What are the advantages of solar power system?

Advantages of Solar Energy

Renewable energy source:
The energy from the sun is renewable in true sense of the term. Unlike, coal or petroleum, we cannot run out of it in next 5 billion years. The energy can easily be availed in any part of the world.

Economize your utility bill: If the utility bill that you generate from month to month is quite fat, then it can be cut down to someextent through solar power system. However, how much you will be able to cut down will depend on your power needs and also the size of you solar system. In fact, if your solar power system is producing more power than you need, then you can sell of the surfeitcurrent to your local utility grid. You will receive bonus payments for that amount. You can augment your saving by selling excess electricity to the grid in the day hours when the rates are high. You can buy electricity from the grid at night when the rates go down.

Diverse applications: Solarenergy has diverse applications. It is very useful in remote areas which donot have access to utility grids. It not only powershomesbut is also used to distilwater in regions with limited drinking water supply. It is being used for irrigation purposes as well. Today some of the top corporates of the word have taken resort to solar energy. It is also being used to power satellites. Thebest part of this technology is the flexibility it offers. You can integrate the solar cells in you building material to trap sun’s energy. You do notneed to mount separate system on you roofs in that case. A few years back Sharp introduced transparent solar energy windows.

Low Maintenance Costs: The maintenance cost of solar energy system is quite low. You do not need to clean them regularly. Cleaningthe panels a couple oftimes per year is enough. In areas of frost and snow, you will need to remove the snow from thepanel a little more frequently to enable them function efficiently. The life span of panels is between 20-25 years. The system does not have any moving part so they do not wear and tear with time. The inverter is usually the only part that needs to be changed after 5-10 years.Researchesin quantum physics and nanotechnology are afoot to make solar energy more user-friendly.

There are some flip sides as well. Installing solarpower system is quite costly. The system will not work efficiently in cloudy days. Storing solar energy in batteries for later usage is also expensive. It needs a lot of space to set up solar system in houses or work places. Althoughsolar energy is not associated with pollution, transporting and installing solar power systems could cause pollution. The procedure leads tothe release of greenhouse gases.

What is a net meter?

If you look at a net meter, then it would look justlike most meters that hang in the exterior of the houses. But there is notable difference between the two. An ordinary meter spinsonlyin oneway. The net meter spins both forward and backward. This is because it records both power produced and power used. The net meter measures the difference between the power you buy from your local utility company and the current produced by your solar power system. If your solar power system is producing more than you need then the surfeit electricity is transferred to the utility grid. Consequently your net meter will spin backward. In fact, you are selling the excess currentto you utility company, which will earn you a credit. If your solar power system is not producing enough current then the net meter will turn forward. The job of a net meter is tracking the difference between the electricity you generate from solar power system and the power you use from the utility grid.

Do I need battery backup for my solar panels?

No a battery backup for a solar power system is not verycrucial. There are some major disadvantages of battery backup. You will require paying an additional 25% of the total cost for a battery backup. Suchsystems are not very efficient. These will yield 7 to 10% lessenergy than grid-tied models. Moreover, even if you get a solar power system installed in your home you will remaina subscriber to your local utility company. So in case you solar system is not generating enough power or in rainydays or in dark hours you will get electricity from the local utility grid. If youare producing more power, you can sell the extra electricityto your local utility fid. This way you will offset the rising utility cost. Batteries are not needed unless there are problems of long utility outage or the residence is in a far-off location.

How much space do I need for a solar photovoltaic system?

Well, to give you an idea a square foot of photovoltaic panel will produce 10 watts of power in bright sunlight. This will tell you how biga system you could require to produce enough electricity foryour home

If you are sceptical about whether asolar power system will work for your home, then you should know that thesesystemswork for most homes. The models are designed for most location where direct sunlight is available. All you need is a sunny place on your roof. The smaller systems need about 120 square feet of space to set them up. The bigger ones might require 1,000 square feet. These are also dependent on the type of PV module used. Shades docause a problem as the panels shouldreceive maximum sunlight. A south facing roof is optimal. But sometimes east or west facing roofs are moreefficient in enabling production of maximumpossible electricity.
Solar contractors in your area can help determine the best size for your solar photovoltaic system. Overall, the size of your solar system will depend on factors such as your electricity needs, roof size, and your budget. It will alsodepend on the fact whether you want a complete energy usage fromsolar power system, or if you want it toreplace a portion of your higher cost energy usage.

What's the difference between PV and other solar energy technologies?

A: The solar power technologies can be broadly classified in four categories:

Photovoltaic (PV) systems: The solar panels used to convert solar energy into electricity have semiconductor material like silicon in them. The silicon is mixed with phosphorus. This semiconductor layer is present in the panel under a thin sheath of glass. There are two layers -one is called the N-layer, which has the negative charges and the P-layer, which has the positive charges. The principle that works behind it is thatan electric current is generated when electrons are displaced. In case of solar power systems, the photon present in the sunlight reaches the surface of the panels that have semiconductor. It knocks the electron present in the N-layer. The displaced electrons are drawn to the positive side, which generates electric current. This current is collected and used to power appliances at home or office.

A photovoltaic panel is made of many cells that create direct current. This is later converted into alternate current with an inverter to make it suitable for home-use.

Concentrating solar power (CSP) systems.The solar panelsconcentrate or collect the sunlightthrough reflective device such as mirror or troughs. The heat collected from sunlight is converted into mechanical energy and then electricity by using a procedure used in nuclear plants.

Solar Heater Systems:These have solar collectors that face the sun. They use sunlight to directly heat water or a "working fluid". This fluid in turn, heats water.The fluid is transported to areas that require heating. You will get a variety of models, ranging from simple versions to sophisticated ones for industrial use.

Transpired solar collectors, or "solar walls": These use solar energy heat the indoor air of a building in cold seasons.

Which are better roof mounts or ground mounts?

Theroof mounted systems are less expensive compared to ground mounted systems. The roof mounts do not need any support structure. The ground mounts are tilted and oriented tooptimize them for maximum light absorption. If the angle and orientation of roof are not optimum then your panel will always lose certain amount sunlight. This will never be the case of ground mounts. Maintaining ground mounts iseasier than roof arrays. Efficiency of ground arrays are said to be more as there is more flow of air to cool the panel. Replacing your roof will be aproblem in case of roof mounts. Ground mounts also offer more scope for expansion. However, on an averagea roof mount does not weigh beyond a few lbs per square feet. So it will not put any pressure on your roof.

What about foam insulation-backed PV panels?

Insulationpanels have both advantages and disadvantages. The foremost advantage is that they need no roof penetration. But the insulation backed panelsdo not have much air space under the modules for cooling. Theelectricityproduction of insulated PVs is lower than ordinary modules. Secondly, foam-backed modules offer limited tilt angles. This brings down their output.

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