What is Solar Energy?
Solar energy is simply the most abundant form of energy available on Earth. Around 173,000 terawatts (or more than 10,000 times) of solar energy are available to the Earth at any one time.
Solar energy can be used to capture the sun’s energy and turn it into electricity for your home and business. It is an effective way to combat climate change and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.
How does solar energy work?
The sun is a natural reactor for nuclear energy. Photons are tiny particles of energy that travel 93,000,000 miles from the sun to Earth in a matter of 8.5 minutes. Each hour, enough photons are released to create enough solar energy to supply the entire year’s global energy requirements.
Photovoltaic power currently accounts for just five-tenths to one per cent of energy consumed in the United States. However, solar technology is improving rapidly, and the cost to go solar is falling rapidly so that our ability to harness the sun’s abundant energy is on the rise.
The International Energy Agency revealed that solar power had been the fastest-growing energy source in 2017, marking the first time solar’s growth had exceeded that of other fuels. Solar has set new records and continued to grow since then.
What Does the Weather Do to Solar Energy?
Although weather conditions can impact the amount of electricity produced by a solar panel, it is not as drastic as you might think.
A clear, sunny day is the best environment for solar energy production. Solar panels, like all electronics, are more efficient in cold than warm conditions. The panel can produce more electricity in a shorter period. The panel produces less electricity and generates less voltage as the temperature rises.
Even though solar panels work better in colder weather, they still produce electricity. Sunnier conditions often characterize the warmer summer months. There are fewer clouds, and the sun is out for longer periods. Even though panels are less efficient in warmer weather, they will still produce more electricity than winter.
Are Some States More able to harness solar energy than others?
Some states receive more sunlight than others. The real question is, if the weather affects solar energy production, then are certain states better candidates than others for solar energy? Although the short answer is yes (but not necessarily because it’s weather), it isn’t always true.
Consider clouds as an example. Sun radiation can penetrate through clouds, as anyone who has been sunburned by the sun on a cloudy day will tell you. Solar panels can still produce electricity even on cloudy days for the same reason. However, depending on the quality of the panels and cloud cover, the efficiency of solar panels electricity production can drop from 10 to 25% to the sun.
Solar power can work in cloudy and cold conditions, so it can still use solar energy. New York, San Francisco and Milwaukee, Boston, Boston, Seattle, etc. These cities are subject to inclement weather from rain and fog, snow, and blizzards. However, solar energy can be a huge cost-saving option.
Solar energy is a great investment and a great way to combat climate change. The amount of money you save and the speed at which you see a return on investment in a state will depend on many factors such as the cost of electricity, available solar incentives, net metering and the quality and quantity of your solar panels.
How do solar panels work?
Photons are responsible for releasing electrons from atoms when they hit solar cells. An electrical circuit is formed when conductors are attached to a solar cell’s positive and/or negative sides. These circuits produce electricity when electrons flow through them. A solar panel can contain multiple cells, and several panels (or modules) can be wired together to create a solar array. You can expect to produce more energy if you have more panels.
What is the composition of solar panels?
Many solar cells make up photovoltaic (P.V.) solar panels. Like semiconductors, solar cells are made from silicon. The solar cells are made with a positive and a negative layer that create an electric field. This is similar to a battery.
How do solar panels generate electricity?
P.V. solar panels generate direct current (D.C.) electricity. D.C. electricity is electricity that flows in one direction around circuits. This is an example of a battery that powers a lightbulb. The electrons travel from the negative side to the battery through the lamp and return to the positive side.
A.C. (alternating current electricity) electricity is a way electrons move similarly to the engine’s cylinder. When a coil is connected to a magnet, generators produce A.C. electricity. This generator can be powered by many different energy sources, including gas, diesel fuel, solar, coal, wind or nuclear.
A.C. electricity was chosen to power the U.S. electric grid because it’s cheaper to transmit long distances. However, solar panels create D.C. electricity. How can we convert D.C. electricity to the A.C. grid? An inverter is used.
What does a solar inverter do?
The solar inverter uses the D.C. electricity generated by the solar array to produce A.C. electricity. Inverters act as the brains of the system. Inverters can convert D.C. to A.C. power. They also provide ground fault protection, system stats (voltage and current on A.C. circuits and energy production, maximum power point tracking, and voltage and current on D.C. circuits).
Since the dawn of the solar industry, central inverters have been the dominant technology. One of the most significant technological changes in the P.V. industry is the introduction of micro-inverters. Micro-inverters are optimized for each solar panel and not the entire solar system as central inverters.
This allows each solar panel to reach its maximum potential. The rest of the array will work efficiently even if one panel is damaged. If a central inverter has been used, a single problem with a solar panel can cause a drop in performance across the whole array. This is not an issue with micro-inverters such as SunPower’s Equinox solar system.
How does a solar panel system work?
Here’s a simple example of how a home solar energy system works. The sun hits the solar panels on the roof. The panels convert the sunlight to D.C., which is then transferred to an inverter. The inverter converts D.C. electricity to A.C. This can be used to power your home. It is simple to use and very affordable.
What happens if your solar panels don’t generate enough electricity? What happens at night when your system doesn’t generate power in real-time? You may still be able to benefit from “net metering” “*
Grid-tied PV systems often produce more energy than the customer requires during peak hours. The excess energy is then fed back into the grid to be used elsewhere. Net metering allows customers to receive credits for excess energy. They can then draw from the grid during the night or on cloudy nights. The net meter tracks the energy sent and the energy received from it. Learn more about net metering.
These benefits are further enhanced by adding storage to your solar system. Customers can store their own solar energy on-site. This reduces dependence on the grid and preserves the ability to provide power for their homes in an outage. Software monitoring is included in the storage system. This software monitors solar production and home energy usage to determine which power source to use. Customers can maximize the use of the sun, reduce peak-time costs, and store power for later consumption during an outage.