he world is witnessing an astronomical rise in solar energy. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the installed capacity of solar photovoltaics (PV) is set to surpass coal by 2027, thus becoming the largest power source on the planet. So, how exactly does solar energy function? Keep reading to find out!
What is solar energy?
Solar energy is obtained from the sun's light and heat, making it a renewable energy source that can be naturally and continuously replenished, unlike non-renewable energy sources such as fossil fuels.
Benefits of solar energy
Solar energy is gaining momentum due to its many benefits. Here are just a couple:
- Solar power is a clean, green energy source that doesn't harm the planet.
- Solar energy is rapidly becoming more cost-effective and accessible, making it a smart choice for those who want to reduce their energy costs.
- Solar energy offers freedom from the off grid and a chance for energy independence, empowering individuals and communities to generate their own energy and take control of their energy needs.
Types of solar energy systems
There are two kinds of solar energy systems: photovoltaic (PV) systems and concentrated solar power (CSP) systems. PV systems are the more popular choice, using solar panels to convert sunlight into electricity. On the other hand, CSP energy systems utilize mirrors or lenses to concentrate sunlight onto a small area, producing intense heat which can be harnessed to create steam and generate electricity. Moving forward, we'll be honing in on solar PV energy systems.
Solar panel operation explained
Do you ever wonder what makes solar panels tick? They operate by capturing the sun's energy and converting it into electrical energy using a process known as the photovoltaic effect. The panels consist of solar cells that incorporate two layers of silicon blended with other materials. The cells absorb sunlight and create an electric field that causes electrons to move between the layers and produce direct current (DC) electricity. The DC is then transformed into alternating current (AC) electricity through an inverter, making it suitable for powering households and businesses.
Is your property a good candidate for solar?
If you're curious about whether solar energy is a good choice for your property, there are a few things to consider. First, you'll want to take a close look at the amount of sunlight your property gets throughout the year, as it will impact your solar panels’ energy output. You'll also need to consider any shading or obstructions that could affect the performance of your solar panels, as well as the orientation and slope of your roof.
To get a more accurate assessment of whether solar is a good fit for you, it's a good idea to schedule a consultation with a qualified solar installer who can help you maximize your solar energy potential.