Solar Panel 101 – Everything You Need To Know In A Nutshell

On October 23, 2019 by Himanshu Shah

Going green seems to be the buzzword nowadays, and solar power has been gaining traction over the past few years. And the great news is, there’s still a lot of room for improvement and governments and business giants are now turning their eyes towards it.

Solar power is the only real renewable source of energy; we’ll have our sun for the next 5 billion years or so, right? We can harness its power from almost anywhere in the world, albeit with some difficulties in certain areas and situations. Research shows that the amount of solar energy we get from the sun in one hour can meet Earth’s energy needs for a year. Sure there are challenges; as of now, we can only make use of a fraction of that.

Solar power installation and generation are just in its beginning stages, and it is still quite expensive and inefficient. But more and more attention is now being given to it: with all the government grants and subsidies, higher demand and technological advancements for solar energy, there is nowhere to go but up.

So, How Do You Generate Solar Power?

Solar Panels

In a nutshell, the sun’s rays are collected, converted into usable electricity, used for our electronic device, and stored in batteries for later use or sent back to the electric grid for optimal redistribution.

  • Solar panels are installed where you can catch as much of the sun’s rays, like rooftops and other unshaded open spaces.
  • The solar panels generate electricity, and inverters convert this direct current (DC) energy to what we use as alternating current (AC) energy.
  • This AC energy can now be used to power electronic devices. If a “solar-plus-storage” system is in place, the electricity can be stored in batteries for evening use until it is drained.
  • Any excess electricity goes back to the electric grid, which can then be redistributed as necessary and would give consumers energy credits or savings.

What Is A Solar Panel?

Solar Panel System

And at the heart of this system is the solar panel or solar module.

Put, the solar panel absorbs sunlight and changes it to electricity. Solar panels are made up of small photovoltaic silicon cells. It is designed in such a way as to create an electric field, a “sandwich” of phosphorous, silicon, and boron. When sunlight enters the solar panel, these particles of light or photons interact with the silicon, knocking electrons from the atoms, generating a flow of electricity that the cell collects and let pass through wires.

What Are The Advantages Of Solar Panels Over Other Ways Of Generating Electricity?

Solar Energy

Though initial installation can be expensive and may face a few challenges (space allocation, weather dependency), the future of solar panels look bright (no pun intended!).

Advancements in the solar panel are now making waves, and it won’t be long when all the inefficiencies and issues related to solar power installation and generation will be a thing of the past. Innovative products are popping left and right, like the spinning cone-shaped solar panels that solve the space allocation problem, optimum light penetration, and heating issues, or flexible solar cells not thicker than your hair that would have a gamut of commercial applications. And ongoing research and advancements in the field of quantum physics would benefit the solar power industry due to increased efficiency and affordability.

Having said this, solar power as an alternative source of energy will be the most viable option in the long run as the system is generally low-cost to maintain. Just the regular cleaning will keep it at optimal efficiency. The solar panels itself usually carry 20-25 year warranty, and the regular commercial ones have a lifespan of over 15-20 years. So that after installation costs, one can only expect minimal spending on maintenance and repair costs, and the investment will come back faster.

One Response to “Solar Panel 101 – Everything You Need To Know In A Nutshell”

  • Interesting information. The potential benefits of having solar roofs outweigh its demerits. Solar energy is god’s gift to mankind. Thanks for sharing the article.

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