Author: Jonathan Gal
Most panels are composed of photovoltaic cells, which are arrayed like a grid all over the panel. The cells are made of materials like silicon, which are highly conductive, and which are also referred to as semiconductors. When the sun hits them, it causes some of the electrons in the material to break free. These electrons then flow in a single direction which eventually brings them into contact with the metal contacts on the cell. It is this current, in combination with the photovoltaic cell’s voltage that creates power.
This is actually something that has made the effectiveness of a panel a little unpredictable, but today’s technologies are beginning to use materials and designs that offer a more consistent flow of electricity. Unfortunately, most people remain unaware of the fact that most solar panels are able to do such things as heat domestic hot water, or swimming pools, but have yet to become something that will easily power the entire home.
There are several solar panels available that are capable of converting sunlight into energy which is then stored in banks of batteries for later use, but these are still a costly system. The thing to remember is that even if a home’s solar panels and equipment cost thousands of dollars, they will pay for themselves in only a short period of time.
Another thing to remember about utilizing solar panels is that they have zero emissions and cannot harm the environment in any way possible. This is the most common reason that people seek out solar panels for their homes or businesses. The three most common types of solar panels are those with monocrystalline, polycrystalline or thin film materials. The monocrystalline are the most expensive, but also the most productive. The others are only slightly less expensive and can be used in solar garden lights and many other unique ways.
Today’s solar panels can be designed like large, roof-mounted boxes, but they are also available in many unusual formats due to the ongoing research in alternative energy. For example, there are solar cells that are installed in place of roofing shingles. These are made from the polycrystalline or thin film materials and may not offer the same energy conduction as the monocrystalline panels (like those constructed with silicon), but they still deliver a reliable electrical output
About the Author:
Jonathan Gal is a solar lighting expert and owner of YCA Solar Lights, an organization dedicated to promoting clean, energy efficient solar lighting technology. To find out more about how solar technology is changing the way we live, especially with respect to lighting, you are invited to visit Jonathan’s solar outdoor lighting site.
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