There is no silver bullet in electricity or energy demand and that’s why different means have been derived in the generation of electricity such as fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, and petroleum), nuclear energy, and renewable energy sources. Most electricity is generated with steam turbines using fossil fuels, nuclear, biomass, geothermal, and solar thermal energy. Other major electricity generation technologies include gas turbines, hydro turbines, wind turbines, and solar photovoltaics.
Solar energy has been a popular method of producing electricity for many years, but recently the technology has really come into its own. So what makes this technology superior to other methods of producing electricity? There are a myriad of reasons that solar energy is a great alternative to traditional choices for electricity production, and it could be argued that it’s currently the most effective means of alternative energy generation.
Table of contents
- What is Solar Panel?
- History of solar panel
- Types of solar panel
- Solar panel connection
- Solar panel installation process
- Solar panel maintenance
- Benefits of solar energy
- Frequently Asked Questions
Talking of solar panel connection, one unique advantage of solar energy is its compatibility with the environment; it doesn’t produce greenhouse gases the way that traditional methods of electricity production such as coal, oil, and gas do. Without any harmful by-products, solar power produces the energy we need while keeping earth safe from harm.
Continue with us on this content and discover how this outstanding electricity generation can be installed or connected.
What is Solar Panel?
A solar panel, or photo-voltaic (PV) module, is an assembly of photo-voltaic cells mounted in a framework for installation. Solar panels use sunlight as a source of energy and generate direct current electricity. A collection of PV modules is called a PV Panel, and a system of panels is an array. Arrays of a photovoltaic system supply solar electricity to electrical equipment.
Solar energy begins with the sun. Solar panels (also known as “PV panels”) are used to convert light from the sun, which is composed of particles of energy called “photons“, into electricity that can be used to power electrical loads.
Solar panels can be used for a wide variety of applications including remote power systems for cabins, telecommunications equipment, remote sensing, and of course for the production of electricity by residential and commercial solar electric systems.
Let’s continue with the history, types, solar power connection technology, and benefits of solar panels. We will learn how solar panels work, how they are made, how they create electricity, and where you can buy solar panels.
History of solar panel
The development of solar energy goes back more than 100 years. In the early days, solar energy was used primarily for the production of steam which could then be used to drive machinery. But it wasn’t until the discovery of the “Photovoltaic effect” by Edmond Becquerel that would allow the conversion of sunlight solar electric energy. Becquerel’s discovery then led to the invention in 1893 by Charles Fritts of the first genuine solar cell which was formed by coating sheets of selenium with a thin layer of gold. And from this humble beginning would arise the device we know today as the solar panel.
Russel Ohl, an American inventor on the payroll of Bell Laboratories, patented the world’s first silicon solar cell in 1941. Ohl’s invention led to the production of the first solar panel in 1954 by the same company. Solar panels found their first mainstream use in space satellites. For most people, the first solar panel in their life was probably embedded in their new calculator – circa the 1970s!
Today, solar panels and complete solar panel systems are used to power a wide variety of applications. Yes, solar panels in the form of solar cells are still being used in calculators. However, they are also being used to provide solar power to entire homes and commercial buildings, such as Google’s headquarters in California.
Types of solar Panel
When you think about installing solar panels, you usually consider factors like cost, aesthetic, and energy efficiency. While these are important factors, there is a factor in solar panels that will affect all three of these: the types of solar panels you choose. The types of solar panels on the market today will affect how much installation and manufacturing cost as well as how the panels will look on your roof. It’s one of the most important considerations for a solar panel installation.
There are three types of solar panels, and each one has its pros and cons. The right solar panels will depend on your specific situation and what you hope solar panels will do for you.
The three types of solar panels are monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin-film solar panels. Each of these types of solar cells is made in a unique way and has a different aesthetic appearance. Here’s the breakdown for each type of solar panel.
Monocrystalline solar panels are the oldest type of solar panel and the most developed. These solar panels are made from about 40 of the monocrystalline solar cells. These solar cells are made from pure silicon. In the manufacturing process (called the Czochralski method), a silicon crystal is placed in a vat of molten silicon. The crystal is then pulled up out of the vat very slowly, allowing for the molten silicon to form a solid crystal shell around it called an ingot. The ingot is then sliced thinly into silicon wafers. The wafer is made into the cell, and then the cells are assembled together to form a solar panel.
Monocrystalline solar cells appear black because of the way sunlights interacts with pure silicon. While the cells are black, there’s a variety of colors and designs for the back sheets and frames. The monocrystalline cells are shaped like a square with the corners removed, so there are small gaps between the cells.
Polycrystalline solar panels are a newer development, but they are rising quickly in popularity and efficiency. Just like monocrystalline cells, polycrystalline cells are made from silicon. But polycrystalline cells are made from fragments of the silicon crystal melted together. During the manufacturing process, the silicon crystal is placed in a vat of molten silicon. Instead of pulling it out slowly, this crystal is allowed to fragment and then cool. Then once the new crystal is cooled in its mold, the fragmented silicon is thinly sliced into polycrystalline solar wafers. These wafers are assembled together to form a polycrystalline panel.
Polycrystalline cells are blue in color because of the way sunlight reflects on the crystals. Sunlight reflects off of silicon fragments differently than it does with a pure silicon cell. Usually, the back frames and frames are silver with polycrystalline, but there can be variation. The shape of the cell is a square, and there are no gaps between corners of cells.
Thin-Film Solar Panel
Thin-film solar panels are an extremely new development in the solar panel industry. The most distinguishing feature of thin-film panels is that they aren’t always made from silicon. They can be made from a variety of materials, including cadmium telluride (CdTe), amorphous silicon (a-Si), and Copper Indium Gallium Selenide (CIGS). These solar cells are created by placing the main material between thin sheets of conductive material with a layer of glass on top for protection. The a-Si panels do use silicon, but they use non-crystalline silicon and are also topped with glass.
As their name suggests, thin-film panels are easy to identify by their thin appearance. These panels are approximately 350 times thinner than those that use silicon wafers. But thin-film frames can be large sometimes, and that can make the appearance of the entire solar system comparable to that of a monocrystalline or polycrystalline system. Thin-film cells can be black or blue, depending on the material they were made from.
Solar Panel Connection
Solar systems are made up of solar panels (modules), a mounting system, and a solar inverter with computerised controller. Solar panels produce DC electricity from sunlight. Then the inverter converts the generated electricity into AC, so that it can be used in the household. The computerised controller manages the solar system and ensures optimal performance. If you want a battery backup system or an off-the-grid solar system, a battery is required.
What you Need to Know Before you Start
Before you get started, you should keep in mind the factors that influence the size and number of solar panels you will install. They are:
Your Power Needs
The energy demand in your home depends on the lighting systems and the appliances that will be powered using the electricity generated by the panels.
If you are already using electricity from the grid, you can find the energy you need from the panels by analyzing monthly energy bills. You can then decide to offset some or all of your electricity costs using solar power.
Number of Sun Hours
The amount of electricity generated by a panel depends on the number of sun hours in that location. The more the hours, the more energy you will get with a few solar modules. However, if the hours are less, you might need to install more panels to generate the same amount of power.
Therefore, know the number of sun hours in your area before you proceed with solar panels installation.
The Size and Design of Your Home
The physical size of your home determines how many solar panels you can install and where they can be mounted. For example, a big house means that you have a large roof that can accommodate many panels. But you can install them on the ground if you have a small rooftop and unused land in your home.
The design of the roof will also determine whether it is possible to install the panels facing the direction of the sun.
Solar Panel Installation Process
The most common location for the installation of solar PV panels is the roof. Most roofs typically have the desired specifications for the installation, so that panels get the maximum sunlight.
Nevertheless, if installation on the roof is not applicable or desired, the solar panels could also be mounted on the ground. You just need to make sure that there are no objects blocking access to the sun.
The following steps explain solar panel installation on a roof:
Step 1: Find the Best Location
First, you should survey your property to identify the best place to install the panels. Remember, just because the sun hits an area of your rooftop or property doesn’t mean it is the best spot. The pitch and direction of the roof affect the efficiency of the solar modules. Therefore, make sure you pick a location that will give the panels maximum exposure to the sun for most of the day.
Step 2. Set Up Scaffolding
Firstly, you have to erect scaffolding to ensure safety during the whole installation process when being on the roof involves preparing the area for the placing of the modules. You can construct the platform using metal or aluminum rails.
Building a platform requires that you run conduits from the point of installation to inside the house, where the generated power will be processed.
3. Install Solar Panel Mounts
Design the mounting system with the length and width of the panels in mind. Make sure it is strong enough so that it can withstand extreme weather. Then, the solar panel mounting system has to be set up.
This will support the base of the solar panels. The whole mounting structure must be tilted and have an angle between 18 to 36 degrees to have maximum sunlight exposure.
4. Install the Solar Panels
When the mounts are set up, the solar panel itself has to be installed on the mounting structure. Make sure to tighten up all the bolts and nuts so that it stays stable.The role of the accessories is to ensure that the modules are held firmly on the platform. Be careful when installing panels on the roof to avoid accidents and damages.
5. Ground the Panels and the Mounting System
Earthing the solar panels and the mounting system is crucial in the installation of panels. It will:
- Protect you and others from electric shock, which can be fatal
- Offer protection against fire that can be caused by the system
- Protect solar component against lightning since it causes a power surge
And that is why you need to make sure the installation has grounding rods that should remain six inches above the ground.The mounting system consists of metal, that is why it should be earthed. The control panel inside the house must also be grounded if there is no earthing network already in place.
5. Wire the Solar Panels
The next step in the installation process is to install the electrical wiring. In most cases, MC4 connectors are used because they are suited for all types of solar panels. Make sure to shut off the household’s electricity supply during the wiring installation.
6. Install Solar Inverter
After that, the solar inverter must be connected to the system. It is typically installed near the main panel and it could be both indoors and outdoors. Inverters are more efficient if kept in a cooler place.
If the inverter is outdoors, it should be kept out from the afternoon sun. If it is installed indoors, the garage or utility room are usually the best places, since they stay cool for most of the year and have ventilation.
7. Bond Solar Inverter and Solar Battery
The solar inverter has to be connected to the solar battery. The solar battery storage can save you from worrying about the lack of usable energy during cloudy times, it can also lower the solar battery storage system costs during installation.
8. Connect the Inverter to the Consumer Unit
The inverter should be connected to the consumer unit to generate electricity. A generation meter should also be connected to monitor the amount of electricity the solar panels actually produce. You can use your computer or other device to check your solar system’s performance. For example, you can check how much electricity you generate at different times and decide what time is suitable for using your washing machine or other utilities.
9. Start and Test Solar Panels
The final step is to switch the power on and test the newly installed solar panel system. After that, the solar panel installation process is completed.
Solar Panel Maintenance
Since there are no moving parts, solar panels require very little maintenance. Once you have covered the installation cost of solar panels, there are not many costs associated with maintaining them.
Having said that, you should inspect them a few times per year for dirt or some other things that might have piled on top. It is important that the panels are clean and there is nothing blocking them from efficiently absorbing the sun.
Before cleaning the panels yourself, you should consult with your installer about the warranty conditions. Some solar panel manufacturers could terminate the warranty if any self cleaning is done.
For a general cleaning, you can just use a normal garden hose to wash the face of the panels. You should do this in the morning or evening. Also avoid spraying them with cold water while they are hot because that might damage them.
Moreover, If the panels need some more cleaning that the hose cannot provide, you can use a sponge with soapy water to scrub them. You can also get the services of a cleaning company. This is advisable if the panels are too high or need more thorough cleaning.
You should have your system examined every 4-6 years by an installer. It is also a good idea to ask your installer about specific maintenance requirements for your solar system.
If you want to take the next step and get solar panels for your home, then look no further. Fill in the contact form at GZ Industrial Supplies and note that it is free of charge and without further obligations.
Benefit of solar Power
The most powerful source of energy on Planet Earth comes from the sun and without the power of the sun there would be no crude oil, no coal, no natural gas, and no us. Without the sun, none of those fossil fuels that power our society would exist for they are derived from the organic decomposition of ancient algae, plants, plankton, and animals – including dinosaurs, which could not have existed were it not for solar energy. So, what are the benefits of solar power?
1. Renewable Energy Source
Among all the benefits of solar panels, the most important thing is that solar energy is a truly renewable energy source. It can be harnessed in all areas of the world and is available every day. We cannot run out of solar energy, unlike some of the other sources of energy.
2. Continuous Free Energy
Beyond installation and maintenance solar energy is entirely free. This is obviously a huge boon for homeowners and businesses that choose to utilize solar energy and earn them significant savings on electricity costs in the future. Solar panels also don’t require continuously replenished raw materials to operate. This important distinction sets them apart from other energy sources such as coal and oil.
3. Decentralized Power
By decentralizing the electrical grid, solar energy is giving power (no pun intended) back to communities. The days of massive electricity-producing companies are drawing to an end, as consumers slowly become producers. Many homes and businesses that have installed solar panels even sell some of their excess energy back to the grid for a profit.
4.Solar Job Creation
Solar creates jobs in a variety of ways. As an emerging industry, solar needs all sorts of jobs, from manufacturing, installing, monitoring and maintaining panels, to the scientists and business people who research and develop the technology. Currently, solar energy only accounts for 4% of the world’s electricity, yet the EIAA estimates that it has created more than 100,000 jobs in Europe alone.
5.Limiting Price Volatility
Whereas most utilities currently rely on a constant source of highly volatile commodities, solar only relies on one abundant commodity: the sun. While the price of fossil fuels continues to rise, solar energy production’s costs have actually been halved in the past decade. This allows solar to provide sustained stability to homes and businesses that utilize the power of the sun to generate their electricity.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the importance of solar power to the future. More and more homes and businesses will continue to adopt solar power and take advantage of its benefits in years to come. Solar power’s environmentally friendly nature and cost benefits will make it a staple of future energy production.
Frequently Asked Questions on solar panel connections
1.How does the Solar Photovoltaic System work?
Once installed, solar panels absorb the sun’s energy, which they use to generate DC electricity. You can then store the produced power in storage batteries for use with DC devices.
Alternatively, the produced power can be converted to AC directly from the panels or the battery bank. You can then use it to run the many home appliances that operate exclusively on AC electricity.
2.Do my solar panels produce power when the sun isn’t shining?
The amount of power your solar energy system can generate is dependent on sunlight. As a result, your solar panels will produce slightly less energy when the weather is cloudy, and no energy at night. However, because of high electricity costs and financial incentives, solar is a smart decision even if you live in a cloudy city.
3.Will I still receive an electric bill if I have solar panels?
Unless your solar energy system includes battery storage and you are fully off the grid, you will still receive a bill from your utility. However, you can dramatically reduce your bill, or even cut the amount you owe to #0, with a solar panel system that matches your energy use.
4. Do solar panels work in a blackout?
If your solar panel system is connected to the grid, it will shut off in the event of a blackout. This is to prevent emergency responders and electricity utility repair-people from being injured by your panels sending power back to the grid. However, there are certain inverters you can buy that provide backup power in a blackout when paired with a battery.
5.How much will solar panel maintenance cost?
Solar panel systems are made of durable tempered glass and require little to no maintenance for the 25 to 35 years that they will generate power. In most cases, you don’t even need to clean your solar panels regularly. If something does happen, most equipment manufacturers include warranties, although warranty terms depend on the company.
6.. How does solar impact my property values?
Studies have shown that homes with solar energy systems sell for more than homes without them. However, your property value will only increase if you own, rather than lease, your solar panel system. In most parts of the country, going solar will actually increase your property value more than a kitchen renovation.
7. What do the terms on-grid, grid-connected, grid-tied and off-grid mean?
On-grid, grid-connected or grid-tied means connected to the utility electrical grid. Our solar electric systems are designed as on-grid systems, meaning that they interconnect with your existing utility service. Off-grid refers to systems that are not connected to the utility electrical grid. Our solar electric packaged systems are not designed for off-grid applications. An off-grid system must be custom designed by a solar power expert.
8. What if a solar panel gets struck by lightning?
If you buy a solar system from a certified vendor/installer, you can be sure that it is designed to withstand lightning. In case of a solar panel hit by a lightning, your solar vendor is fully responsible for all the subsequent repair works.
9.Do Solar Panels need cleaning?
Solar panels are generally self-cleaning if positioned at an angle of over 15 degrees. However it is advised to visually inspect them annually and rinse if necessary. Most window-cleaning companies have a reach-and-wash system and should be able to clean your panels.
10. Will installing solar panels damage my roof?
It shouldn’t. The technology has gotten much better where the chance of this happening is much less than before.
11. How long do solar panels take to install?
The installation itself should take less than 6 hours.
If you don’t have a solar system in place, it is time you invested in one. Use the steps provided on how to install solar panels yourself. However, if it is a large project, make sure you hire qualified technicians for the best residential solar power system.
We love solar energy here at Epoxy oilserv Nig Limited and the environmental benefits of solar power are a big part of that. Hopefully we have helped you learn a thing or two about solar panel connections. Whether you are looking to do your part in making the world a greener place or you simply want to save money on your utility bills, GZ Industrial Supplies can help you. Contact one of our solar reps today to find out more on solar panel connections.