Solar panels and the advantages of solar power really do seem magical.
Imagine taking the light of the sun (not the heat) and turning it into the electricity that powers our TV and gives us the majesty of “Baywatch”.
Also, the history of these panels is a pretty amazing story.
But first things first: How do these panels work ?
Well, sunlight is converted into electricity through photovoltaic (PV) technology.
The simple explanation of this is that sunlight interacts with semiconductor materials in the PV cell to free electrons and produce an electric current.
What’s that? You want a more sophisticated scientific explanation of solar power involving photons, electromagnetic radiation, and Alessandro Volta?
I think we might be getting ahead of ourselves.
For now let’s take a look at how these mysterious panels could work for you. Sound good?
Then you used your solar pathfinder to evaluate your solar site and see how much sun you actually get.
Maybe you even go all out and commission an entire solar power plant.
Then you take your axe and chop through the old meter box so you’re “free from the grid”, only to go inside to find that you have no power.
Why aren’t your efficient panels working?
Well I’m afraid you’ve left a few pieces out of your solar power system (don’t worry it happens to the best of us).
On top of the panels, a solar power system requires:
- A solar power inverter (perhaps a Xantrex Inverter)
- A charge controller
- Solar batteries (if you want to store your power)
Let’s say for example you have your solar panel out in the sun and that beautiful sunlight hits your pv panel and frees up some electrons.
These electrons follow the wiring to your charge controller which regulates the voltage for your batteries.
Then when you need to use your toaster the current goes from the battery to the inverter where it is converted from DC power to the AC power your toaster needs.
See, it’s all coming together.
Oh, and why do we need the grounding?
That’s so our beautiful solar electric panels don’t get fried due to lightning, line surges, or unintentional contact with higher voltage lines.
Is solar power starting to make a little more sense?