Thanks to photovoltaic technology, any sunny rooftop can be converted into a solar power generator. As solar technologies improve, product designs are becoming less and less obtrusive --- your roof can still look like a roof, even as it pulls in the wattage. Solar panels and solar roof tiles are both viable options, but they differ in effectiveness and cost as well as in appearance.
Solar panels harness the sun's energy in the form of light and convert the energy into electricity. Although the average consumer might associate solar panels with residential rooftop assemblies, solar panels are available for a wide range of applications, including powering individual gadgets, electronic devices and vehicle batteries. (See References 1)
Solar photovoltaic panels produce direct-current electricity. The electrical power that the panels generate depends on the amount of sunshine falling on the panels, the temperature of the solar cells and the resistance of the circuit through which the electricity is flowing. Manufacturers generally quote a figure for the maximum power that a solar panel can generate under standard conditions of insolation (exposure ...
Solar farms are impressive to look at, with row upon row of shiny rectangles angling toward the sun. For all their silent, seeming immobility, a flurry of activity is taking place in each and every cell and panel. The route the sunlight takes from sky to grid depends on the farm's type of solar array, but all provide a sustainable source of energy. Solar energy has drawbacks, but continued innovation and demand can ...
More Articles on Solar Panels
As the name suggests, mini solar panels are miniature panels that conduct solar power, receiving energy from the sun and using it to provide power to a product. Mini solar panels typically are portable and usable when larger panels are unnecessary or impractical. Their flexibility is an asset that differentiates them from full-size solar panels.
Household solar electric systems may be virtually maintenance free once installation is complete, but that does not mean that the components are strictly self-sufficient. As an alternative-energy homeowner, you should keep an eye on your electric capacity during inclement weather to ensure your batteries do not become depleted, and if their voltage level is low, supplement it with generator power. Also, you should check your voltage to verify you have sufficient power to use your washing machine or other energy-hungry appliances. You don't need an electrician's certification to stay current on your solar panel voltage level. With the proper equipment, anyone can do it.
When you make the switch to solar energy, you want to get the most power possible from your equipment. The key component to solar energy collection is your photovoltaic (PV) array, also known as your solar panels. By aiming them directly at the sun and figuring the correct angle for your latitude, you can ensure that your panels absorb as much solar energy as possible.
Harnessing the power of the sun to provide energy for your home seems like a great idea. It's basically free energy, once you get past the installation costs, that is. In reality, it takes a lot of solar panel -- up to 1,000 square feet -- to meet the energy needs of the average home (see References 1, page 6), and energy production still may not be up to par during certain times of the year. Proper panel choice and installation can mitigate some of the problem, but much of it depends upon your location.
Sunlight is free energy, but the equipment that captures it and turns it into usable electricity can be costly. Before you purchase a solar-energy system, you should understand how the system works and have an idea of how much energy you need to produce to be sufficient for your household. Every part of the system, from the cell material to the size and number of cells, has a direct bearing on how much energy it produces.
Your water heater can be a major contributor to the monthly energy bill, particularly if you live in a cold climate, own a dishwasher or have many people living in the house. By using solar panels to heat your water, you can cut energy bills and reduce the amount of emissions your heating fuel puts into the environment. You can use a solar water heater no matter what type of climate you live in. (See References 1)
A solar panel will generate electricity when placed in the sun. Current will flow from a panel connected to an electrical circuit. How many amps of electricity the panel will produce depends on the power of the solar panel, the amount of sunshine falling on the panel and the characteristics of the circuit to which the panel is connected. Calculate the amps produced by the panel making measurements using a digital multimeter.
Solar panels harness the power of the sun to produce electricity without releasing harmful emissions into the environment. By using solar panels, you can save money on power bills. Because the nature of a rental property is temporary, seek solar panels that can be removed in the future or that do not require altering the house, or resign yourself to leaving your installation behind when and if you move.
Solar panels allow you to provide energy for your home without burning fossil fuels and releasing harmful emissions into the environment. A solar-energy system is a sustainable way to power buildings and sites of any size. Installing a solar-energy system can be costly, so you'll want to invest in the most durable solar panels you can find that match your home's needs. Most solar-energy systems come with warranties of at least 10 years, and you can expect a well-maintained system to last much longer than that (see References 1).
Install solar panels on your home and you can harvest heat from the sun to create energy. You can also reduce your energy consumption, lower your utility bills and get a tax credit through 2016. The photovoltaic system tax credit is fairly inclusive, with very few stipulations compared to other energy efficiency tax credits; just make sure your system is in service by the end of 2016. Fill out form 5695 and make sure you have proof of the total cost of the system and its compliance with local building codes. (See Reference 1)
Solar power, or energy created by the sun, can be harnessed in a number of ways, including through solar panels that convert the sun's rays into electricity. In the case of a solar pump, solar energy is converted into electricity and fed to a pump that circulates water. These types of units can be used in swimming pools, fountains and larger agricultural projects.
A well-planned solar power system provides at least 40 percent of a home’s energy, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. (See Reference 2) Properly mounting the panels plays a crucial role in maximizing your system’s efficiency. Have the company you’re purchasing the panels from handle the physical installation and wiring, unless you’re qualified to do it yourself; but, consider in advance how you will mount the solar panels to capture sunlight as effectively as possible.
Salvaging the CPU fan from an old computer is generally easy and this component can be put to use around the house while the rest of the machine is recycled. Their small size and relatively small power requirements make it practical to connect CPU fans to solar panels to further green this reuse project. A solar-powered CPU fan can be used as a personal fan at a desk or in a workshop, or as a tool to circulate air through an aerated static compost pile (see Reference 3).
Solar power is a vast and renewable resource. Indeed, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists, 20 days of sunlight contain as much energy as all the world's oil, coal and natural gas resources combined. (See Reference 6) Choosing the right size panel for your site will help you to rely as much as possible on solar power produced on-site rather than on nonrenewable energy from the power grid.
Shade on solar panels can slow or even stop the cells from performing. The cells on a solar panel are interconnected, and when some of the cells are shaded, the power output becomes poor or even stops. To avoid shading, the panels must be installed in areas that are free of tree and building shade during the hours of peak sunlight. The panels must also be positioned to avoid shading from other panels, a phenomenon called inter-row shading. This type of shading must be prevented before the solar panels are installed. (References 1)
There's more than one flavor of photovoltaic solar panel, and in the right circumstance any modern system can light up your house. To determine the proper panel for your home it's important to see how the product blends into your home design, complies with local codes and provides the highest electrical output for the dollar. Once installed, your solar panels will provide you with clean, efficient electrical energy for many years.
Nothing beats sitting on your back porch on a warm summer evening — until the insects start swarming. Bug zappers help keep insects at bay and away from you by using electricity. Solar-powered bug zappers work the same as traditional bug zappers, even at night, but these devices harvest solar power and don’t rely on electricity.
Water heating accounts for 14 to 25 percent of the energy consumed in the average home, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (See Reference 4) Installing an energy-efficient water-heating system can greatly reduce a home's carbon footprint, and its utility bills. Both solar water heaters and demand water heaters are energy efficient, but both have advantages and disadvantages to consider.
Solar lights collect energy from the sun throughout the day via solar cells, then store the light in a battery for use at night. In some systems, each individual lighting instrument also contains the solar cells and batteries. Those types of solar lights work best when placed in a location that receives full exposure to outdoor sunlight. In other systems, the lights are wired to a separate component that collects and stores the solar energy until nightfall. In either case, these lamps' nightly run time will depend on how much sunlight they receive during the day (see References 1).
Given constant daytime exposure to the damaging rays of the sun, it's not surprising that solar panels degrade and lose some effectiveness over time. Much as the sun fades brightly colored billboards and dries out wooden docks, it slowly damages electrical connections and lowers the electrical output of the photovoltaic cells in a measurable way. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory predicts a performance drop-off of less than one percent annually. By testing solar panels as they age, users can determine if their equipment has worn out to an actionable degree (See Reference 1).
Photovoltaics, or solar panels that produce electricity, are affected by their operating temperature, which is primarily a product of the ambient air temperature as well as the level of sunlight. [Reference 2 conclusion; Reference 4 p. 16] While the length and strength of sunlight received are more important factors in a solar panel's power production efficiency, temperature and other environmental factors can reduce efficiency and lower the solar panel's energy output. [Reference 4 p. 16]