Solar energy and production is becoming such a more familiar household topic in today’s society, but so many of us are still unsure about what solar is or how it exactly works. We fear that it is some complicated scientific subject that we might not be able to understand. Well guess what? We’re here to tell you that it’s not! Solar is so much more simple than you think. Let us show you!
Let’s start with your basic solar array – pictured below
Elliott Museum – Stuart, FL – Urban Solar Group
This is made up of individual solar panels – pictured below
…And each panel is then made up of individual solar cells.
Science has figured out a way to make these individual cells be able to absorb sunlight in large enough capacities that we can use the sunlight as electricity. However, these individual solar cells are only able to produce around 4-5 watts per hour, hence, them being combined together to create single solar panels (a.k.a. solar modules.) that have 60, 72, or 90 cells per panel.
Solar arrays can produce enough energy that we can power things as little as our cell phones or as large as entire power plants! Pretty cool, huh? The amount of energy is infinite because it all comes from the Sun, which according to science still has another 5 billion years of life expectancy, so I think we’re good!
As the solar cells absorb the sunlight (in units of measurement referred to as photons), they then convert those photons into electricity (also known as voltage). This process of conversion is called the Photovoltaic effect, which is where we get the term for a “photovoltaic system” or as commonly abbreviated, “a PV system” from.
Balance of System (BOS):
It refers to all the components needed in a PV system, other than the module. This includes AC-DC power inverters, wiring, switches, battery banks, battery chargers, solar inverters and other optional components like GPS solar trackers.
Batteries are often used in PV systems to store the energy produced by the system during the day and supply electrical energy whenever required. They’re also used to get the maximum power of the PV system and get stable voltages. Charge controllers are mostly used to protect the batteries from overcharging and discharge to prevent the electrolyte loss, which can damage the battery plate. Charge controllers are also used to prevent the current from flowing from the battery back to the array.
At Urban Solar we’ve installed many of these PV systems to help homeowners and businesses save money by turning the free power of the sun into electricity. If you’re interested about PV Solar or any of our other solar solutions, contact us today.