What are home solar power panels? The primary function of a solar panel is to transform sunlight into usable electricity. This effect is a physical manifestation of the photovoltaic effect. Solar panels are made up of solar cells that are gathered together within a frame. Each solar cell has the capability to convert the sunlight into useful electricity. However, the conversion rate of each cell is somewhat limited when measured in total wattage output. Basically, each cell only produces an amount of electricity equivalent to 1 to 2 Watts. Therefore a very large number of solar cells need to be integrated into each solar panel, and usually a significant number of panels are connected in order to form a so called solar panel array. This procedure is necessary to produce a usable quantity of solar power for a complete home.
This joining of solar cells collectively in order to establish higher power is an inherent advantage of the solar cell system. It follows that when you require additional power for personal consumption, you only have to add more panels.
There are several types of solar power panel, which have different power generating characteristics ad features dependent upon the material from which they are made. They can be made up of either thin-film, monocrystalline, or polycrystalline modules. The Thin-film solar cell consists of alloys (amorphous-silicon) which are stored in thin layers deposited on a substrate. This means it can be quite supple (dependent on the substrate used) and is therefore more easily applicable in certain environments.
Monocrystalline, on the other hand, is created from one silicon crystal rod and can be considered as having a rigid structure. The silicon rod is cut into thin wafers in order to provide the base within which solar cells are formed. Polycrystalline solar cells are processed from numerous silicon crystals that are heated together, and then cooled in molds to form ingots of silicon. The ingot is then cut into wafers and processed as before in order to produce solar cells.
The efficiency of a home solar power panel is measured by the ratio of the output and input power. Generally solar panels return an efficiency range of from approximately 10 percent to about 19 percent. As might be expected, the higher the efficiency rating obtained, the more likely the cost of each panel will also be higher. When planning a new installation therefore, it is necessary to consider initial installation costs against better long term efficiency savings in order to make the right choice for you.
Determining the right solar panels therefore requires a knowledge of some specific parameters. These parameters will help you decide which solar panel to use in your application. Three important measurements to be aware of include ‘efficiency’, ‘rated power at STC’, and ‘rated power per square foot’. ‘Efficiency’ is the ratio of the output power of the solar panel to the input power of the sunlight reaching it. ‘Rated power at STC’ measures the total output in watts from the panel under Standard Test Conditions. ‘Rated power per square foot’ is the power output of the solar panel at Standard Test Conditions per square foot of the panel’s surface area.
Finally, modern home solar power panel designs maximize the generation of electricity from solar energy and are now a very viable option if you wish to harness this form of ‘renewable’ energy to meet your personal home consumption.
Wendy Gorman is a respected and proficient author and niche website developer with wide ranging interest around the net. For more information about home solar power she recommends you to visit the home solar power site and also take a look at some informative reviews of other products.