Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Literature Review- Nicholas

-Solar (or photovoltaic) cells convert the sun’s energy into electricity. Sunlight is composed of miniscule particles called photons, which radiate from the sun. As these hit the silicon atoms of the solar cell, they transfer their energy to loose electrons, knocking them clean off the atoms. The photons could be compared to the white ball in a game of pool, which passes on its energy to the coloured balls it strikes. Freeing up electrons is however only half the work of a solar cell: it then needs to herd these stray electrons into an electric current. This involves creating an electrical imbalance within the cell, which acts a bit like a slope down which the electrons will flow in the same direction.

Source: http://www.physics.org/article-questions.asp?id=51

-In most solar systems, solar panels are placed on the roof. An ideal site will have no shade on the panels, especially during the prime sunlight hours of 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; a south-facing installation will usually provide the optimum potential for your system, but other orientations may provide sufficient production. Trees or other factors that cause shading during the day will cause significant decreases to power production. The importance of shading and efficiency cannot be overstated. In a solar panel, if even just one of its 36 cells is shaded, power production will be reduced by more than half. Experienced installation contractors such as NW Wind & Solar use a device called a Solar Pathfinder to carefully identify potential areas of shading prior to installation. In a solar electric system that is also tied to the utility grid, the DC power from the solar array is converted into 120/240 volt AC power and fed directly into the utility power distribution system of the building. The power is “net metered,” which means it reduces demand for power from the utility when the solar array is generating electricity – thus lowering the utility bill. These grid-tied systems automatically shut off if utility power goes offline, protecting workers from power being back fed into the grid during an outage. These types of solar-powered electric systems are known as “on grid” or “battery-less” and make up approximately 98% of the solar power systems being installed today.

Source: http://www.nwwindandsolar.com/solar-power-in-seattle-and-the-northwest/how-do-solar-systems-produce-energy/

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