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SEPCO's blog on all things renewable and green

What is it that a solar panel does?

Posted by SEPCO

8/2/11 10:30 AM

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So while you are traveling around you see solar panels here and there. There are solar panels power cameras or a sign on the side of the highway. There are solar panels that even power homes and buildings. There are even solar panels powering lighting all over the world. Do you know how they work? How they produce the electricity to run the device? Let’s see if we can break this down.

Solar panels convert sunlight into electricity. This happens due to light photons striking a solar cell and knocking electrons free from the silicon atoms of the crystal structure of the cell. This energy is then fed into the device either directly, through an inverter to the device, or more commonly into a battery. Once the energy goes to its destination, the electrons move back to the solar cell and start their journey again.

The solar modules come in a variety of Wattages and can be put together in series to create even more power. Depending on the needs of the device or devices and the geographic location of the installation determines the needed amount of solar for power. For example one light inTexas may use an 85 Watt panel, but the same light would need a larger panel, or panels put into series in Michigan. Making sure that the correct Wattage necessary for the application is critical when determining the solar panel used. Even if the solar cannot power the house due to location, it can produce some electricity to help offset the overall electric costs. If you are interested in utilizing solar for any application, talk to a solar professional to help determine exactly what you need. What other applications have you seen solar being utilized?

Topics: Solar Power

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