What is Solar Energy?
Solar energy takes advantage of the Sun's ray to generate heat or electricity. it is an indefinitely renewable resource and unique for it ability to generate energy in a quiet, clean and Consistent manner.
How does photovoltaic (PV) technology work?
PV takes advantage of the characteristics of impure silicon crystals. Pure silicon is not electrically active, because its atoms are locked into a solid crystal structure. There are no spare electrons, and no open spots for electrons. Silicon impurities create crystal with either a slight tendency to lose electrons or a slight tendency to attract them. When the two kinds of silicon are placed close together and exposed to sunlight, photons (particles of light) knock electrons loose on the unattractive side. An electrical current is created as electrons travel across the junction to the attractive side.
Sunlight is composed of particles of energy called photons. When sunlight strikes a PV material, photons will either pass through, be reflected, or be absorbed. If the photon is absorbed, its energy will be transferred to an electron in an atom of the PV material. With new energy, the electron is able to escape from its normal position in orbit around that atom. In this way, the electron can become part of, and augment, the current in an electrical circuit. This photovoltaic effect is the basic physical process through which sunlight is converted into electricity.
Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are made of similar materials and take advantage of the same physical principles, but in reverse. Powering LEDs with a PV panel works compatibly: photons in, electrons out; electrons in, photons out.
What is a solar module?
Solar modules, or panels, are series of solar cells wired together into strings and enclosed in self-contained glass units for harsh weather protection. Solar cells are mounted into groups called modules that produce about 0.5 Volts of current to power lights and appliances. On the sunward side, cells are protected by a highly transparent solar glass pane. The underside takes the form of an insulating film or a second pane of glass. A connection socket picks up the generated direct current. Modules are connected together via cables, which link them to the inverter.
What is a PV array?
A PV array is an interconnected system of PV modules that function as a single electricity-producing unit. The modules are assembled as a discrete structure, with common support or mounting. In smaller systems, an array can consist of a single module. A complete set of components for converting sunlight into electricity includes a module, a support structure, wiring, an inverter, a meter and other equipment.
Do solar cells store energy?
No. Solar cells just convert sunlight into an electric current that must be used immediately or stored in batteries for later use.
What happens to solar panels when it's cloudy or raining?
Photovoltaic panels can use direct or indirect sunlight to generate power, though they are most effective in direct sunlight. Solar panels will still work even when the light is reflected or partially blocked by clouds. Rain actually helps to keep your panels operating efficiently by washing away any dust or dirt. If you live in an area with a strong net metering policy, energy generated by your panels during sunny hours will offset energy that you use at night and other times when your system isn't operating at full capacity.