Solar energy has been in existence for more than a century. In 1839 Edmond Becquerel, a French artist came up with the solar power idea when he discovered that certain materials would produce sparks when hit by sunlight. Over the years, experts have worked extensively in developing this concept through invention of high-powered solar panels
What Is A Solar Cell?
The other name for solar cells is photovoltaic cells (PV). Photo to mean light and voltaic for electricity. Solar cells are tiny silicone semiconductors. When sunlight hits the cells, there is a production of electrons that generate electric current. A single cell produces only a small amount of energy. A solar panel has numerous solar cells fitted.
Solar Energy Production Components
For efficient solar energy production and functioning, some components are required;
1. Solar panels
The solar panel is the host of photovoltaic (PV) cells needed in the conversion of sunlight into electricity. Several solar panels connected form a solar alley. The solar panels range from small sized for small households to solar alleys for commercial purposes
2. An inverter-The inverter is a small device that converts the direct electricity from the sunlight to alternating current (AC). It converts DC into AC to produce electricity.
3. Electrical panel
The electrical panel is otherwise known as the breaker box. The solar panel receives alternating current (AC) from the inverter to power your heating, cooking, lighting and other appliances at home or in your premise.
4. Utility meter
The core function of the utility meter is to measure the solar energy use in your premise. The meter is designed to go backward when the solar system produces more power than you need. With this excess power, you are sure to have enough energy at night and other days when the weather may be unfavorable.
5. Power guide monitoring system
The power guide monitoring system is designed to track and monitor the solar energy production and usage in your premise. The system ensures your solar panels are working efficiently and in the case of faults; the monitor has a way to alert the repair and maintenance crew.
How Does The Solar Energy System Work?
Getting to understand how sunlight rays get converted into alternating current (AC) is a mystery that many would love to know. The process involves systematic procedures through the above-discussed equipment.
i. Sun shines
The solar energy production starts when the sun brightens up in the sky. The light hits the solar panels with particles of sunlight (photons) marking the beginning of energy production. However, solar panels are designed to produce energy even in cloudy weather.
ii. Collection of energy
Once the sun rises, the solar panels are ready for the day’s task. The solar panel converts the sunlight particles into electrons that bring about direct electricity. Once the direct sunlight is present, it is a step away from being converted into alternating current. The sunnier the day is, the more the production of photons and so is the solar energy.
iii. The inverter converts the energy.
The small device in your system known as the inverter is responsible for converting the direct current received from the photovoltaic cells into alternating current (AC). Therefore, the photovoltaic and the inverter are dependent on each other. If one of the two tools is not working properly, then the entire solar energy system fails.
iv. The utility meter stores the excess power
Throughout the day, the solar panels, solar cells, and the inverter are at work. These three tools then result in an excess production of power on a bright and sunny day. The utility meter here works like the backup storage. The meter offsets the energy to have it used at night or during the days when the weather is not favorable.
It is interesting to see meter spin backward in its aim to back up the excess power during an over production period. With the utility meter backing up all the energy that you don’t need immediately, your power bills are reduced significantly since the excess energy can always be of use on days with little or no sunlight.
v. Switch on and start working
After the above procedure, you are now ready to have your system fully operational. With the solar energy generated all your heating, lighting, cooking and other home and business usage are sorted out.