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How Does A Solar Panel Work?

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Solar power is a clean, renewable and almost limitless alternative power source. In the past the technology was very limited meaning the amount of power collected was quite low. With ever advancing technology, the percentage of electricity converted from sunlight has increased significantly, meaning that this is now a very viable alternative. A lot of people look at the cost of setting up solar power and are put off by it as it can be very expensive initially, depending on the type of system you install. However, when you weigh up the long term benefits of implementing this technology in your home or business, they really do pay for themselves in the long run. If you choose a more advanced system, then you can even start selling your surplus power back to your electricity supplier, meaning you can actually profit for your investment in solar power. Free energy and you get to sell it for a profit as well, how cool is that?

So how does it Work?
A solar power is made up of Photovoltaic cells. Photovoltaic translates as “light” and “electric” and is commonly shortened to PV. A solar cell compromises of two layers of a semiconductor material. Inside the panel there are one or more semi-conductors which facilitate the conversion of electric current from sunlight. PV cells have two layers of semiconductors, one being positively charge and the other being negatively charged. When the sunlight is captured on the cell, an electric field is created spanning the two layers of semi conductors and an electric current is created. The electric charge which is collected from the conversion process is a Direct Current (DC), which is then sent through a process of wiring to an inverter. The inverter changes the current from DC to an Alternating Current, also known as AC. This means the power generated is now compatible with your general electric appliances at home and also compatible with the power grid as well. As long as you are not on an isolated system removed from the power grid, you can sell any surplus energy created, back to the power grid.

So what is the catch?
There are some limitations to the implementation of solar energy within the home or work environment. The most important factor to take into consideration would be the physical location. Some countries get a lot more sunlight than others and solar power needs direct sunlight to work properly and efficiently. Even things like a shadow on the PV cells from a tree or a bush can have a significant effect on the power output and efficiency of the system. The simplest of systems though are pretty basic and almost maintenance free. These are pretty easy to install as well, although it is always advised when dealing with electricity to have a qualified person install the system. Solar energy is also pollution free, so there are no by-products of producing energy this way, unlike nuclear and coal power which can have a significant effect on the environment. A solar power system is also quiet. Some alternative energy sources such as hydroelectricity and wind power can be very noisy and also have a significant aesthetic impact on the surrounding environment. So out of all the other options out there, solar power is by far the best alternative if you are looking to set an example for your community, create a green living lifestyle and also help protect the environment within which we all live.

Summary
The rock we all live on spinning around the sun that we call earth, is all that we have. We have to make sure that we take care of our planet, not only for ourselves, but also for future generations to come. By choosing an alternative energy source such as solar power, you can help do you bit for the environment and make sure that future generations will be able to enjoy the splendid magnificence of mother nature.

This article was written by Misty Angel on behalf of AVIC Energy Sydney. AVIC Energy is a leading worldwide supplier of solar power systems including solar panels in Sydney and they rank 250th in the Global Top 500 largest corporations in 2012. Misty is a keen blogger on technology and green issues and is always looking for ways to help maintain the planet and reduce his carbon footprint.

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