What Is Solar Energy?
The most abundant source of energy on Earth, Solar is a renewable, alternative energy source. About 173,000 terawatts of solar energy strike the Earth at any given time – more than 10,000 times our current world energy needs. Solar energy, harnessed through photovoltaic cells, is a key solution in combating climate change and reducing our dependence on fossil fuels.
How Does Solar Energy Work?
The sun is a natural nuclear reactor. Like the core of Earth, it releases tiny packets of energy called photons. These photons travel 93 million miles to Earth in about 8.5 minutes, enough to create 250 trillion watts of energy. Enough to power the entire world for an entire year if harnessed. Solar energy harnessing has only been in the mainstream for the past thirty years, and its presence is growing at an astounding rate. The technology is improving rapidly and prices are falling fast, so it’s never been a better time to consider going solar.
For the past few years, solar energy has been growing and breaking records as the fastest-growing source of power in the world. Growing by about 80% over the past 5 years.
How Does Weather Affect Solar Energy?
Our panel is made from high-efficiency cells, so they generate more electricity than the standard solar panels. With a power output of 9.6Wp, you can expect production of over 1KWh per day on a sunny day.
The fact that solar panels are technically more efficient in cooler weather doesn’t mean that they produce more electricity in the winter than in summer. In sunny weather, usually, it’s hotter in summer than in winter.
Do Some States Get More Solar Energy Than Others?
The main factor in how much solar energy is produced in a state is the amount of sun that state receives. However, this isn’t the only thing to consider. Other factors to consider include the weather conditions of the rest of the country, ecological and economic factors, and potential impact on the environment. The state with less sun will often have more developed solar systems because they need them or want them more.
Ten states have an estimated 80% of the country’s solar cells installed on their homes and businesses. Those states are Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina and Rhode Island. Since these states are solar leaders, it is best to consider how weather affects solar energy production in these states.
Solar panels can still produce electricity on cloudy days. Take clouds for example. Anyone who has been sunburned on a cloudy day knows that solar radiation penetrates through clouds. But no matter how good the solar panels are, the electricity produced is reduced by 10 to 25 percent compared to a sunny day.
While solar is a great energy solution for many, it still doesn’t work well in cloudy, cold locations. New York, San Francisco, Milwaukee, Boston, Seattle – all of those cities experience inclement weather, from rain and fog to blizzards yet they’re also cities where people are seeing huge savings by getting solar.
Solar energy is the fastest-growing source of new power generation capacity in the United States. Much of this growth is coming from business owners, communities, and homeowners who want their solar power systems to save them money – and help bring the country closer to energy independence.
How Do Solar Panels Work?
Essentially, solar cells are devices that use the photovoltaic effect to convert sunlight into electrical energy. This occurs when photons hit a cell, knocking electrons loose. If there are conductors on both sides of a cell, it forms a circuit. When electrons flow through the circuit, they generate electricity. When a solar panel generates energy, a current runs through the circuit and charges your storage batteries. From solar power to stored energy, the flow of energy is as natural as a river.
What are Solar Panels Made of?
Solar panels (also known as a photovoltaic or PV system) consist of many solar cells. Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels are made up of many solar cells. Solar cells are made of silicon, like semiconductors. They are constructed with a positive layer and a negative layer, which together create an electric field, just like in a battery.
How Do Solar Panels Generate Electricity?
PV solar panels can be installed in a home or business to convert the sun’s energy into usable DC electricity. With DC electricity, electrons flow in one direction around a circuit, producing AC (Alternating Current) which can be used to run motors, power lights, and charge batteries.
With AC (alternating current) electricity, electrons are pushed and pulled, periodically reversing direction, much like the cylinder of a car’s engine. Generators create AC electricity when a coil of wire is spun next to a magnet. Many different energy sources can “turn the handle” of this generator, such as gas or diesel fuel, hydroelectricity, nuclear, coal, wind, or solar.
AC electricity was chosen for the U.S. electrical power grid, primarily because it is less expensive to transmit over long distances. However, solar panels create DC electricity. An inverter is used to get DC electricity into the AC grid.
What Does a Solar Inverter Do?
As a solar inverter or DC-AC power converter, we take in DC electricity and convert it to high-quality AC electricity suitable for powering your home or business. We monitor your system and provide you with live information on voltage, current, energy production, and MPPT settings. For the solar industry, micro-inverters represent a major technological advancement. Each small inverter optimizes performance for a single solar panel, instead of the entire solar array.
One of the biggest challenges homeowners face is that their entire solar panel array doesn’t work together, and is not producing as much energy as they could. We solve this problem by using micro-inverters that connect directly to each solar panel, allowing them to operate independently from one another. Preventing the loss of solar performance due to one broken or misaligned module is easy. With micro-inverters, all the power your panels produce is combined, then directed to each individual inverter that directly converts it into the useable current for loads.
How Does a Solar Panel System Work?
A solar power system works by collecting sunlight, converting it to electricity, and then sending that electricity to your home. The simplest way to collect sunlight is with a photovoltaic solar panel. These are the large black panels you see on rooftops or freestanding ”solar farms”. Solar farms are also called solar power plants.
However, what happens if you are not home to use the electricity generated by your solar panels every sunny day? And what happens at night when your solar system is not generating power in real-time? Don’t worry, you may still benefit through a system called “net metering.”
A photovoltaic system, or solar power system, is made of many different components. These elements work together to capture energy from sunlight and convert it into renewable electricity. Customers who is eligible for net metering may receive credits for the excess energy produced and can use those credits to draw from the grid at night or on cloudy days. A net meter records the energy sent compared to the energy received from the grid. Read our article on net metering and how it works.
Although solar power is an increasingly mainstream energy source, there are still barriers to widespread adoption. For some customers, it can be hard to justify the initial investment required to install a solar energy system. Even those who already have solar panels on their roof may not be maximizing the investment they’ve made. Often, potential customers could benefit from adding a new storage component to their existing system. Although there are many methods to improve the efficiency of a solar power system, installing a storage system is guaranteed to increase the production of the solar power system. For homes that combine solar power and battery storage systems, they will likely see increased production from their solar panel system.