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Uses of Solar Panels

Introduction

We use solar panels to generate electricity. This process can take place either for domestic or industrial purposes. Domestic solar panels can be used in generating electricity at home. 


And in the industrial panel, we use it to generate electricity in mass. For this, engineers need to install an array of solar panels from a solar power station. Solar panels can be used to generate large amounts of electricity, and this process can take place both at solar and industrial scales. A key benefit of solar panels is that they can be used in providing electricity in remote areas as well, provided there is enough solar energy at that place.  This will help the people living there.

 

What are Solar Panels?

Solar energy is the energy that the Sun gives to the Earth, primarily as visible light and then later in electromagnetic radiation. Solar energy was developed nearly 100 years ago. Earlier solar energy was used in generating streams, which was then used to drive machinery. 


Edmond Becquerel discovered the photovoltaic effect, which allowed the conservation of sunlight solar electric energy. Sun’s energy is captured by the solar panel and they convert that light into electricity, which is then used to provide the power of electrical loads.


Such panels contain several individual solar cells which are composed of many layers of silicon, phosphorus, and boron. Solar panels absorb the photons and electric current is produced in doing so. 


The energy which is the result of this strikes the surface of solar panels allows electrons to be knocked out of their atomic orbits and released into the electric field generated by the solar cell. This pulls the free electrons in the directional current.  This whole process is known as the photoelectric effect.


For the necessary number of solar panels, an average home has more than enough roof area to produce enough solar electricity to supply the power needs. 


Materials Used in Solar Panels

A solar cell is the most important component of any solar panel. A single solar panel, for example, is made up of a number of solar cells. These cells are a component of the technology that converts sunlight to energy. The majority of solar panels use crystalline silicon solar cells. These cells are made up of silicon, phosphorous, and boron layers (although there are several different types of photovoltaic cells). Once created, these cells are arranged out in a grid arrangement. Because there are so many various-sized possibilities, the number of these cells needed is generally determined by the size of the panel being built. 


After the cells are set out, the panel is sealed and coated with a non-reflective glass to safeguard the cells within. This non-reflective glass protects the solar cells from harm while yet allowing sunlight to reach them. This panel is then sealed and inserted into a sturdy metallic frame. This frame is made to avoid deformation and contains a drainage hole to prevent water from accumulating on the panel, which might impair the panel's effectiveness. In order to avoid damage, the rear of the panel is likewise sealed.


Working of Solar Panels

Solar panels are used to mount a number of solar cells in order to harness their unique features to create power. The photovoltaic effect occurs when individual cells absorb photons from the Sun, resulting in the generation of an electric current in the cell. A solar panel generates direct current, which is converted to alternating current via an inverter. When these two technologies are combined, they form a photovoltaic system. When installing a solar panel, the optimum orientation is selected so that the solar panel faces the most appropriate direction for the application. This is usually done to generate the greatest yearly energy, although it isn't always the case.


Construction of Solar Panel or Solar PV

Photovoltaic modules employ the photovoltaic effect to create electricity from light energy (photons) from the Sun. Wafer-based crystalline silicon cells or thin-film cells are used in the majority of modules. The top layer or the rear layer of a module might be the structural (load-bearing) element. Mechanical and moisture damage to cells must be avoided. The majority of modules are stiff, while thin-film cell-based semi-flexible modules are also available. Electrically, the cells are normally linked in series to get the necessary voltage, then in parallel to boost current. The mathematical product of the module's voltage (in volts) and current (in amperes) gives the module's power (in watts).


The production parameters for solar panels are derived under normal conditions, which are not representative of the real-world operating conditions that the solar panels face on the installation site.


The solar panel's output interface is a PV junction box, which is mounted to the rear of the panel. Most photovoltaic modules include MC4 connectors on the outside to allow for easy weatherproof connections to the rest of the system. It's also possible to use a USB power interface.


Energy and Uses

Radiant light and heat from the Sun are known as solar energy. 

To heat water, solar hot water systems use sunlight. In the middle geographical latitudes that are 40 degrees North and 40 degrees South, by the solar heating system, 60 70% domestic hot water use can be provided, with the water temperature at 60 degrees celsius. 


Evacuated heat collectors are the most common type of solar water heater, and glazed flat plate collectors are also considered good solar water heaters. 


The total installed capacity of the solar hot water system was approx 154 thermal gigawatts as of 2007. China is the leader as in 2006 it had a deployment of 70 gigawatts and 210 gigawatts in 2020. Israel and Cyprus are also per capita leaders in the usage of solar hot water systems.


Solar energy is not only used in heating water but also in many other things in the house for cooking purposes, process heating, water treatments, electricity production, heating, cooling, ventilation, etc.


Usage of Solar Panels in Agriculture 

As we are aware of many uses of solar energy in different fields, one of those fields includes agricultural activities also. Solar energy is the supplement of many farm energies. Solar energy is very helpful in agricultural activities as well. Solar energy is used in crop and grain drying and it’s one of the oldest and most widely used techniques in agricultural activities. 


The basic components of a solar dryer are screened drying trays or racks and solar collector, enclosure, or shed. Solar energy is also used in space and water heating. Air and water heating requirements are often more in the dairy operations, modern poultry farms raise animals in enclosed buildings where it's very important to control temperature and air quality. 


The next application is greenhouse heating. The greenhouse depends on the Sun for their needs, they rely on oil and gas heaters to maintain the temperature for the plants to grow in winters.


Uses of Solar Panels for Electricity


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For the renewable energy available, the Sun is the purest source. It can be used in many forms to help power our house and business. Solar-powered photovoltaic panels convert the rays of the sun into electricity. In this process, electrons get excited in the silicon cell using the photons from sunlight. This electricity provides renewable energy.


The solar panels are placed at the top of the houses in most solar systems. There will be no shade on the panel side of an ideal site especially from 9 Am to 3 Pm. South facing installation provides the optimal potential for the system. While placing the solar panels we should take care of a few of the factors like trees should not be there near the house so that sunlight is not blocked and full productive use of solar panels is done. 


In the solar panels even if one out of the 36 panels is covered, then it will be very less productive. These are the few factors that are to be taken care of while placing a solar panel set.


Conclusion

Solar energy is the energy that the Sun gives to the Earth in visible and electromagnetic forms. We use solar panels to convert that light into electricity, which is then used to provide the power of electrical loads. The process can take place both at a solar and industrial scale.

FAQs on Uses of Solar Panels

1. Define the solar PV system and how it works?

PV is a short version of photovoltaic, which refers to the process of turning light into energy. It is a strong station that uses sunlight to generate electricity. A solar panel generates direct current, which is converted to alternating current via an inverter. When these two technologies are combined, they form a photovoltaic system. When installing a solar panel, the optimum orientation is selected so that the solar panel faces the most appropriate direction for the application. This is usually done to generate the greatest yearly energy, although it isn't always the case.


The main components of PV are solar panels or modules, solar inverters, storage batteries, etc.

2. What is the difference between solar thermal and solar PV?

The majority of solar energy which reaches the Earth is heat and sunlight or sun rays. A solar photovoltaic system uses these light energies and converts them into electricity which is used by the cells or batteries, all the electrical appliances. 


A solar thermal system uses heat from the Sun and the solar collector captures this heat and uses it to heat air or water.

3. How do solar panels work in blackouts?

If the solar panel system is connected with a grid, it will not work in the event of a blackout. It will prevent emergency response and electricity repair from preventing people from any kind of shock. However, in these conditions, one can use the inverters for backup purposes.

4. State some environmental benefits of solar energy.

Solar panels are a type of renewable energy that has several environmental and health advantages. It helps to destroy air pollutants like sulphur dioxide and particulate matter that cause health concerns by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute significantly to climate change. The photovoltaic (PV) cells that convert sunlight into power, however, are made using some harmful minerals and chemicals. Some solar thermal devices transmit heat using potentially dangerous substances. The environment might be harmed if these materials leak. Environmental regulations in the United States govern the use and disposal of these items.

5. What includes maintenance of solar panels?

Processes involved in the maintenance of solar panels and solar power facilities are included in popular packages such as:

  • Solar cells and PV panels must be cleaned on a regular basis.

  • All thermal-based components should be maintained on a regular basis.

  • HT side equipment is serviced on a yearly basis.

  • Low solar energy generation is diagnosed and tested.

  • Circuit testing and maintenance.

  • Thermal imaging and IV curve tracing.

  • Earth's worth as a metric.

  • Retro-commissioning.

  • Warranties are managed.

  • System validations for data collection.

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