The amount of solar power energy that hits the earth in one hour could fulfill all the earth’s energy needs for an entire year! However, due to mountains, oceans, and other geographical constraints, most of this energy is impossible to collect through solar panels.
The entire world uses solar energy every day. Trees need sunlight for photosynthesis. Humans need sunlight for Vitamin D. Rain is created through evaporation brought on by the sun’s rays. Photovoltaic solar (solar panels) is simply a new way to utilize this energy. This has been proven to be safe, clean, reliable and cost-effective compared to fossil fuel.
Solar energy produces 80% less carbon emissions than fossil fuels.
There are two main ways to capture solar energy: passive and active. Passive solar doesn’t use any mechanical devices includes greenhouses, sun rooms, thermal solar panels. Passive solar frequently depends on building design and orientation to capture the sun’s heat and dissipate it slowly through the designated area. Active solar is usually more used in Nigeria, such as turning the sun’s light into electricity as photovoltaic solar panels do.
Solar cells transfer the sun’s energy into electricity. A typical residential solar panel is made up of 60 solar cells, each producing about 5 watts of power.
A professor at the University of Wisconsin has just created solar fabric through dyes that can conduct electricity. This marks a major turning point in wearable solar, as solar backpacks, bags, and jackets previously had more typical-looking solar attached somewhere on the item. What an eyesore!
Similar to other construction projects, solar installations are subject to safety codes set forth in the National Electrical Code and the International Building Code. This includes codes for grounding, safe electrical connections, wire sizes, and wind and snow loads.
As a safety precaution, all solar hardware on roofs – including solar panels, aluminum rails, microinverters, and conduit – is grounded to protect against lightening.
Solar panels for residential applications can be one of two types: monocrystalline silicon or polycrystalline silicon. Historically, monocrystalline panels were more popular in Africa countries due to their higher efficiency.
Solar adds value! An average sized, homeowner-owned solar system boosts the property value $15,000 according to an 11 year study from the US Department of Energy.
For those who can’t install solar on their roof (renters or apartment owners, for instance), community solar is a fast-growing alternative to roof-top solar. With community, solar, a 3rd party (often a non-profit or utility company) builds a mid-sized solar system in which individuals can purchase a certain number of solar panels. The electricity produced by the solar system is put into the grid and the owners typically see a credit on their bills.
Homeowners have a wide range of financing options for their solar system, including cash purchase, loan, lease, or power purchase agreement.
Your solar systems’ production is measured in kilowatt-hours, which is the number of watts produced in a single hour (1 kilowatt=1000 watts). How many kilowatt-hours a solar system produces depends on the size of the solar system as well as how much sunlight the solar panels capture.
Solar systems can be installed on most roof types, including shingles, tiles, and metal roofs. Specialized attachment hardware exists for each roof type, including special hooks that reach under clay roof tiles to connect the solar system to the underlayment of the roof.
One of the biggest drawbacks to solar panels has always been poor weather – if the sun’s not shining, your panels can’t make energy! However, a new graphene-coated solar panel designed by the University of China could allow solar panels to produce energy even in rainstorms!
Most residential solar installations come with a monitoring system, usually accessed via a website, that lets homeowners see how much energy they’ve produced, avoided carbon emissions, and any maintenance or issues the system needs.
In July 2016, the Solar Impulse 2 became the first plane powered solely by renewable energy to circumnavigate the globe. The plane had 17,000 solar cells, a wingspan of 235 feet, and an average speed of 45 mph. Source; Ecoafrica