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Solar electricity

Solar electricity

Solar electricity has been repped as cheap and easy compared to the conventional power systems we have. It requires very few spare parts, very little maintenance and no fuel at all. Its energy source, the sun, couldn’t be any more natural.

In many cases, it is economical. You can choose to use it on a large scale or small scale. You will have a pollution-free home given off by the solar panels from generating electricity and since it’s renewable, it is eco friendly.

There are many households looking into solar electricity. But despite its advantages, the biggest disadvantage is still not set back. With its extremely high cost of installation, is solar electricity for everyone?

For people who are on lower incomes and most likely don’t have the money to spare for the initial installation of solar panels, there is an alternative. There is a scheme in many countries to offer consumers to have the panels installed and benefit from solar energy without having to pay for it. The household gets to save on electricity bills but the feed-in tariffs go to the panel owner.

But the price for solar electricity is coming down while the costs for conventional energy generation are still rising. However, it is important for the consumers to understand that the solar panels will not be theirs and their returns would not be as much as they expected for the year. Nonetheless, it is still a good zero investment.

Many are concerned that the installation of solar panels is only available to households with very large roofs. But the panels don’t necessarily have to be on the roof of the house. It can be on top of the porch or adapted as a roof facing the sun.

If on the roof indeed, another important factor to be generating solar electricity is to have a south-facing roof. The solar panels must not be obscured by shade that could substantially lessen its efficiency. The energy from the sun must not be blocked at all times.

Can everyone really benefit from solar power? As opposed to many people’s presumptions, the term modern photovoltaic panels basically means generating electricity from sunlight. And this electricity is more suitable to colder northern climates and sunnier regions as well.

The new generation panels on the other hand are more efficient on its use of sunlight. It can generate electricity even on cloudy days. So, there is a solar panel for everyone’s benefit.

If you are considering putting solar panels on your roof, research on the financial incentives and whether the rules are still the same.  The panel may not be yours but you have your place in the sun for the next 25 years. And you are gaining benefits from this clean and renewable source of energy.

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Creating electricity from the sun is a technology that every one of us knows well. It could be through pocket calculators, photovoltaic panels in your home or a satellite. It can all get the job done.

But for those who are curious, how do you explain solar electricity? What is a PV power and just how much energy can a PV produce? This is solar electricity explained.

Solar electricity

Solar electricity

Solar electricity is generated by using photovoltaic (PV) technology which converts the free energy from the sun into electricity from sunlight. Through photovoltaic systems, sunlight is used to power electrical equipment like household appliances, lighting and computers. But note that this is not the thermal technology used for heating space and producing hot water.

A photovoltaic cell consists of two or more thin layers of mostly silicon which is a semi-conductor. Once the silicon is exposed to light, electrical charges will be generated and conducted away by metal contacts as direct currents (DC). A single PV cell is only capable of a small electrical output that multiple cells are needed to be connected together and encapsulated behind a glass to form a panel, also called as a module.

The PV panel is then the principal building block of the system where any number of panels can be connected together for the desired solar electricity output. But the PV equipment does not have moving parts so it only requires minimal maintenance. It generates electricity without producing and emitting greenhouse gases and it operates silently.

PV systems are actually used to supply solar electricity to city buildings which are also connected to the normal local solar power network. PV systems also supply power to garden lights or even to remote relay stations. But the use of photovoltaic technology on buildings is ideal because it provides a noise and pollution free solar power without needing extra space.

PV systems are set up into buildings in different ways. Ideally, it should be on sloping rooftops where the panels can simply be mounted using frames. It can also be built into the actual building fabric, such as PV roof tiles, and alternatively be incorporated as canopies, building facades and many other applications.

There are various types of PV cells. Monocrystalline silicon cells, the most efficient of this technology, are made of cells saw-cut from one cylindrical crystal of silicon. But the disadvantage is that it is of higher costs compared to the other PV technologies.

Multicrystalline silicon cells made of cells cut from an ingot of melted and re-crystallized silicon tend to be slightly less efficient. Thick-film silicon is an encapsulated multicrystalline technology wherein the silicon is deposited in a continuous process onto a base material which results to a fine-grained sparkling appearance. Amorphous silicon cells, however, are made from silicon atoms in a thin homogenous layer instead of a crystal structure but being a thin film, it effectively absorbs more light.

But the typical PV system configuration has the building-mounted PV array consisting of typical photovoltaic panels connected together with a rated output of 75 to 120 watts peak each. An inverter is also used to convert the low voltage direct current (DC) into the higher voltage alternating current (AC). Other components include the array mounting structure, cables, switches and a meter to make sure that you, as the system owner, can be credited for any solar electricity fed into the main supply.

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Solar Power in Reducing Carbon Footprint

February 9, 2011

You may have heard of the term carbon footprint in today’s efforts to advocate the clean and green living.  This is the total set of GHG (greenhouse gases) emissions caused by an event, organization, product or person. It is commonly expressed in the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases emitted. Carbon footprint has […]

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Taking the World by Solar

February 2, 2011

The idea of going solar is now taking the world one region at a time. Adapting to this renewable form of energy has been found to be efficient and cost-effective by many homes and businesses. Just what kind of industries and where are solar panels being used these days? A solar energy farm plan has […]

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A Solar Light Bulb Idea

July 10, 2010

We can expect for solar power to continue to rise like the sun as the king among the renewable resources of energy to be well utilized in 2020. But for now, as people are becoming more aware of the clean and green living which provides means of cutting the costs of electricity, the eco-world is […]

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Sun Jar – Free Sunlight Forever

January 4, 2010

I know it’s a little too late to be doing Christmas shopping but I thought I might share a cool “green” product I stumbled upon. It’s called Sun Jar and it’s a product created by Tobias Wong. Get the Flash Player to see this content. It’s called Sun Jar, because it “stores” sunlight similar to […]

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Mounting And Setting Up A Solar Roof

December 26, 2009

Fabricating a solar roof is as easy as counting from one to three. All you need are solar panels, in this case solar shingles and the other necessary materials that form a basic solar energy system. Many solar companies offer solar shingles designed as panels that fit the dimensions of a typical house roof. With […]

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Solar Energy and Photovoltaic Panels Videos

December 11, 2009

I came across these three videos that I just had to share with you. Excellent videos that allow you to understand the mechanics of solar power and how photovoltaic panels work.

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Photovoltaic Panels

December 9, 2009

Solar power is getting a lot of attention these days because of skyrocketing oil prices. What makes solar power unique is its ability to make energy from something so abundant which is the sun. But how does this work? Solar power is possible thanks to something called photovoltaic panels. Photovoltaic panels or PV panels are […]

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Determining Amp Hour Rating For Your Solar Batteries

December 5, 2009

I get a lot of questions from people starting out with solar power on how to get the Amp Hour rating for the solar batteries they will be using. Here is a step by step on that…

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