What is a solar panel?
A solar panel consists of multple layers of PV (Photo Voltaic) cells. These cells create an electric field when photons, which are emmitted through light, react with the materials the cells are composed of, usually silicon.
Photons are emmitted through any kind of light, while the photons containing large amounts of energy come from the sun. Even on a very cloudy day, these photons will still reach the panel composed of layers of PV cells, however clear days that have stronger sunlight will improve the solar panels conversion rate, meaning more electricity.
Most solar panels have will a 15% conversion rate and have a 4kWp (Kilowatt Peak). There are stronger solar panels around; most solar panels used by space programs have a 30% conversion rate, but in turn have a considerably larger production cost.
Solar thermal technology is a way of using solar panels to harness solar energy for hot water systems.
The fossil fuel based energy sources that we use today are limited and precious with prices continuously rising. Energy must be used in the most efficient way possible to minimise consumption costs and to protect the environment. At the same time renewable energy should be used as much as possible to reduce dependency on fossil fuels, to protect the environment, and importantly, to meet international and Government targets on reducing CO2 emissions. Using solar thermal energy is a very effective method of displacing other primary energy to provide hot water.
A typical solar panel arrayYou may have seen a lot of solar panels cropping up recently, similar to the ones shown in the photo above. Solar panels can be placed either on roofs or on open areas of ground. Generally solar panels require little maintanence, the tilt on the panels makes rain water run off them cleaning, them naturally, and will continue to generate plenty electricity as long as there is no overshadow from things like trees or buildings.
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