Solar Photovoltaics Future-Proof Sustained Energy IndependenceDownload Audio Version
Solar photovoltaics are sun-powered generators that produce energy for commercial and household uses. They vary in size, price, energy output, efficiency, and uses. Some devices are installed on rooftops while others are placed in solar parks.
Different Types of Systems
There are photovoltaic modules, cells, arrays, and systems. The number of connected cells determines the output voltage. Usually modules include between 30 and 44 cells that are connected in series. Some types of devices are self-regulating, including modules that have between 30 and 32 cells. Photovoltaics that have up to 36 cells are equipped with a charge controller because they produce surplus voltage. Modules with 44 cells are designed for a high energy output of over 20 volts. The wire between the batteries and the cells is long to maintain a high voltage output.
Modules, Portable Arrays, and Stationary Arrays
Photovoltaic arrays are one variety and represent a group of solar cells. In some systems, the modules are connected in parallel and in others – in series. The aim is to achieve a higher output voltage. The voltage increases when the individual cells are connected in parallel. Reverse flows sometimes occur, and this results in power losses. Blocking diodes are used to prevent this from happening. The problem with diodes is that they also decrease the voltage output. Some systems are also equipped with a bypass diode and controllers. Generally, bypass diodes are necessary when the system generates a high voltage output of over 48 volts. These PVs can be divided into portable and stationary arrays, the latter of which are more common. The modules are stationary meaning that they don’t move or change their angle during the day. Portable arrays are used for different applications, including flashlights and cell phones. There are devices of different size, and large applications can be mounted on truck beds or trailers. In addition to these devices, there are reflectors, tracking arrays, small modules, as well as concentrators. Small photovoltaics can be installed on different surfaces, including vehicles, posts, walls, and rooftops. The most important thing is to adjust the angle so that it captures sunlight.
Uses and Advantages
Installing a PV helps to future-proof your energy supply. In addition to lower electricity bills, photovoltaics offer other advantages such as ease of maintenance and installation, reliability, and simplicity. Most PV systems have no moving parts, which makes them durable and increases their useful time. Some solar panels last over 25 years. PV systems withstand hail and strong winds of more than 120 miles per hour.
Rebates and Advantages over Other Energy Sources
The government offers subsidies for alternative sources of energy to reduce energy dependence and environmental pollution. In some countries, the local authorities offer rebates of 50 percent. Businesses also use solar panels and farms to generate electricity for their operations. They deliver renewable and eco-friendly power which makes them a sustainable solution. There are no risks involved. Unlike PV systems, exploiting mining sites and oil wells for natural gas, coal, and other fossil fuels involves risks. There is no need to create storage facilities for waste products because PVs produce clean energy. Radioactive waste produced by nuclear plants should be stored and isolated because it poses health and environmental hazards. PV systems have also gained popularity because they are easy to expand.
Energy Output and Factors That Determine It
Homeowners can add more cells at any time to increase their energy output. In some countries, households benefit even further from producing more energy. If the solar panels produce surplus energy, it is used to power the electric grid, and the consumer is paid for it. The energy output depends on 3 factors – amount of direct sunlight, orientation of the panels, and size of the system. The size of the roof and whether there is un-shaded space are other factors. Typically, a PV system produces electricity that will meet between 10 and 40 percent of your energy needs. Your savings also depend on whether your appliances are efficient and how much electricity your household uses. A PV system may produce a surplus in the summer, but it will generate less electricity during cold days.
A system that includes panels with an area of about 100 sq. feet produces up to 1,440 kWh annually. Homeowners who want to keep track of the amount of energy produced should buy a solar meter and inverter.
Installation, Configuring, and Permits
PV systems take between 2 and 3 days to install. Configuring and planning may take several weeks, however. It is best to use the services of a solar pro for commercial installations. You will need a building permit to install solar panels. Plumbing, electrical, and building codes and regulations apply to ensure that a reliable and safe system is installed.