I was driving down the Interstate when something caught my eye. I looked to my right and saw a field full of solar panels. I was amazed and went out of my way to come back around just to see them again.
It got me thinking about renewable energy and the increasing use of solar energy. I have always been fascinated by technology and science; which of course includes solar panels. There is so much that humanity has to learn about the way the universe works. Once we begin harnessing the benefits that it holds (in a healthy way) – we will flourish. It’s apparent that we are living at the forefront of this new era as it can be seen all around us.
How Do Solar Panels Work?
Solar panels contain photovoltaic cells that capture energy from the sun and turn it into electricity. This works by allowing particles of light to free electrons from atoms within the panel itself. It is this that generates an electrical current and voltage.
Not too long ago my fiancé purchased a solar panel for me as a gift. It was a Newpowa 10 watt 12 volt solar panel ($24 on Amazon). I loved it and went to try it out immediately. It was astonishing to me that a device with no moving parts could generate electricity with what seemed like barely any effort. I still use the solar panel today, mounted on the roof, to keep a spare lead-acid battery charged for when it’s needed.
I have put some links to their solar panels below. I would highly recommend a solar panel from Newpowa. They’re an amazing company with great prices for such high quality products. If you are looking to start a solar system you will also need to look into charge controllers, which I will go over in the next section.
Solar Panel System
Next to the solar panel itself, the charge controller you choose has to be one of the most important decisions you make. It takes the electricity from the panel(s) and optimizes it in the most efficient way to charge your battery storage system and/or directly supply a constantly safe DC voltage for you to use.
You can choose to store you energy or use it directly. Using a storage system with batteries will ensure you are saving some energy, for when the sun is not giving you as much as you need when you are demanding it. You can opt into building a lithium-ion system or linking together traditional lead-acid batteries.
If you require the energy you are producing from solar panels for AC usage, the kind that you’d get out of an outlet in your house, you will need to grab an inverter as well. It converts DC that the solar panels and batteries give off into AC.
Food for Thought
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