Solar Electric Panels - 5 Myths Debunked!
By Jim W Carter
In the past few years people have become much more aware of environmental concerns. With all of the publicity about global warming and the greenhouse effect more people are looking for ways to lessen these conditions. Solar electric panels have become a very popular way of helping the situation.
The fuels that are being used to operate our vehicles and supply power to businesses and homes are a big reason for this sort of problem. The mining and drilling for these products do harm to the earth's surface and the by-products when producing power with them and using them pollute the air.
Another major problem with the coal and petroleum products that we use is they can only be used once.
The most popular alternative form of energy is solar electricity. Although more people are choosing this type of power for their homes each day, there are still some misconceptions about this way to produce power for homes. Let's go ahead and address a few of these misconceptions about solar electric panels:
1. Solar electric panels are more for industrial use than for homes.
It is true that many industrial plants use some solar power electricity. It is also a fact that millions of homes around the world use solar power electricity. It is a proven reliable, versatile and efficient power source for home use.
2. Solar power electricity is expensive to produce.
Solar power is produced using the sun's rays. Sunlight is an absolutely no cost raw material. With the explosion of solar technology in recent years, it is getting much cheaper and more available to use solar power electricity panels and solar roof tile which makes it one of the most economic ways to produce power in your home.
3. Solar energy can't run everything in my home.
Solar power electricity has proven to be very versatile and adaptable. It can be converted to operate anything in the home. There are those who choose to start with only a few items in their homes with solar power electricity. They then choose to power a few more items at a time until they have as much solar electric power as they wish to have in their home.
4. Residential solar energy electricity is too expensive to install.
This statement is becoming less factual as technology advances. There are several companies that will install your solar panels and allow the buyers to finance them for several years. Recently many people are installing solar power electricity panels on their own which has become quite inexpensive.
5. I will have to hire someone to put the solar panels on my house.
Thanks to recent technology it has become possible for just about anyone to build and install their own solar power electricity system for themselves. There are products that can be purchased which have detailed step by step direction manuals and videos. These products are made for those who have no experience with do-it-yourself projects.
With the number of people who are becoming more concerned with the condition of the environment and also looking for ways to reduce their power bills many are researching alternative power sources. With all of the new technology of late, many of the misconceptions about solar electric panels are being dismissed.
Next, for all of those who want to keep more of their hard earned money in their pocket, go over to http://hubpages.com/hub/Solar-Electric-Panels-2-Use. Discover the most cost effective way to have a piece o the future by following the solar power electricity link.
How Is Solar Electricity Generated From Photovoltaic Solar Energy, and Is It a Viable Alternative?
By Annie Whitney
There is much ado about solar electricity these days, and whether solar electricity generated from photovoltaic solar energy cells is a viable alternative to our addiction to fossil fuels. Of course, this depends on what part of the planet one lives. Since a large percentage of the earth could sustain every home using solar electricity, this could go a long way towards weaning ourselves from burning fossil fuels such as oil, coal, and natural gas for electricity generation.
It is estimated that only 1% of the total population on our planet of 7 billion people is using photovoltaics to generate electricity. However, that is still a relatively large number of people, an estimated 70 million. In 2010, Spain opened the world's largest solar power generating plant; on average, Spain receives 340 days of sunshine a year, and in 2011, solar energy met 2.8 percent of their demand for electricity.
Exactly how is electricity generated from solar energy? The Photovoltaic, or PV, cell is able to capture electrical charges when exposed to sunlight. The conducting material most commonly used is silicon. The electric current is than conducted away by metal contacts; this DC, or direct current, is then either stored in batteries, or used directly to run lights, motors, or equipment specifically designed to run on DC. For those motors, appliances, and lights which use AC, or alternating current, this DC power must be changed into AC power with the use of and Inverter. PV panels were an American invention in the 1950s, but today 90% of all PV panels are manufactured outside of the United States.
Many towns and villages around the globe are currently using solar electricity as their sole source of power. The government of India is striving to make rooftop solar panels mandatory buildings over 3,000 square feet. This is starting to happen in the USA as well. Municipalities are finding that the use of PV panels is greatly reducing the utility costs for the city. Several high end housing developments in Colorado are requiring that rooftop solar panel systems be installed on each home. Even though Wind Turbines produce more electrical output, they also require maintenance, and their installation is a major engineering feat. PV panels, on the other hand, require almost no maintenance for years on end, and are quite easily installed.
In 2009, former vice president Al Gore issued a challenge to America; could we become 100% carbon-free by 2020 or 2030? And could the entire planet also derive 100% of it's electricity from solar, wind, and water? It's a lofty goal, but one which needs serious consideration, not only from a climate standpoint, but from a sustainability standpoint. After all, there is a finite amount of fossil fuels to be harvested, whereas there is an unlimited supply of sunshine and wind.
And what about the cost of PV power vs. grid power? The cost of PV has been greatly reduced over the past few years; not only are more factories making the panels, but the technology is advancing in leaps and bounds, and the 2'x3' panel that once produced 35 watts of electricity can now produce 100 watts, or even more. The saying that ''Necessity is the Mother of Invention'' is certainly demonstrated in the Solar Electric Industry. Factor into all of this the increasing costs of mass producing electricity at large power plants, and the cost of sending that power over transmission lines, and the economic value of Sustainable Energy looks better every day.
As part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, under Sec. 1251, "all public electric utilities are now required to make available upon request net metering to their customers." This means that any home or business which generates electricity from the sun or wind can, by means of a Grid Innertie device, sell their excess electricity to the public utility company in their area.
The final two factors to consider when asking if solar electricity generated from photovoltaic solar energy is a viable alternative are these.
1) American taxpayers subsidize the fossil fuel industry with billions of dollars annually. Between 2002 and 2008 it was $72.4 billion. During that same time period, $29 billion was spent to subsidize renewable energy; unfortunately, half of that was for corn ethanol production, which has been shown to not only waste vast amounts of our dwindling water supply, but also waste a food source which would be put to better use in feeding the millions of people around the globe. It is estimated by the United Nations that 50,000 people starve to death every day, 18,000 of whom are children. In truth, if subsidies to all energy were ended, solar would certainly be the most economical source of electricity.
2) The National Power Grid is vulnerable to large outages caused not only by fires, explosions, and other man made mishaps, but also by natural disasters such as ice storms, tornadoes, earthquakes, and hurricanes. Those who have lived through brown-outs or black-outs can attest to the inconvenience, as well as the economic consequences, of such events. Today it is the threat of terrorism to the Power Grid that is causing the most concern. The government task force on Cyber Terrorism is keeping a constant eye on the vulnerable Power Grid, for without the electricity that it produces, our country would come to a halt.
When a home, a business, or a town produces its own electricity, and therefore eliminates the need to rely totally on the National Grid, it is much less likely to be effected by large outages, and can even be protected from terrorist attacks. If a home produces 100% of its own power, then no matter what happens to the rest of the Grid, that home will be able to maintain itself completely. There may be no electricity "on the outside" to run the TV and radio stations, or the Internet, but the home itself will continue to have water and power and heat. So it is with a resounding YES that we answer the question, "Is Solar Electricity Generated From Photovoltaic Solar Energy a Viable Alternative?"
Annie Whitney is a Relationship and Internet Sponsoring Expert, specializing in helping others generate Leads & Cash Flow. She has also lived off of the grid since 1971. For more about her experiences, click here => Living Off Of The Grid
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Annie_Whitney/213789
How Solar Electric Panels Work
By Amanda Lacasse
If you have more than a passing interest in solar energy and are thinking of investing in a home solar panel array, then you probably have a vague idea of how solar panels generate electricity. When I first began looking into "going solar", my concept of how these systems worked was basically this: sun shines on a solar panel, causes some sort of reaction within the materials of which the panel is made, and, voila, electricity results. Exactly how sunshine goes in and electricity comes out is a bit more complicated, however. A little bit of research will give you a pretty good understanding of how a solar electric panel works, and it's pretty interesting stuff.
Solar Panels and Electricity Generation
The alternative name for solar panels is photovoltaic, which literally means "light electricity." The idea that sunshine could be converted into electrical power was first noted by a French scientist named Alexandre Edmond Becquerel in 1839. Becquerel's research led to simple photovoltaics that used selenium to produce electricity; not until the 1950s did silicon take selenium's place as a superior electrical conductor. This new semiconductor material needed a little help to become an exceptional conductor of electricity, though, so researchers added other elements, such as phosphorus or boron. This process, called doping, greatly increases the silicon's ability to create an electric current.
Each solar panel is actually made of individual photovoltaic (PV) cells, each of which is a tiny power generating plant. Hundreds of these cells are then made into a module, groups of which are in turn attached to a panel. A panel's wattage is derived as a function of each cell's electricity production and its voltage. How do the cells make electricity? Typically, each cell has two layers, both of which contain silicon. The top layer is doped with phosphorus, whereas the bottom one is doped with boron. This essentially sets up a situation whereby the bonding of silicon with each of these materials creates an electrical charge. The top layer generates a positive charge, while the bottom layer is negatively charged. The no man's land in between these layers is called the P-N junction, where electron movement creates an electric field which keeps electrons moving from the P layer to the N layer, even though they would much prefer to move in the opposite direction.
Sunlight is the ingredient that gets all these electrons jumping around in the first place. As electrons move and are channeled into the appropriate direction, electrical wiring within the cell supplies the circuitry necessary for the generation of electrical power.
Types of Solar Electric Panels
Most of us are familiar with the boxy type of solar panels that are commonly seen in arrays on rooftops. Thin-film solar panels are becoming more available these days, as well. These flexible panels are not as efficient as their rigid-style cousins, but are also cheaper. I see these products helping to speed the solar revolution not only with their lower cost but also because they can be used in applications where rigid panels are either inconvenient or unattractive. Solar roof shingles, anyone?
Amanda Lacasse lives in a passive solar home and is looking into ways to segue into a more active solar lifestyle. Read more about all things solar by visiting http://SolarizedHome.com/.
What Are Solar Panels?
By John T Kelley
The sun is the primary source of energy on Earth and sunlight can be converted directly into electricity using solar panels. Electricity has become indispensable in life. It powers the machines that most us use daily.
So, what are solar panels? What if you can create your own?
In this article, we will show you a straightforward method of building your own functional solar panel.
A solar panel is usually manufactured from six (6) components namely the PV (photovoltaic) cell or solar cell which generates the electricity, the glass which covers and protects the solar cells, the frame which provides rigidity, the backsheet where the solar cells are laid, the junction box where the wirings are enclosed and connected, and the encapsulant which serves as adhesives.
Since most people does not have access to equipment in manufacturing solar panels, it is important to note and understand those six components in order for anyone to be able to plan the materials needed to create a do-it-yourself or home-made solar panel.
The materials needed on how to make a solar panel must be available for purchase locally or online and should not exceed the cost of a brand new solar panel or does not take a long time to build.
1.) PV Cell
The first thing to consider when building your own solar panel is the solar cell.
Photovoltaic (PV) cell or solar cell converts visible light into electricity. One (1) solar cell however is not enough to produce a usable amount of electricity much like the microbot in Baymax (Hero 6) which only becomes useful when combined as a group. This basic unit generates a DC (direct current) voltage of 0.5 to 1 volt and although this is reasonable, the voltage is still too small for most applications. To produce a useful DC voltage, the solar cells are connected in series and then encapsulated in modules making the solar panel. If one cell generates 0.5 volt and is connected to another cell in series, those two cells should then be able to produce 1 volt and they can then be called a module. A typical module usually consists of 28 to 36 cells in series. A 28-cell module should be able to produce roughly 14 volts (28 x 0.5 = 14VDC) which is enough to charge a 12V battery or power 12V devices.
Connecting two or more solar cells require that you have a basic understanding of series and parallel connection which is similar to connecting batteries to make up a battery storage system.
There are two most common solar cells that can be bought in the market; a monocrystalline cell and a polycrystalline cell. These two can have the same size, 156mm x 156mm, but the main difference would be efficiency. It is important to purchase additional cells to serve as backup in case you fail on some of the cells i.e. bad solder, broken cell, scratched, etc.
Monocrystalline solar cells are usually black and octagonal in shape. This type of solar cell is made of the highest and purest grade silicon which makes them expensive. But they are the most efficient of all types of solar cells and are almost always the choice of solar contractors when space is an important factor to consider in achieving the power they want to attain based on their solar system design.
Polycrystalline PV Cells are characterized by their bluish color and rectangular shape. These cells are manufactured in a much simpler process which lowers the purity of the silicon content and also lowers the efficiency of the end product.
Generally, monocrystalline cells are more efficient than polycrystalline cells but this does not mean that monocrystalline cells perform and outputs more power than polycrystalline cells. Solar cell efficiency has something to do with the size of the cells and every solar panel or cells have an efficiency rating based on standard tests when they were manufactured. This rating is usually in percentage and the common values range from 15% to 20%.
The glass protects the PV cells while allowing optimal sunlight to pass through. These are usually made of anti-reflective materials. Tempered glass is the choice of material nowadays even for unknown and new manufacturers although there are still those who utilize flat plate glass on their solar panels. Tempered glass are created by chemical or thermal means and is many times stronger than plate glass making it more expensive to produce but the price of manufacturing them today is reasonable and cost-effective. Flat plate glass creates sharp and long shards when broken as opposed to tempered glass which shatters safely in small pieces upon impact, that is why they also call it safety glass. It should be noted here that most amorphous solar panels uses flat plate glass because of the way the panel is constructed.
Tempered glass is what manufacturers use in mass producing their solar panels. In our DIY project, we suggest to use Plexiglas also called acrylic glass which is safer than the regular normal glass from your local hardware store. It is a bit expensive than regular glass but is weather resistant and does not break easily. The Plexiglas can also be screwed or glued easily to the frame.
A frame is usually made of anodized aluminum which provides structure and rigidity to the solar module. These aluminum frames are also designed to be compatible with most solar mounting systems and grounding equipment for easy and safe installation on a roof or on the ground.
The frame in a factory-built solar panel is usually the aluminum part where all four sides of the solar panel sheet are inserted. Think of it as a skeletal rectangular frame. The solar panel sheet by the way is composed of the other 4 components and are layered and laminated in the following order from top to bottom; the tempered glass, top encapsulant, the solar cells, bottom encapsulant, then the backsheet. In our DIY solar panel, we will be using a wooden frame and the end-result would be something analogous to a picture frame where the picture is the solar cells glued to a non-conductive board, the glass for the Plexiglas top cover, and the wooden part as the frame and backsheet.
The backsheet is the layer of plastic film on the back surface of the module. This is the only layer protecting the module from unsafe DC voltage. The main function of the backsheet is to insulate and protect the handler from shock and provide the safest, efficient, and dependable electrical conductivity possible.
The backsheet will be a wooden plywood where the frame will be screwed on top and on the sides. It should be noted here that a perforated hardboard (Pegboard) will be used to place and align the PV Cells and this Pegboard will sit on top of the wooden backsheet and fitted inside the wooden frame.
5.) Junction Box
The junction box is where the terminal wires and bypass diodes are located and concealed. The terminal wires are basically the positive and negative wires based on the series connections of the PV Cells and can be connected to another solar panel, a charge controller, a battery system, or to an inverter, depending on the system design. The bypass diode is a protective mechanism that prevent power from getting back to the solar panel when it is not producing electricity as in the case when it is night time.
There are junction boxes designed for factory-built solar panels that are now available to purchase online especially from China. If you are not pressed for time, you can order online and wait for the delivery otherwise you can just purchase a regular electrical junction box from your local hardware store. The purpose of the junction box is to protect the terminals (positive and negative terminals) from water, dust, and other elements. This is also where the two wires (red for positive and black for negative) will be coming from. The other end of these two wires can also be protected by using a PV accessory called MC4 which can also be purchased online together with the PV junction box.
Encapsulant sheets prevent water and dirt from infiltrating the solar modules and serve as shock-absorbers that protect the PV cells. They have this adhesive bonding capability to the glass, the PV cells, and the backsheet similar to a glue but stronger. Encapsulants are usually made of Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate or EVA and are applied using lamination machines and processes. Solar panel manufacturers use a vacuum and a large oven to properly seal and cure the EVA sheet onto the solar panels. Most of us do not have the capability to do this but many still have tried and failed while others had varying levels of success.
Encapsulants are thin plastic sheets that are usually laminated on the top and bottom parts of the solar cell sheet. The bottom encapsulant is the layer on top of the backsheet where the solar cells are actually placed and supported. In our project, we will instead use a latex acrylic paint. This paint will not be applied to the pv cells because when attempted, will not result in an equal distribution or application of the liquid to the surface of the cells which can degrade performance. The paint will be applied to the wooden frame, wooden backsheet, and to the Pegboard. This Latex Acrylic paint should be able to protect the wooden parts from UV rays and can better resist blistering and cracking overtime. This paint, although water-soluble, can dry quickly and becomes water-resistant.
John Kelley [http://howtomakeasolarpanel.net]
At [http://howtomakeasolarpanel.net], we write articles specifically focused on solar panels meant for the home and other personal uses. We provide our guests with direct links to purchase books and programs on any solar panel topic.
Come check out our page of educational YouTube videos for the DIY folks. Anything to do with solar and the efficiency of cells and panels is discussed on our blog.
Solar Panels Cost
By William Benard
So, what exactly is involved in calculating solar panels cost? When thinking about solar power very few people know the way the cost of solar panel systems is actually measured. Or even, for that matter, do we automatically grasp the connection relating to the cost of solar power and the value of solar power. We all know that gasoline prices are in dollars per gallon. We likewise are all aware of approximately how far we'll be able to drive after spending 40 bucks for a tank of gas. In contrast to a tank of gas, the value of which can be consumed pretty much instantly, solar panels deliver their value across a period of time.
With that thought, the purpose of this article is to address two questions: (1) How much do solar panels cost? AND (2) Can the value of solar panels outweigh the cost?
The initial question is directly linked to solar panels cost, so we'll cover that first. Solar photovoltaic (PV) panels (that transform the sun's rays into electrical energy) usually are priced in dollars per watt ($/W). Generally there are several facts associated with this step. It's possible that you'll hear some people talk about DC watts vs AC watts. Additionally they may well mention something referred to as dollars per watt peak ($/Wp). But the key aspect to remember is the fact that, when you decide to buy a solar energy system, you are actually purchasing the capability or "potential" to create electricity right now and into the future. Pretty neat, huh?
That being said, how much money will you be paying? What's the out-of-pocket cost of a solar PV system?
Considering the fact that every single solar home installation is just a little different, the result differs a bit from home to home. And also, taking into consideration that solar rebates and solar tax credits are normally made available at the state and/or local level, the price varies somewhat from region to region. Know that all US homeowners with federal income tax liability are able to take advantage of a federal solar energy tax credit worth 30% of system costs. Listed here are a few useful resources for solar energy costs:
(1) The Open PV Project, a project of the National Renewable Energy Lab, contains pricing data from solar installers nationwide. The 2010 nationwide average price for solar PV was $7.15 per watt. Not all solar installation companies participate in this program, hence the numbers aren't absolutely perfect. Nonetheless the information supplies a look of how much, for example, the typical Arizona homeowner could be spending ($5.64/W) versus the average homeowner in New Jersey at ($7.64/W).
(2) Certain states mandate solar installers to report the prices for their solar installations and authorities may hold back solar rebates in the event that figures aren't supplied. The end result is fairly thorough solar panels cost data. Pennsylvania's Sunshine Solar Rebate Program, for example, is reporting an average rate of $5.32/W for residential solar energy projects having a median system capacity of 8 kilowatts (kW). Go Solar California, a joint venture of the California Energy Commission with the California Public Utilities Commission, is presently reporting quarterly updates on domestic solar costs, that are averaging about $7.19 per watt.
(3) If you are not quite sure, choose a rule of thumb. Any time you are calculating the cost of solar panels use a default value of $7.00/W for household solar projects. Even if this figure might not be perfect, it is a good ballpark figure to start. Remember that this pre-incentive figure can end up being reduced by whatever solar rebates together with tax credits offered in your region.
(4) Try to get at the very least two (ideally three) solar home energy price quotes from accredited solar installers. In the end, it's not until you have gotten a definite proposal that you will be able to know about how much solar panels will cost for your home.
As mentioned above, due to the fact each and every project is unique, it is rather tricky to make generalizations. Nonetheless, presuming a pre-incentive cost of $7.00/W, an average 5-kW system would probably have a gross cost of $35,000 ($7.00/W * 5,000 W = $35,000). Any kind of solar rebates are going to lower this gross cost even more, as would the 30 percent federal solar tax credit.
Does the value presented by solar panels outweigh the price tag?
Like the previous answer, this one fluctuates from project to project, and place to place. In states that happen to be "ideal" for solar, such as New Jersey, Pennsylvania, California, Arizona, Massachusetts Colorado and Hawaii, as well as others, a solar panel system pays for itself after as little as three to five years and supply dependable, long-term energy savings. When it comes to a residential solar energy project, you ought to look at the following factors, all of which plays a part in solar panels' return on your investment:
(1)The actual price you have to pay for electrical power. All things the same, individuals that pay a relatively high per-kilowatt hour (kWh) price for their electricity can have the biggest monetary payback on their solar home energy system.
(2)The solar energy incentives available in your area. If you are living in a state where you will be able to sell solar renewable energy credits (SRECs), a home solar energy system will not just reduce your electricity bill, it is going to yield revenue above and beyond utility savings.
(3)The quantity of sunshine or "insolation" in your location. While a lot of the U.S. receives ample amounts of sunshine to make solar an effective proposition, solar energy systems do yield more power in sunnier places.
(4)The likely influence solar panels should have on the value of your home. Usually, solar panels improve a home's worth and, accordingly decrease its price of ownership.
A solid quote will accurately illustrate the year-after-year cost benefits associated with a given system. It will also contain a cash flow evaluation that provides an anticipated investment recovery time frame and return on investment (ROI).
Naturally, it is your decision, the property owner, to determine what sort of monetary payback you want in a home energy improvement. Many people are comfortable with a ten year repayment and understand that a solar panel system will continue to deliver inflation-protected financial savings for as much as an extra 15 years following that 10 year period. Other types of homeowners may want an investment recovery of, maybe, 5 years or fewer.
In general, countless new solar power projects are typically greatly cutting homeowners' power bills and offering a positive ROI. The value of solar panels is much more than the upfront solar panels cost. To be truthful, then again, you'll find instances in states that local solar incentives are weak and/or electricity is fairly cheap. Examples include Kentucky, Alabama and Nevada. Currently throughout these places, it is difficult to say if the value of solar is higher than the costs. Up against a 19-year investment recovery coupled with a return on investment in the low single digits, an individual in Nebraska, to provide an example, can be forgiven for their concern.
As solar panels cost becomes a little more affordable every day, and while an increasing number of states are implementing steps to encourage demand for solar power, you can believe that the value of a home solar energy system improves for nearly all property owners nationwide. In the event that you're fortunate enough to be in a state where the value of solar already surpasses its cost, do not miss out on an incredible opportunity!
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