It depends on how much electricity you need and when you need it. If you have a large residential establishment which enjoys a good amount of sunshine, then you should look into purchasing a PV system. These units are fairly inexpensive to purchase and install, even in large quantities, and they provide a dependable energy source which reduces your dependence on non-renewable fuels. If you don’t have the capital to invest in a PV system immediately, then you should look into purchasing one of the more sustainable systems which can be charged using green energy resources (solar or wind). Batteries are also a great way to store energy when not in use and they do so in a much more green and sustainable manner than what we typically see in a traditional power supply. In most cases, a solar battery system will suffice, but if you have a requirement for a certain amount of wattage then a PV system might be the more suitable option. In either case, be sure to purchase and install the proper amount and type of equipment for your specific needs.