Solar Panel Design
Understanding Solar Panel Design
For the most part, solar panel design is a relatively simple creation. In all designs, the sun's light, or photons, shine on the solar panel. The solar panel is made of photovoltaic material, usually silicon. The silicon is part of a sandwich with other materials, with a semiconductor material in the middle of the sandwich. As the sun's photons beat down on the silicon, the atoms become excited, and begin to move around. As the atoms, and subsequent electrons, move throughout the silicon they create a current. This current excites the conductive material, in turn creating electricity. Initially, the current is in the form of DC , or direct current, which is not really applicable for most residential uses. Within the solar panel design, there are mechanisms to convert the power generated to AC, so it can be fully used to power your home or business.
In order to make your solar panel installation successful, you must find efficient solar panels to help transfer the sun's energy to useable electric throughout your home or business. The efficiency of a solar panel is expressed as a percentage, measuring the amount of the sun's protons that are converted to electricity. Picture two solar panels of the same exact size. If one panel has a 15% efficiency, and another of 21%, the panel with the 21% efficiency will produce more kWh of electricity. The most efficient solar panels currently available convert about 22% of the photons to electric, but the majority of solar panels for residential designs range from about 15-20% efficiency. Of course, solar panels with higher efficiencies will cost more money up front, but can end up generating more power in the long run. Technology in this area continues to advance every day as companies are creating more efficient solar panels for the market. Areas like Cape Town, South Africa that have a tremendous amount of sunny days, can benefit from efficient solar panels to convert more green energy for your home.