It’s not as complicated as you might think.
It is only fairly recently that the sun’s energy could be harnessed to create electricity. In 1958 the first photovoltaic panels were used to turn light energy (photons) into electricity, and solar power has grown from then.
How does it work?
There are four main parts to a solar system.
- Solar panels. These are the most visible part of the system, and the part that you’ve probably seen the most. Solar panels are filled with silicon wafers that capture the sun’s light (photons) and conductors that convert the photons into direct current (DC). The DC current then flows from the panels into the inverter.
- Inverter. The inverter is one of the most important parts of the solar system. It converts the DC energy from the panels into alternating current (AC) energy that is ready for use with your home appliances. There are two types of regulators, the modified sine wave design, which is cheaper but less effective, and the pure sine wave, which is more expensive but works better across all appliances.
- Regulator. A solar regulator is common on off-grid solar networks, but may also be installed on grid-connected systems that have an in home battery. The regulator controls the flow of energy from the panels to the battery. It will prevent too much energy from overcharging the battery, and will prevent energy from leaving the battery and returning to the panels. There may also be a Low Voltage Disconnect attachment installed, which will shut off the supply if the battery voltage gets too low. This will protect the battery and extend its life.
- Battery. Solar panels systems use deep cycle batteries. These can be discharged and recharged with little loss of effect, although it is advised not to let battery discharge exceed 70%. The battery will ensure that your home has plenty of electricity even when the sun isn’t shining.
In recent years, as the world has become more aware of the effects of climate change, the need for clean energy become more important. Solar has become one of the world’s fastest growing means of energy production.
In one hour the sun sends more energy to Earth than the entire world population uses in one year.
Solar panel is an incredible technology that has come along way since it’s development over fifty years ago.