How does Solar Energy work?

Most people know that the Sun’s rays produces energy. But what most people would like to know is how does it actually work! If you have seen Solar panels and you are aware of the incredible potential of Solar energy, then you will have some questions.

HOW DO SOLAR PANELS WORK?

Simply put, a solar panel works by allowing photons, or particles of light, to knock electrons free from atoms, generating a flow of electricity. Solar panels actually comprise many, smaller units called photovoltaic cells and Photovoltaic simply means that they convert sunlight into electricity.

HOW LONG DO SOLAR PANELS LAST?

Solar panels are made to last up to 40 years, however, in most cases the panels are guaranteed by the manufacturer for 25 years. From a performance perspective most manufacturers will guarantee 90% of maximum output at ten years and 80% at 25 years. Then it is time to consider changing your panels as they become less efficient generating energy. It is important that panels are correctly maintained and cleaned on a regular basis to maximise performance.

WHAT MAINTENACE IS REQUIRED?

Generally, very little maintenance is required since there are very few moving parts. A well maintained panel that is inspected on a regular basis for any dirt or debris that might collect on them ensures a greater lifespan. In some locations, especially where there is rising dust it is necessary to carry out cleaning work to ensure that the performance of the panels are not affected.

DOES IT PRODUCE ENERGY ON CLOUDY/RAINY DAYS?

Yes, but it just doesn’t work quiet as well. On a cloudy day a Solar panel will still produce 35-40% of their rated capacity. By capturing more red and blue wavelengths, their solar panels can generate more electricity even when it's overcast. Loads of sunlight isn’t essential to run a Solar panel but the more sunlight hours there are the more electricity that can be produced.

IS SOLAR ENERGY CHEAPER THAN FOSSIL FUELS?

According to a new report by the World Economic Forum, Solar energy and Wind energy is now cheaper than Fossil fuels in more than 30 countries worldwide.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

Since 2010 the cost of solar photovoltaic (PV) electricity has fallen by 73%. With further price falls expected for these and other green energy options, IRENA says all renewable energy technologies should be competitive on price with fossil fuels by 2020.

Globally, The cost of solar PV is down to $0.10 per KwH. In comparison, the cost of electricity generation based on fossil fuels typically falls in a range of $0.05 to $0.17 per KwH.

It is predicted that the cost of Solar PV projects will continue to fall even further and Solar could be consistently delivering electricity for as little as $0.03 per kWh within two years.

CAN PEOPLE MAKE MONEY FROM SOLAR ENERGY

This is the "tipping point" that could make fighting climate change into a profitable form of business for energy companies. Costs continue to fall and it is not only a commercially viable option, but an outright compelling investment opportunity with long-term, stable, inflation-protected returns".

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