Solar energy is, simply, energy provided by the sun. This energy is in the form of solar radiation, which makes the production of solar electricity possible. Electricity can be produced directly from photovoltaic, PV, cells. (Photovoltaic literally means “light” and “electric.”) These cells are made from materials which exhibit the “photovoltaic effect” i.e. when sunshine hits the PV cell, the photons of light excite the electrons in the cell and cause them to flow, generating electricity.
Major uses of solar panel :
Every day, sunlight direct hits your roof’s solar panels with photons (particles of sunlight).
The panel converts those photons into electrons of direct current (“DC”) electricity. Naturally, the sunnier the day is, the more energy is produced by the panels. Cloudy days still continue to produce energy; just at a slightly slower pace. Solar panels that can avoid shade, can maximize sun coverage will produce the most solar energy power.
The produced electrons flow from the solar panel and into an inverter and other electrical safety devices.
The inverter converts the direct current (“DC”) power into alternating current or (“AC”) power. The alternating current (“AC”) power then produces the needed electricity that your television, computer, washer, dryers and all other appliances.
A bi-directional meter keeps track of the all the power your solar system produces. Any solar energy that you don’t use immediately will go back into the grid through the meter. Then at night the extra solar energy is credited back to your bill. This action is called net metering. In other words, you use the utility grid as virtual battery-back up system.
Some of advantage of the solar panels:
- Renewable Energy Source: Solar energy is a resource that is not only sustainable for energy consumption, it is indefinitely renewable (at least until the sun runs out in billions of years).
- It can be harnessed in all areas of the world and is available every day. We cannot run out of solar energy, unlike some of the other sources of energy
- Reduces Electricity Bills:It generates electricity for free.
- Solar power can be used to generate electricity, it is also used in relatively simple technology to heat water (solar water heaters).
- Diverse Applications:Solar energy can be used for diverse purposes. You can generate electricity (photovoltaic) or heat (solar thermal).
- Solar energy can be used to produce electricity in areas without access to the energy grid, to distil water in regions with limited clean water supplies and to power satellites in space.
- Low Maintenance Costs:Solar energy systems generally don’t require a lot of maintenance.
Most reliable solar panel manufacturers give 20-25 years warranty.solar energy into electricity (solar PV) and heat (solar thermal). So, after covering the initial cost of the solar system, you can expect very little spending on maintenance and repair work.
Technology Development:Technology in the solar power industry is constantly advancing and improvements will intensify in the future.
Innovations in quantum physics and nanotechnology can potentially increase the effectiveness of solar panels and double, or even triple, the electrical input of the solar power systems.
It produces energy without emitting any kind of harmful gasses, you could help a little towards decreasing global warming.
It is more sustainable and independent source of energy as we cannot run out of sun’s rays falling on earth at least for next 5 billion years.
Some of disadvantage of the solar panels:
- Cost: purchasing a solar system is fairly high.This includes paying for solar panels, inverter, batteries, wiring and for the installation. Nevertheless, solar technologies are constantly developing, so it is safe to assume that prices will go down in the future.
- Weather Dependent: solar energy can still be collected during cloudy and rainy days, the efficiency of the solar system drops
- This means that when the sun is not shining, there is no generation of energy. The generation of power is mostly affected at night and during winter months.
- Solar Energy Storage Is Expensive: Solar energy has to be used right away, or it can be stored in large batteries. These batteries, used in off-the-grid solar systems, can be charged during the day so that the energy is used at night. This is a good solution for using solar energy all day long but it is also quite expensive
- A lot has been documented about the inefficiency of solar energy. Most people do not understand what efficiency means. People look at 15% efficiency and think that it’s not good enough.
- Solar energy technologies like solar panels present challenges when looking to move. The solar contracting company will switch the lease agreement to the new user if you decide to move out.
- Uses a Lot of Space: The more electricity you want to produce, the more solar panels you will need because you want to collect as much sunlight as possible. Solar panels require a lot of space and some roofs are not big enough to fit the number of solar panels that you would like to have.