Brief Definition, Uses, and Functioning of a Solar Panel. Description of a Solar Panel
Brief Definition, Uses, and Functioning of a Solar Panel
Solar panel electricity systems which are also referred to as photovoltaics (PV) is a device that converts light energy from the sun into direct electricity current which can be used to power household appliances and light up homes especially in areas not connected to the electricity grid, they can also be used as backup power in case of electrical distribution failures. A solar panel is comprised of a solar cell which is responsible for the conversion of light to electrical current (Shiva, 2013). The solar cell is made of materials such as silicon that can highly absorb light energy and convert the energy to electrons that generate electricity through a chemical reaction process. In order for the solar power system to work other components used together with the panels include inverters, batteries, and a distributor.
Description of the Solar Panel system
The solar panel power system is comprised of a number of components which are interconnected and so as to ensure power is generated, transmitted and can be utilized in the right form. The steps involved from generation to transmission include;
Source: (Solar Power Your House, 2013)
- This is the first step of generating electricity by converting light energy into electrical current. A solar panel that consists of numerous interconnected solar cells is normally used; the solar cells are made using silicon material and other conductible materials. As shown in the model above the solar panels are placed at an angle whereby they are inclined to rays of the sun. When the sun rays hit the solar panel the energy from the sun is absorbed by the solar cells which trigger a chemical reaction to take place which causes the solar cells to release electrons. The electrons released to travel through thin silicon layers that are embedded together one that is positively charged while the other one is negatively charged which creates an electric field. The electric field created drives the electrons that are being released to a metal conductor hence creating an electric current.
- The electric current that is being produced by the solar panels flows through metal conductors in this case that is electrical wires through a charge controller. The purpose of the charge controller is to regulate the current flowing from the solar panels to the storage batteries. Once the batteries are full the current from the solar panels is switched off to avoid overcharging of the batteries and can be regulated again when the storage batteries are low.
- As long as the storage batteries are not fully charged, the electricity that is being produced by the solar panels keeps on following into the storage batteries in the form of direct current until they are fully charged. The power can be used at this stage but only for apparatus that use direct current, most households, however, use alternating current.
- In order to convert the direct current being produced to alternating current a device known as an inverter is used. The device converts the direct current to alternating current by switching the direction of the current back and forth fifty times to create an alternating current. This form of electricity can now be used to power household apparatus (Solar Power Your House, 2013).
- Once the current has been converted into alternating current an apparatus known as a distributor is used to distribute the electricity to different home appliances such as television, fridge, the lighting of the house and other appliances. A distributor is also used to distribute electricity produced through a grid line in form of direct current in situations where solar energy is being mass produced.
The power produced by a solar panel depends on the amount of sunlight, on a hot day more electricity is likely to be produced and vice versa. The sizes of the solar panels also determine the current to be produced; hence the amount of electricity one demands should be taken into consideration when sourcing for a solar panel.
Solar energy although it tends to fluctuate depending on the amount of sunshine is environmental friendly as it does not pollute the environment, it is relatively cheap to install and maintain compared to other forms of energy and it has vast majority in home such as lighting, powering appliances and can be used as a backup source of power. Also, worth noting is having a solar apparatus can help one reduce expensive electricity bills and help conserve the forms of energy in the world by using a renewable form of energy.
Shiva. (2013). How Solar Cells Work — Components & Operation Of Solar Cells. Retrieved from http://solarlove.org/how-solar-cells-work-components-operation-of-solar-cells/
Solar Power Your House. (2013). Solar Components. Retrieved from http://solarpoweryourhouse.org/tag/solar-parts/
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