The Facts: How does Solar Energy Work?

Jul 2, 2013   //   by Russell   //   Solar Panel Questions  //  No Comments

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Do you know how does solar energy work in powering your home?

how does solar energy workSolar energy is quite unique in the way that it is a power source so far away that is so easily used by us in so many different beneficial ways, from light to heat. In the case of solar technology, solar energy is used to help produce both electrical and thermal energy, providing power or heat to any different kind of building.

Understanding how does solar energy work has led to the creation of both solar panels and solar roof shingles, two of the most common homeowner products available, providing power for a home or business and easily becoming an investment. Solar energy is an unlimited resource, wisely used to help benefit both homeowners and business owners everywhere.


How does Solar Energy Work?

Solar energy is sunlight absorbed by photovoltaic cells and converting it into electrical (or, in some cases, thermal) energy for usage. These cells, normally made of silicon, are linked together to form solar modules, solar panels, solar arrays, and so forth.

A solar array lines on rows in fields, producing huge amounts of power, and are normally used in government projects and to power larger buildings. Solar technology can also be mounted on a tracker, which faces the panel/module in whichever direction gets the most sunlight exposure.


The Innovation of Solar Panels

Solar panels are the basic, main, and most common solar energy product available, stringing solar modules together to make a panel that can power a house. There are three types of solar panels: mono-crystalline, poly-crystalline, and amorphous.

A mono-crystalline panel is made of smaller, more precise silicon cells, which are more expensive, but are far better at absorbing sunlight. A poly-crystalline panel has widespread silicon sheet cells, which are not as expensive to make but aren’t as precise at absorbing sunlight as mono-crystalline panels are.

The amorphous or thin-film panel type is smaller and far more lightweight than any other panel type, and much cheaper to buy. However, they have the lowest conversion percentile of sunlight to electricity.


Two for One: Solar Roof Shingles

The idea of using thin-film solar panels as shingles came to be in the 21st century; solar shingles would both replace or snap-on to other roof shingles. However, these shingles have the same low efficiency level as thin-film, and had issues with cracking and wiring, making the product seem to be a failure at first.

However, in 2007, the Department of Energy concocted a combination of cells called CIGS or copper-indium-gallium-selenide, which became the better replacement for silicon. In 2011, Dow Powerhouse designed a solar roof shingle using both the CIGS cells and thin-film type shingles formerly designed.

Dow’s new shingles are heavily prospected as a big new product, with benefits such as low cost while keeping a good efficiency level. In addition, Dow’s shingles are rated to withstand fire and heavy weather, and can be installed by roofing companies or solar installation companies in eight to ten hours.


Panels and Shingles: How does Solar Energy Work?

Whether it’s a solar panel or a solar shingle, solar energy is an extremely useful form of energy to help provide power to a large-scale area or a building. The concept of how does solar energy work shows how an unlimited resource like the sun can help save you money and provide you with a cut on your utility bill.

The especially recent upgrades of both solar panels in the form of companies such as SolarCity and solar shingles in the form of Dow Powerhouse’s solar roof shingles show how so much can be done with so little in the form of solar. Getting solar technology in your home is one of the best ways to help you power your home while maintaining an asset for your home.


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