Concentrating Photovoltaic Solar Panel Technology

There are 3 basic types of construction of PV panels. All of those explained here use silicon.

Mono Crystalline cells are cut from a single crystal of silicon- they are effectively a slice from a crystal. In appearance, it will have a smooth texture and you will be able to see the thickness of the slice. These are the most efficient and the most expensive to produce.

Polycrystalline (or Multi Crystalline) cells are effectively a slice cut from a block of silicon, consisting of a large number of crystals. They have a speckled reflective appearance and again you can see the thickness of the slice.

Amorphous cells are manufactured by placing a thin film of amorphous (non crystalline) silicon onto a wide choice of surfaces. These are the least photovoltaic efficiency and least expensive to produce of the three types. Due to the amorphous nature of the thin layer, it is flexible, and if manufactured on a flexible surface, the whole solar panel can be flexible.

Sunforce 50048 60-Watt Solar Charging Kit

Based on the main idea that a solar cell receiving more light energy will generate more electricity, concentrating photovoltaic solar panels simply involve a method (usually using a lens or mirrors) to concentrate more sunlight onto a photovoltaic cell. As fewer cells are then required for the same area of panel (or light capturing area) it may then become economical to use a highly efficient multi junction cell.

Potentially, this type of panel has the following advantages:

– It has a higher overall efficiency, capturing more solar energy per meter squared resulting in a smaller area of panels required for a particular output. Resulting efficiency levels can approach 50%.

– Potentially lower cost per watt of output due to lower number of solar cells required, while the material cost and manufacturing process of the optics (light concentration mechanism) is relatively inexpensive.

– Lower use of environmentally unfriendly chemicals involved in the panel manufacturing process due to lower number of pv cells.

– Where the concentration is such that cooling of the photovoltaic module is required, a panel may have the ability to output heat at the same time as electricity.

However, there are drawbacks:

– In all but the lower levels of concentration, heat needs to be dissipated from the cells. Cooling is necessary as cell efficiency is significantly reduced at higher temperatures, or in extreme situations, cells may be damaged.

– In all but the lower levels of concentration a tracker system will be required to keep the concentrated light focused on the cells.

– As diffuse light cannot be effectively concentrated, concentrating PV panels are best suited to areas with a high level of clear sunshine.

Although research has continued on concentrating photovoltaic efficiency for many years, they have not made their mark on the industry, and where they have been used, it has been in large scale projects. CPV panels that have been produced have come in “various shapes and sizes” with no obvious design leading the field.

Solar Power For Hard-To-Wire Areas

Solar energy holds a lot of potential. Unfortunately, with the current technology that we have, it is very difficult to harvest it in large quantities.

At most our solar panels can only convert about 20% of the available solar energy, and in most cases that amount is closer to 15%. As solar panels age, their ability to convert energy only degrades.

That combined with the costs of solar panels, means that it is unlikely for them to take “center stage” in meeting our global energy needs anytime soon. However, we are seeing solar energy used more and more in small ways that can make a big impact.

One of the biggest areas of solar research right now is for warfare. Right now, fuel hungry generators have to be trucked across the desert along with expensive fuel supplies. Creating a base camp that runs on solar energy offers the potential for a smaller setup with fewer dangerous resupply trips required.

Some of that technology is trickling down to the average consumer. Solar battery chargers are now only slightly more expensive than a regular charger for a cell phone or mp3 player would be. These small chargers can power a variety of instruments and are easily packed to remote locations.

Additionally we are seeing solar energy being used in yard objects. Solar powered lights and fountains means easy-to-install yard improvements that don’t need an electrician’s training. Solar pool covers are a great example of this. The just sit on top of your pool and use the suns heat to passively warm the water – no electricity required! They’ve become so popular that it is rather simple to find discount solar pool covers from major vendors on the Internet.

Its doubtful that solar energy will ever eclipse some of the other energy forms out there. However, it offers great potential for little areas where traditional power is inconvenient to use.

Solar Power For The Garden

You just visited the home of your best friend and you see a beautiful water fountain in the middle of their spectacular garden.  You wanted to get one but you found out that they spend an insane amount of money in utility bills. Well, worry no more.  You can now find a green technology on the home level, solar power.

Solar power technology is already in use on numerous equipment, with sizes ranging from industrial large to personal small. Now, it has not only have functional uses but form also.

Solar water features lets you have the advantage of having a functional water feature sans the annoying wires.  You can also place these features anywhere in your garden as long as it will get ample amount of sun exposure.

You can choose between a direct daylight solar power, which takes energy directly from daylight thereby limiting its usage to daytime only and a more advanced variant which recharges itself during daytime and the stored power can be used whenever it is required, like during cloudy days or at night time.  On the other hand, solar pumps for ponds has become an alternative to electric powered ones.

Installing solar water features for gardens or solar pumps for ponds entails a larger initial cash outflow as this technology is more expensive than conventional ones.  But in the long run, you will reap the rewards.

With conventional water features and pumps, those spectacular sprays and fountains equates to high electricity consumption and therefore high utility bills. But with solar water features and solar pumps for ponds, that cost is drastically cut as you just basically pay for the equipment only, and repairs if needed.  The utility costs are kept to bare minimum or nothing at all as the source of energy would be the sun.

Solar power has an infinite way to go and an alternative to very expensive conventionally run equipment.  You just have to make your choice.

Why Homeowners Love Solar Energy

It wasn’t always easy to install solar energy at home. Until two decades ago, companies that specialized in residential solar panels were essentially non-existent. Homeowners had to buy much more expensive unit designed for commercial properties. Now that there are dozens of home solar energy companies to choose from, new adopters are experiencing the benefits previously reserved for business customers.

Economic Benefits

The solar energy benefits that drive most sales are economic. A typical 200 watt solar panel can be purchased for well under $800. With several of these panels run together in series, an inverter to change the panels’ DC output into the house’s AC wiring, a 24 volt batteries to store addition power for evening and low-light conditions, and installation costs, owners can expect a full system to run cost between $5000 and $8000. Regions with an abundance of sunlight, like California, tend to yield a full return on investment within 10 years—even excluding incentives from the government.

Those incentives, however, are some of the best reasons for installing solar panels. In 2005, the Economic Policy Act provided up to a 30% tax credit for anyone who installed some type of renewable energy system in his or her household, whether it’s based on wind, geothermal or solar technology. Thanks to an extension from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, these tax credit remain in effect through 2016.

The Economic Policy Act also makes it mandatory for public utilities to offer net metering programs on customer request. If a homeowner with a grid-tie solar system generates surplus electricity, it can be routed back into the grid and sold to the utility for a credit, so that the customer is only charged for the net consumption of energy—the amount consumed less the amount produced.

Ecological Energy

Solar power is clean power. While domestic solar power companies are no different that commercial power plants when it comes to chemical emissions from the manufacturing process, each completed panel generates produces electricity with no byproducts for the rest of its lifetime, nor does it require additional consumption of nonrenewable resources. Solar power is the ideal way for homeowners to have complete control of their energy supply while dramatically reducing their carbon footprint.

Save With Solar!

If you have a swimming pool and would like to save money on chemical costs and water loss, you need to know about solar pool covers. Solar pool covers come in several different styles to meet whatever needs you may have. There are covers made for underground pools and also for above ground pools. You can find them that are manual, meaning you do all the work, automatic which are much more expensive though only require the push of a button to function and semi automatic which functions with a system of rods and a roller.

You can also use a liquid solar pool cover. This is a completely invisible film that lays on the surface of your water. It is a mixture of Isopropyl alcohol and a proprietary ingredient and is harmless to the eyes and skin. Liquid solar pool covers acts as a barrier that traps in heat and prevents the evaporation of water and chemicals. Since it is liquid it continues working even while there are swimmers in the pool.

Solar pool covers are only one of the ways that thousands of people are taking advantage of the rays of the sun. The sun is an amazing natural energy source that is renewable and completely free! Just one hour of sunshine on the surface of the earth is so powerful it could provide the whole planet with energy for an entire year! Some of the advantages of solar energy are it provides clean energy that is not damaging to the environment, it can save you a substantial amount of money and it is available pretty much anywhere! You can install solar panels to provide electricity to your home, you can use outdoor solar lighting to light your porch or deck, walkways, garden, pool or driveway, there are solar birdbaths and fountains and solar battery chargers. If you are interested in doing something healthy for the environment and healthy for your budget, consider going solar!

The 12 Volt Solar Battery Charger

The typical 12 volt electric battery has usually been enough to sustain a typical car’s energy needs without needing another energy source. But larger vehicles, such as a live-in trailer or motor home, may need more power than this 12 volt battery can give. What is your best option in this situation?

In vacation moments such as these, the 12 volt solar battery charger is the perfect solution. This solar charger infuses the battery with energy by turning energy from the sun into direct current and storing it in the battery. The charger transfers this current to the battery using either trickle charging (this is when the battery is constantly being replenished) or by normal battery charging (when the battery is charged once it gets low on capacity). Both of these methods work well, but the trickle charging uses fewer watts and is faster to accomplish.

Besides having two different methods to charging the batter, the 12 volt solar battery charger also has two models available today. One model is plugged into the motor home’s lighting socket, while the other model variation can be mounted on the motor home’s roof. Both models have their pros and cons to consider before buying. The first model is quite easy to cart around; but it is also rather inconvenient. The second model has beauty in simplicity, but must be guarded against the elements and flying rocks encountered on a road trip.

For a truly do it yourself solar power approach, consider buying a photovoltaic cell and assembling it. If you love to build machines, this is certainly another great option. Here is one last tip: if you choose to opt for the trickle charging version of the solar power charger, be sure to purchase a controller for your solar battery so that you do not over or undercharge your battery.