Solar Panel (1)

A solar panel is a photovoltaic module that traps solar energy, and converts it to electrical energy. It is an assembly in which photovoltaic cells are integrated into a framework. A collection of solar modules is called a solar panel. It supplies the electric current to electronic appliances.

Configuration of solar panel

A solar panel is a silicon-layered assembly. It is a semi-conductor that is produced naturally or synthetically as well. Scientist synthesizes silicone as a uniform single crystal in a tube. This tube is then unrolled and cut into thin fine wafers. The efficiency of most solar panels lies between 10 to 20%. About 10 years ago, its efficiency was about 13% then it elevated to 20% in 2019. 29% is the maximum limit of silicon.

Working of solar panel

The solar panel receives photons from the sunlight. These photons excite the electrons and make them leave the atom. Silicon cannot carry electric current on its own. Silicon coming in solar particles is considered impure that’s why it is integrated with phosphorus. The combination of silicon with phosphorus allows the free and easy delocalization of electrons from atoms. As a consequence, electrons freely take the electrical charge on them.This process of adding phosphorus as an impurity is called Doping. The result of doping comes in the form of N-type silicon and this is what normally seen on the solar panel. P-type silicon, the mirror opposite of N-type silicon, resides beneath the upper layer. P-type silicon takes impurities from other elements such as boron and gallium, making space for electrons and creating a magnetic field where it carries a positive charge and N-type silicon carries a negative charge. Photons trigger the electron in N-type silicon and make them move towards the P-type silicon to fill electron spaces. This movement of electrons generates an electric current.

Applications of solar panel

  • Solar water heating

A solar water heating unit consists of metal tubing that faces the comprehensive solar rays. This metal tube is associated with the flattened black plate metal collector that has a layer of the thermal insulator at the bottom and transparent glass covering its top. The metal tubing is connected with the insulated tank with the help of a pipe. This tank keeps the water warm during cold days. This hot water is then stored in storage tanks and supplied to the areas of usage. This system is commonly used in guest houses, hotels, bungalows, hospitals, homes, and industrial units.

  • Solar heating of buildings

Space heating of buildings can be done by solar energy through various means.

  • Some building elements absorb the solar radiation directly such as large windows.
  • In some buildings, solar collectors are used, which may heat air, water, or other storage gadgets. That’s how heat is stored and used at night or when needed.

The stored heat is transferred through conventional means such as ducts, air outlets, fans, hot-air registers, and radiators. The transferred heat is then used by the building for various purposes.

  • Solar distillation

In coastal or semi arid areas, there is poor availability of potable water. Through the solar distillation process, saline water can be converted into potable distilled water. Saline water is stored in a deep black basin which is covered by an airtight transparent glass. Solar radiations are penetrated through this glass cover and are converted into heat at the black basin. This heat vaporizes the water from brine and these vapors are then condensed back to the pure water in the cool roof. The condensed purified water is then stored in the storage tank to provide potable distilled water in the areas of scarcity.

  • Solar pumping

This process is suitable for irrigation purposes. Solar energy generates the power that is used to pump water. This process is more efficient in summer as more solar energy will generate more power. However, the requirement of this process declines in winters as the process of transpiration also slows down.

  • Solar drying of animal and agricultural products.

Solar drying is a conventional way to dry out animal and agricultural products. The product is placed over perforated trays enclosed by a cabinet withan insulated base, black interior and inclined glass cover at the top. Ventilation holes on the cabinet allow the air to pass over the product.

Cost of solar panel

The average-sized solar panel usually costs from $11144 to $14696 and the average price per watt ranges from $2.51 to $3.31.

Solar panel installation (2)

  1. Set up scaffolding

Setting up scaffolding ensures safety while installing a solar panel on the roof.

  1. Installing solar panel mounts

In this step, the mounting system of the solar panel is set up. The entire mounting structure should be at an angle between 18-36 degrees. It allows maximum exposure to sun rays.

  1. Installing solar panels

Solar panels are then installed on the mounting arrangement with the help of nuts and bolts.

  1. Wiring the solar panels

In this step, electrical wiring is installed. The most suitable connectors for all solar panels are MC4 connectors. It is important to switch off all the domestic electricity supply while wiring installation.

  1. Installing solar inverter

It could be outdoor as well as indoor and is installed at a cooler place near the chief panel. It is then connected to the main panel.

  1. Connection of solar inverter and solar battery

A solar inverter is then connected to a solar battery that stores the energy for cloudy days.

  1. Connection of inverter to the consumer unit

The inverter is connected to the consumer unit to create an electric current. A generation meter is used to check the amperes of electricity.

Return on investment of solar panels

The solar panel is a financial system. It can generate annual returns from 10% to more than 30%. The ROI of the solar panel depends upon several factors such as location, incentives provided by the government, and sort of solar panel.

References

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_panel
  2. https://www.greenmatch.co.uk/blog/2014/09/solar-panel-installation-and-maintenance