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About Solar Electricity
How does a Photovoltaic Panel generate electricity?
A Photovoltaic Panel consists out of groups of solar cells. The solar cells are made out of silicon. When the sun shines onto the solar cell, electrons are forced from the positive bottom layer of the cell, through the P-N junction to the negative top layer at the top of the cell and onto the lead tracks printed on the cell surface. As the photovoltaic cell goes through his electron flow, a voltage and a resulting current are created when placed in a closed circuit. The lead tracks on the solar cell carry the electrons to and from the cell.
Different components in a Solar electric system.
In addition to purchasing photovoltaic panels you will need to invest in some additional equipment to condition and safely transmit the electricity to the load that will use it. The amount of equipment you will need to buy depends on what you want your system to do. If you want to store the electricity generated by your photovoltaic panel you will need to get a battery and a charge controller. The job of the charge controller is shut off the flow of current to the batteries when the batteries are fully charged. If you would like to power appliances that runs on alternating current (AC), you need to invest in a inverter to convert the direct current (DC) of the battery to alternating current (AC).
Is solar electricity cost effective?
Photovoltaic is cost effective where the extension of utility lines from the major grid supplier is not an option or a new connection has to be supplied. If you are on utility (grid) power, then it is usually much cheaper than photovoltaic power at this stage. The real price of utility power is becoming more and more expensive due to consequences of sulphur emissions, which cause acid rain, global warming, nuclear waste disposal, costs of fossil fuels, etc. Over the life span of a PV system, it is a cost effective option especially over the next 2, 5, 10 or 20 years.
Solar Electricity is best suited for lighting, electronic equipment (e.g.. TV’s, video machines). It can also be used for motors and pumps, but is not recommended for these applications due their high energy consumption. Solar Electricity is not recommended for heating appliances. Appliances such as kettles, toasters and microwaves can be used due to the short running times. Appliances like heaters and hot water cylinders are too energy consuming and thermal solar systems are recommended.
Domestic homes that have changed to PV power enjoy the same comfort and conveniences as ordinary homes simply by being more conscious of switching off loads not being used. The only difference for the homeowner is the responsibilities of maintenance, which provides increased independence and has proven to be a great source of satisfaction.