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The Basics of Solar Panels

The Basics of Solar Panels

solar panels

Solar panels Top Solar Panels Ireland the sun’s energy into electricity, which can be used to power homes, businesses and even large utility-scale generation plants. They can also offset your electric bill and help reduce dependence on fossil fuels that are limited in supply and generate harmful greenhouse gasses when burned.

A solar panel is comprised of multiple solar cells, which are usually made of semiconductor materials such as silicon. When sunlight hits the cell, it knocks electrons loose, which creates a flow of electricity that is directed by metal contacts on top and bottom of the cell to a battery or other external load. A solar panel can have as few as 36 interconnected cells or as many as 100. Each solar cell produces a relatively low amount of electricity, so the panels are wired together in series and parallel to increase voltage and current.

From Rays to Watts: Understanding the Science Behind Solar Panels

The solar energy stored in a battery is then converted to usable AC power with an inverter, which can be used for everything from running appliances to lighting and heating the house. The excess electricity can also be sold back to the electric grid for credit on your utility bill or sent to a solar energy storage system for use when the sun isn’t shining.

While solar is a renewable resource, it’s not without its drawbacks, including the mining of raw materials and the manufacturing of the PV cells themselves, which emit greenhouse gases. However, the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy has found that PV systems can pay for themselves in terms of energy savings and greenhouse gas emissions within four years of use.

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