Solar energy, an A – Z The basic terms relating to solar energy ( Part 1 )

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Solar energy, an A – Z  – Part 1

Solar energy is rapidly increasing in use, proving a cleaner alterative to fossil fuel-based power. However, many people still feel that they need to understand it better. We have put together a short A – Z, covering some of the main concepts related to solar energy as well as some interesting facts about this form of renewable power.

A: AC/DC

Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels convert radiation into an electric current – direct current (DC) electricity, to be specific. The system’s solar inverter then converts that charge into alternating current (AC), which is the type of power generally used in homes and businesses.

B: Bills

Solar systems produce power for many years after their costs have been amortized. You can reduce your energy bills by investing in a solar system.

C: Cost

Solar systems provide cleaner energy and will greatly reduce your electricity costs!
China also deserves a mention here as this country produces at least three times more solar energy than any other nation on Earth, and more than the next three countries – Japan, the USA, and Germany combined!

D: DIY

When it comes to installing solar panels, specifically in homes, many people wonder, should you do it yourself? While it is technically possible to do so in small installations such as for solar lights or small configurations, we recommend hiring an expert who can ensure quality and safety.

E: Efficiency

Efficiency is an important facet of any solar energy system and central to how productive your system is. Efficiency is essentially the amount of electricity which your system can generate from a certain amount of sunlight. The higher efficiency, the more power it produces.

F: Flexible

As technology evolves, flexible solar panels are thinner, lighter, and more versatile than standard solar panels, making them perfect for off-grid, on-the-move uses – like camping, caravan holidays, or powering your boat.

They’re able to bend around a corner or over a bump in your roof, because they’re made of much less substantial silicon sheets.

G: Gigawatts (GW)

A gigawatt (GW) is equal to one billion watts or 1000 megawatts.

We use gigawatts to refer to how much solar power we produce as a planet. In 2019, for instance, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), our solar energy capacity increased by 98GW to 586GW. This 20% increase of 20% was a bigger rise than any other source of power enjoyed.

H: Home

If you’re looking for a cost-effective, convenient source of renewable energy to get installed at home and you have unobstructed roof space available, a solar system is an excellent solution.

Not only will a home solar energy system help supply energy, it will also add value to your home and property.

I: Installation

The correct installation of any solar system is absolutely essential. There is significant planning involved, particularly with commercial and industrial systems. Be sure to check the accreditations, references and experience of the solar company that you work with. It is also worthwhile asking whether the installation is covered by a warrantee.

J: Junction Box

The junction box sit at the back of the solar panel and connects the panel leads to the inside of the panel.

K: Kilowatt hours (kWh)

This is the measurement that shows how much energy is produced by your solar panels.

When planning a solar system, the first step is to check how many kilowatt hours you are currently consuming. This will enable to you to determine the size of the system that you need.

L: Light

Light is the essential ingredient in the solar energy process. Without the sun, we wouldn’t have solar power, or indeed humans. Because the sun’s radiation is unlimited, solar is a form of renewable energy. Solar panels do still catch light on a cloudy day, as there are many wavelengths of light you can’t see. However, their efficiency may be reduced in these conditions.

M: Maintenance

Maintenance is essential to the effective functioning of any solar plant.  You should clean your panels at least once per year, using water and a non-abrasive sponge. Debris such as dust, bird droppings or leaves can reduce your system’s performance significantly.

Read more in part 2 of this blog here.

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