If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably noticed how powerful a photograph can be.
I have learnt all there is to know about how solar panels turn solar energy into electrical energy, but it wasn’t until I saw it all mapped out in diagrams that it all made sense.
It’s excellent to have graphic representations of how scientific processes operate to aid in our understanding.
I’ll thus explain how solar cells function using some schematics of solar panels before listing every component that makes up a comprehensive home solar system.
Table of Contents
- Simple Solar Cell
- How Photovoltaic Cells Function
- The Individual Solar Pv System Components
- The Construction Of A House Solar System
Simple Solar Cell
The main components of a solar cell are shown in the figure above.
The photovoltaic (PV) technology, used in solar cells, uses a chemical reaction to transform the energy from sunshine into electricity.
Photons, which are tiny, energetic particles or waves, are the form in which sunlight enters our solar panel.
The energy carried by these photons may be in the form of light, heat, or radiation, but a solar cell only utilises the light energy.
A solar panel’s front has an anti-reflective coating that lets as much light through while shielding the inside cell from damage.
Solar panels are covered with strengthened laminated glass because glass is a great material for antireflective coatings.
A semiconductor substance is found within solar cells.
The semiconductor used in household solar panels is silicon.
A semiconductor is a substance that fluctuates in its ability to conduct electricity.
We produce energy using this fluctuating conductivity.
An electron flow results from photons interacting with the semiconducting silicon.
Electrons are charge-bearing particles.
The front contact of the PV cell has a cable linked to it, and the rear contact has a cable as well.
You can see in the figure how a flow of energy is produced to power a light bulb by the contrast in electrical charge between these two connections.
How Photovoltaic Cells Function
We can see what occurs within a solar cell in greater detail thanks to the figure above.
Two distinct silicon discs are sandwiched tightly together in the solar cell.
To give these silicon discs an electrical charge, they are doped or given additional treatment.
On the top level of the disc, N-Type silicon is positively charged, while P-Type silicon is negatively charged.
The positively and negatively charged silicon discs in a PV cell form a barrier between one another when no light is shining on them, preventing electricity from passing between them.
But something unique occurs when solar photons strike the silicon discs.
When negatively charged p-type silicon is in contact with photons, electrons are liberated and sent over a circuit to the positively charged N-type silicon, creating an electrical current.
In a solar cell, the photoelectric effect is what generates energy.
That is how the procedure works.
But because we wouldn’t be able to store or utilise the power we produce, if our home solar systems were solely comprised of solar cells, they wouldn’t be very useful.
Clearly, a comprehensive house solar system consists of a number of other components.
The Individual Solar Pv System Components
The many parts of a residential solar PV system are clearly shown in the following figure.
Let’s first examine what each of these components does before examining how they all work together.
#1. Solar Array to Solar Cell
Sixty or seventy-two solar cells are housed in sealed solar modules.
These are expertly placed and sealed so that they are shielded from the weather and may provide power for around 25 years.
A solar panel is made by connecting many solar modules, while a solar array is made by connecting several solar panels.
Be aware that solar panels are more often used to refer to solar modules.
Even though a solar panel is made up of many solar modules, the phrase solar panel is currently most often used to refer to a single solar module.
#2. Tracking Mechanism (Not Essential)
Making ensuring a solar array gets the most exposure to direct sunshine is one of the main objectives when placing it.
For the majority of domestic solar systems, this simply entails precisely orienting the solar panels so that they face South in the northern hemisphere and North in the southern.
A method to do better here is using solar tracking systems.
To adjust the angle of the panels in a solar array and follow the path of the sun across the sky, they employ a variety of manual or automatic technologies.
Solar panels may generate much more power when they are perpendicular to the sun for a longer period of time thanks to tracking technologies.
However, there is a disadvantage since tracking devices are now costly, often excessively so.
Few household systems employ trackers since the expense of the system might be more than the additional power produced.
A new technology that has a bright future is solar tracking systems.
The aluminum racking that solar panels are put on is all that is necessary for a solar array to be erected.
This mounting often creates a buffer between the roof tiles and the panels on rooftop solar systems to regulate temperature and keep the panels cool.
To transport the power, the various components of a solar system are linked via cables.
Either copper or the less expensive and less effective aluminum is used to make cables.
Exterior cables’ casing is composed of a specific moisture- and heat-resistant thermoplastic since they are subject to harsh weather and temperatures (THWN)
#5. Isolator DC
A crucial element of a residential solar system’s safety is a DC isolator.
To separate the solar array from the energy network for repair and maintenance, all that is needed is a switch.
#6. Measure of Generation
We can see via generation meters how much power the solar array is producing.
These provide useful data that we can use to assess the efficiency of our solar system and determine the exact amount of electricity our panels are producing.
#7. Charging Control (Not Essential)
In solar power systems that contain battery storage, a charge controller is used.
It keeps track of the solar panel current flowing into the batteries and makes sure they aren’t being overcharged.
#8. Battery (Not Essential)
One method through which your home solar system saves the power it produces is via batteries.
In off-grid solar systems, when they serve as the sole means of storing solar energy, batteries are used.
We utilize solar power to provide the batteries with energy before using them to power appliances in the house.
Due of the solar system’s connection to your mains electrical supply, on-grid solar systems don’t need batteries.
Through this network link, energy is transported both ways, so any extra power you produce is made accessible to the grid as a whole.
Batteries are added to an on-grid connection in hybrid solar systems to provide backup power in the event of power disruptions.
While our houses utilize alternating current (AC) power, solar panels produce direct current (DC) electricity.
The inverter is where DC power is transformed into usable AC electricity.
#10. Relay Box
Like all other house electrical systems, home solar systems feature a fuse box.
Power surges or other issues trip a fuse in this crucial safety mechanism, shutting power to the system and ensuring its security.
#11. An AC Isolator (Not Essential)
Only solar systems that are linked to the grid employ an AC isolator, an essential safety component.
For maintenance reasons, you may turn off the switch to separate the AC power source from the rest of the solar system.
#12. Meter for Electricity (Not Essential)
In on-grid and hybrid solar systems, your power meter is connected to your home solar network.
The difference is that with your solar array attached, you are likely to witness instances when you are feeding more power into the system than you are consuming, causing the meter to go backward.
The meter monitors and records your electricity use.
The Construction Of A House Solar System
The final graphic shows how each part of a residential solar system connects, which is a useful overview.
We can see how our solar modules produce DC power in the first stage of the process.
This DC power is sent into the second stage, where it is transformed into AC electricity via an inverter.
Following conversion, the energy is routed via a fuse box for further security before being networked to the system’s power sources, which include our household appliances.
In an off-grid setup, the fuse box is also connected to a battery, which serves to store any excess energy and power the network when the sun isn’t producing any.
With an on-grid system, things operate differently since the fuse box is connected to the power network through our electric meters, drawing electricity from the grid when solar output is low and returning it when we have an excess.
You should now have a better knowledge of how solar systems operate and the components that make them up thanks to these illustrations.
Please leave them in the comments section below if you have any queries, concerns, or ideas.