Solar panels have long been one of the most popular forms of alternative energy generation for home use. If you have not seen or used a solar panel then you may be missing out on a renewable form of energy. There are many advantages to sourcing your electricity from solar energy technology over other sources of energy and these include being more environmentally friendly, being easy to install, lowering energy bills and lasting longer.
How does a solar panel work?
The term ‘solar panel’ generally refers to a photovoltaic system which absorbs the energy from the sun and converts it into electricity. When the sun’s energy comes into contact with photovoltaic cells in a solar panel, it is converted into electrical energy. This energy is then transferred to the property’s electricity system and either used straight away to power, light or heat the premises, or stored for future use in solar batteries when the solar energy is not so readily available, such as when the weather is dull, stormy or during the night. This makes solar panels really popular in areas that receive constant sunlight. The Australian climate lends itself to the technology and Perth solar panels are so common as the benefits are so great and profitable.
What makes up a solar panel?
Solar panels are normally made from silicon, which has the chemical symbol Si and is a hard, blue-grey crystalline substance. It is an effective semi-conductor that conducts electricity without resistance and is the second most abundant element in the Earth’s crust. The panels also contain boron, a noble gas that makes up about one-third of the Sun’s molecules. Boron has the symbol B and is also found in rocket fuel igniters and pyrotechnic flares to add a distinctive green lustre.
Silicon and boron are combined in solar panel technology to form what is known as silicon carbide, which is the main component of solar panels. Photovoltaic cells are laid in rows to form a larger panel that is affixed to a roof or flat surface that gets good exposure to the sun. The silicon in the solar panel helps to make the device more efficient in converting the solar rays into electricity for use or storage in solar batteries. It is also light in weight, making it an ideal material to mount on top of a roof.
What are the best conditions for solar power?
In addition to being used to heat water and power lighting, domestic appliances and commercial machinery, solar power panels are also used to make electricity to store in solar batteries for future use. As such, placing them in the optimal location to work at their very best is a key part of the installation process. Choose a roof or flat surface that is hit by the sun’s rays with no obstructions – the panels can work even when the sun is not at its hottest or brightest, but they do require at least some regular exposure for the technology to work.
A high amount of sunlight is required to ensure the panels are able to collect the maximum amount of solar energy. You should also ensure that the panels are fixed firmly to the surface and are able to be connected to the associated electricity conversion and storage equipment. There are also several different sizes of panels that are available. If you plan to build your own solar panels or if you wish to buy ready-made panels, then you will need specialist tools, including a mitre saw, to cut the panels to size and fix them together. You should also consider mounting the solar panels on a concrete slab or some other flat surface to ensure they stay securely in place. Finally, keep an eye on your solar panels and solar batteries and have them cleaned and maintained regularly to achieve the best possible performance, cost-effectiveness and length of useful working life.