Understanding How Solar Power Works

We have all seen solar panels on roof tops, most people don’t give it much thought but as most of us are becoming increasingly aware of the way our environment is changing we are gradually looking at ways to reduce and reverse the damage to our sensitive earth.

The industrial revolution brought on a need for massive power consumption and now it is quite clear that this power consumption must be tempered or changed in the way we harvest energy. One of these ways is to produce solar power.

Solar power has been around since the beginning of time and has even been used since the caveman.

From such simple things as using the sun to dry clothes and concentrating the sun’s rays to create fire to more scientific uses such as creating Free energy by using Photovoltaic Panels or cells.

Photovoltaic is a term coined by French physicist Edmond Becquerel when he discovered that a certain material would produce an electrical current when exposed to light.

He called this the Photovoltaic (PV) effect. Photovoltaic cells or solar panels are a highly advanced form of this discovery perfected by scientists over the years.

There are entire solar parks with hundreds of solar panels in huge grids that power entire cities.

So the technology is here to stay and it can benefit you by eliminating power costs and will be a catalyst in cleaning up our ailing environment.

A basic understanding of electricity will help you to understand how solar power works.

Electricity is basically Electrons, when you switch on an appliance electrons flow through a wire as they now have a place to go.

Electrons need to complete a circuit so given the chance they will flow to where they are needed. So how is electricity created?

Well as electricity is a secondary source of power it needs to be generated.

The majority of electricity is generated through coal, oil or gas fired plants that burn these fossil fuels to heat water until it becomes steam which pushes on the blades of a Turbine.

The Turbine will spin a generator that makes an electromagnet.

To come to terms with how your solar system works it is a good idea to know the common words associated with electricity.

Amps: Amp is short for ampere. It is the measured electric current in a circuit.

(Technically amps are defined as the amount of electric charge per unit of time in coulombs per second).

Current: The flow of electrons in a closed circuit. Its symbol is “I” and it is measured in amps.

Energy: Basically energy is the ability of work that something can do. It is a product of power and time. Energy is usually expressed in Watt (Wh) or kiloWatts (kWh). However, a Joule is the most basic unit of energy.

KiloWatt: A KiloWatt is equal to 1000 Watts. Its symbol is “kW”.

Power: The rate at which work is done or that energy is emitted. The symbol for Power is “P”.

Resistance: Resistance is any materials opposition to an electrical current. Resistance is measured in Ohms. The symbol for resistance is “R”. Most likely you won’t need this for any of your calculations but just in case we’ll include it.

Voltage: Voltage is also known as “electrical potential.” It’s very hard to fully understand exactly what voltage is. But if you know it’s the electrical potential then you’ll be fine moving forward.

Voltage is measured in Volts. The symbol for Volts is “V”. (This is the term that you will become most familiar with as we move forward through this course.)

Watt: A watt is equal to one joule per second. The symbol for Watt is “W”. Wattage is the measure of the amount of electrical power that a circuit can provide.

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Not doing DIY solar power? Don’t let your solar contractor hoodwink you! Learn the tech info so that you can negotiate your best deal and make sure what you buy suits your needs.

DIY Solar Power for Homes Online Guide

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