In this article, I will discuss the working principle of solar panels, and I hope you will enjoy my effort.
In a solar photovoltaic power system, solar energy is directly converted into electrical energy. This makes the system more convenient and compact compared to solar conversion by thermal methods.
Solar cell technology is the fastest-growing power generation technology in the world. As a result, solar cells with conversion efficiency exceeding 40% have become available.
Working principle of solar panels:
A photovoltaic cell, also known as a solar cell, is a semiconductor device that converts solar energy into DC electricity using the photoelectric effect. In fact, all solar cells are photodiodes made of semiconductor materials such as silicon. Solar cells work in three steps:
- Photons in sunlight strike the solar cell and are absorbed by the semiconductor material.
- Electrons, which are negatively charged, are separated from their atoms allowing them to flow in the same direction to generate a current.
- A typical silicon solar cell can generate a voltage of up to 0.5 V and a current of up to 6 A. Therefore, its maximum power is 3 W.
Since the output of a single solar cell is small, a large number of solar cells are connected together to form a solar module, and a combination of solar modules is called a panel. The combination of panels is called a solar array, which is required to obtain the necessary power output from the solar system.
When solar cells are connected in series, their voltage increases by the same amount as the number of cells that are connected in series. However, the current remains constant.
When cells are connected in parallel, the voltage remains constant, just like one cell, but the current doubles. Batteries, modules, or panels can be connected in parallel only if their voltage is the same. The main components of a solar photovoltaic system are as follows:
- Blocking diode: An SPV array is connected to a battery. During sunny periods, the panels generate electricity and charge the battery. But when there is no sunlight or at night, the current will try to flow in reverse, i.e., from the battery to the array. This could damage the array. Therefore, a blocking diode is used to avoid this reverse flow of current.
- Regulator: The voltage output of a photovoltaic panel varies according to the intensity of sunlight. This causes fluctuations in the load current. A voltage regulator ensures that the voltage fluctuations remain within the specified range.
- Inverter: Since the power generated by the photovoltaic array is DC, an inverter is used to convert it into AC so that it can be easily utilized. An inverter unit with different protection devices ensures system safety and automatically switches between the load and available power.
- Battery: These are used to store solar energy. They are the most important components of a solar photovoltaic system. The success of a solar photovoltaic system largely depends on the battery storage system.
- Battery controller: These are devices that ensure
the battery is charged and discharged at the correct voltage and current levels to prolong its lifespan and prevent damage.
Overall, the working principle of a solar photovoltaic system involves the conversion of solar energy into electrical energy by solar cells, which are then stored in batteries or converted into AC power using an inverter. The system also includes components like blocking diodes, regulators, and battery controllers to ensure proper functioning and safety.
Advantages of solar photovoltaic systems
There are several advantages to using solar photovoltaic systems, including:
1. Renewable: Solar energy is a renewable resource, meaning it can be continuously replenished.
2. Environmentally friendly: Solar power does not release any harmful gases or pollutants into the environment, making it a clean and sustainable energy source.
3. Low maintenance: Solar panels require little maintenance after installation, making them easier and more cost-effective to use in the long term.
4. Energy independence: Solar power enables users to generate their own electricity, reducing reliance on conventional power sources.
5. Remote power: Solar power is perfect for remote locations that are not connected to the grid, where it can provide an affordable and reliable source of electricity.
Overall, solar photovoltaic systems are a great way to generate electricity sustainably and cost-effectively, and their use is likely to grow as their advantages become more widely recognized.
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