Solar panels are becoming increasingly popular as a renewable energy source for homes and businesses.
Solar panels are becoming increasingly popular as a renewable energy source for homes and businesses. But how do they work, and are they efficient?
Solar panels are made up of photovoltaic (PV) cells, which convert sunlight into direct current (DC) electricity. The PV cells are made of silicon, a semiconductor material, and are usually arranged in a grid-like pattern on the solar panel. When sunlight hits the PV cells, electrons are knocked loose from their atoms, creating a flow of electricity. This electricity is collected by wiring in the solar panel and sent to an inverter, which converts the DC electricity into alternating current (AC) electricity that can be used in homes and businesses.
The efficiency of a solar panel refers to the amount of sunlight it can convert into usable electricity. The efficiency of solar panels has improved significantly over the years, with the most efficient panels currently available having an efficiency rating of around 22%. This means that for every 100 watts of sunlight that hits the solar panel, 22 watts of usable electricity are produced.
Several factors, including temperature, shading, and the sun's angle, can impact solar panels' efficiency. Solar panels work best in cooler temperatures, and their efficiency decreases as the temperature increases. Shading can also significantly affect the efficiency of solar panels, as even a small amount of shading can reduce the overall output of the panel. Lastly, the sun’s angle is a crucial factor in determining the efficiency of solar panels. Panels should be installed at an angle that maximises the amount of sunlight they receive throughout the day.
During the winter, while the amount of sunlight may be reduced due to shorter daylight hours and cloud cover, solar panels can still generate electricity even on cloudy or overcast days.
The efficiency of solar panels during the winter months depends on several factors, including the angle of the sun, the temperature, and the amount of snow and ice on the panels. If snow or ice covers the panels, it can reduce their efficiency significantly. However, most solar panels are designed to be installed at an angle that allows snow and ice to slide off naturally or be easily cleaned using a soft brush.
Solar panels are also more efficient in cooler temperatures, which can increase their output during the winter. Also, modern solar panels are designed to work in low-light conditions, which can still generate electricity even on cloudy or overcast days.
It's also worth noting that solar panels are often connected to a grid-tied system, allowing excess electricity to be stored and used when the panels are not generating enough power.
Solar panels are a renewable energy source that can significantly reduce your reliance on traditional energy sources. By understanding how they work and their efficiency, you can decide whether solar panels are the right choice for your home or business. While solar panels may have an initial cost, the long-term benefits of reduced energy bills and a reduced carbon footprint make them an excellent investment for the future.
To learn more and explore whether solar panels are the right move for you, please visit our website and get in touch for your bespoke quote.