Solar power panels: photovoltaic modules at work
Posted by Solar energy guru | Filed under Solar panels & photovoltaic cells
Many people wonder what is PV solar power? People have often heard about it, but are uncertain of the meaning. Although solar power may be familiar to them, many do not have the slightest conception of PV solar power and what makes it so different. PV solar power is the root of the sun’s power. There are two main types of solar power, active or passive. PV solar power refers to the active kind.
Active solar power is generated in flat solar panels or nano-thin rectangular boxes that are typically installed on rooftops. There are two kinds of solar panels. They are similar in appearance (flat, rectangular boxes), but they convert sunlight into energy in different ways. As described below, these panels may be solar thermal collectors or photovoltaic modules.
- Solar thermal collector: This type of solar panel absorbs the sun’s energy and generates electricity or heating.
- Photovoltaic module: This type of solar panel collects the sun’s energy and converts it into usable electricity.
PV is a peculiar acronym and perhaps beginning to understand it starts with understanding what PV stands for. PV is in short, photovoltaic module, where the abbreviation has P standing for photo and V for voltaic. In the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, you can find the following definition of photovoltaic: “Of, relating to, or utilizing the generation of a voltage when radiant energy falls on the boundary between dissimilar substances.” In short, this means that “photo” is sunlight and “voltaic” is electrical energy. You will find PV panels to basically convert the sun and it’s energy into electrical energy. While sunlight is absorbed by solar panels, electrical energy is generated.
A PV panel is produced by a number of electrically attached glass covered photovoltaic cells or modules. The glass covering the cells offers electrical insulation. In addition, panels are protected from weather. A photovoltaic module absorbs the sun’s rays and converts them into electricity that we can use. Approximately 17% of sunlight can be transformed into usable electricity through conventional silicon panels. That may not seem to be a great deal; and this is why silicon panels were upgraded in 2008 to new and updated models. A solar panel that utilizes new cells transforms 22% of sunlight it absorbs into electricity. Hypothetically, the maximum that the solar panel cells can convert is considered to be approximately 27% of absorbed sunlight.
Every photovoltaic cell in a PV solar panel is a semiconductor. When the sun hits a cell, then part of the ray is absorbed by the silicon cell. The cell absorbs the rays’ energy and then transfers the cell to the electrons in the silicon. This causes electrons to flow, and a current is created. The current is extracted and sent to the battery or grid by metal contacts built on the top and bottom of the PV cells. At this point, electricity can be used. The electricity is sent the means necessary to the grid if a grid connection is utilized. If a battery is utilized, then power is kept in the battery until needed.
Solar panels are designed to absorb the sun’s rays as a source of energy to generate electricity or heat. Sunrays excite atoms within the silicon layer of a solar panel, as well as the two other layers, known as protective layers. Those atoms create electric current that is used by different devices. The history of panels actually dates back to 1839, and this invention has been developed and improved since that time. Solar panels were utilized to heat water for in-house purposes. Very often, specifically shaped mirrors were used for the centralization of light onto a tube of oil. Within that process, oil became heated. Heated oil travels through water, causing water to boil. The steam produced from boiling water turns a turbine, resulting in the creation of electricity.
To power an appliance, a PV panel would likely be sufficient. However, for more power, you will require a number of attached panels. In cases where power is not being fed to the electrical grid, the solar panels are affixed to a battery and charge controller. If needed for grid use, the solar panels will be attached to an electrical inverter.
More and more people successfully employ PV solar panels. Some say that clouds can affect the work of PV solar panels; however, they are nevertheless very efficiently used in cloudy Germany.