Solar energy is that produced by the Sun’s light – photovoltaic energy – and its warmth – solar thermal – for the generation of electricity or the production of heat. Inexhaustible and renewable, since it comes from the Sun, solar energy is harnessed using panels and mirrors.
Photovoltaic solar cells convert sunlight directly into electricity by the so-called photovoltaic effect, by which certain materials are able to absorb photons (light particles) and liberate electrons, generating an electric current. On the other hand, solar thermal collectors use panels or mirrors to absorb and concentrate the Sun’s heat, transferring it to a fluid and conducting it through pipes to use it in buildings and installations, and also for electricity production (solar thermoelectric).
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.
similar to those of the night-time hours.
Solar energy has the least negative impact on the environment compared to any other energy source. It does not produce greenhouse gases and does not pollute the water. It also requires very little water for its maintenance, unlike nuclear power plants for example, needing 20 times more water. Solar energy production does not create any noise, which is major benefit, since a lot of solar installations are in urban areas, such as domestic solar panels.
Generating your own electricity means that you will be using less from the utility supplier. This will immediately translate to savings on your energy bill. Plus, you can also make money by selling the unused electricity, which you have generated, back to the grid. Through solar panel grants offered, you can make your green investment even more beneficial.
The more energy you produce, the less you will need from the supplier which will increase your energy self reliance.
Solar energy systems generally don’t require a lot of maintenance. You only need to keep them relatively clean, so cleaning them a couple of times per year will do the job.
Technology in the solar power industry is constantly advancing and improvements will intensify in the future. Innovations in quantum physics and nanotechnology can potentially increase the effectiveness of solar panels and double, or even triple, the electrical input of the solar power systems.
This is an important indirect benefit that has a direct impact on the efficiency of the power grid in the case of the common problems of blackouts and voltage dips. The possibility of introducing solar power from thousands or even millions of individual energy-production centres improves the security on the power grid against overloadsor fires in transformer substations.
The production of clean energy from the sun significantly reduces costs, because it is an inexhaustible source of energy that isn’t subject to market fluctuations or the effects generated by speculation. As mentioned before, it requires a significant initial investment that is offset by the rapid amortisation of the investment. And most importantly, it is an unlimited and continuous source of energy that doesn’t require any additional maintenance or usage costs.
Nevertheless, the latest technological advances point towards a significant drop in the prices of the components required to manufacture the panels, which will translate into more efficient and affordable solar cells.
Lastly, most of the costs of the system come from the installation of the solar panels themselves, which promotes local job creation. The widespread use of these systems therefore promotes job creation and has a positive impact on the economy in the area.
The easy and simplicity of the installation means that it can be installed almost anywhere, taking advantage of both vertical and horizontal spaces with no specific use. This aspect, along with the modularity and flexibility of the system, facilitates the installation of small-scale solar projects with the added advantage that the installation can be expanded depending on the needs at any given timeBut the most interesting advantage is the possibility of providing electricity in remote locations, where the cost of installing electrical distribution lines is too high or unfeasible.
Energy production coincides with the times of maximum demand The periods with the highest energy demand are concentrated in the time slots between 11:00 and 16:00 and to a lesser extent, from 20:00 to 23:00. In systems based on the constant production of energy by power plants, the price of energy increases sharply during times of peak demand. With solar energy, on the other hand, energy production reaches its maximum during the period of the day when demand is highest. In fact, in electricity markets with large-scale solar energy production, the additional supply of energy during peak times may reduce electricity prices during the mid-day time periods to levels.
Most modern solar panels are made up of many silicon based photovoltaicwhich generate direct current electricity from solar energy. The individual Photovoltaic are linked together within the solar panel and connected to adjacent panels using Direct Current cables.
It is light energy or irradiance, not heat, which produces electricity in photovoltaic cells. Solar panels also known as solar modules are installed together in ‘strings’ to create a what is known as a solar array. The amount of solar energy generated depends on a number of factors including the orientation and tilt angle of the solar panels, efficiency of the solar panel, plus any losses due to shading, dirt and even ambient temperature. There are many different solar panel manufacturers on the market so it worth knowing which are the best solar panels and whySolar panels can generate energy during cloudy and overcast weather but the amount of energy depends on the 'thickness' and height of the clouds, which determines how much dispersed light can pass through. The amount of light energy is known as solar irradiation and usually averaged over the whole day using the term Peak Sun Hours. The amount of Peak Sun Hour or average sunlight hours can vary greatly throughout the year depending on the location.