Photovoltaic Solar Energy

Photovoltaic Solar Energy

Photovoltaic solar energy is one of the first things that comes to mind of most people when it comes to the matter of alternative energy sources. Photovoltaic solar energy has gained many adherents during the energy crisis of the '70s and although it can not be a topic in a vowel much these days, the solar technology had thunderous advances since then.

Thermal solar panels

The first widespread use of solar energy came in the form of solar thermal panels for heating. By covering a system of copper tubing with a black surface to collect heat beneath a glass plate style oven, the liquid inside the copper pipes can be heated by solar radiation and pumped through a heating system footer used to heat water for homes or the water of swimming pools.

However, solar thermal panels are not very efficient when it is necessary that the liquid is very hot. While these systems may be ideal for maintaining a small swimming pool at a comfortable temperature, heating baseboard or hot water to homes require a secondary system of heating, electric or gas.

In Alaska, during most of the year the solar radiation is not sufficient to offset the extreme cold, so these systems will probably be better for summer cottages or the homes further south.

Solar Electric Panels

The photovoltaic panels that use sunlight to produce electricity, are much more efficient for this purpose than their cousins, the solar thermal panels. They are also much more useful in northern climates. While the manufacturing process and mechanism by which work is more technical than solar, are much simpler to install and maintain in actual use. Then here's a look about the function and objectives of photovoltaic panels, as well as the many benefits that we have with alternative energy systems.

How are photovoltaic panels used?

Solar electric panels are probably one of the easiest sources of alternative energy that can be used. They can be mounted on a roof rack storage in any manor. Once mounted, it is necessary to run a wire from the panel to a solar controller charge, and need to run another wire from the controller to charge a bank of deep cycle batteries. If the electrical system that is being built to work with DC current, the battery bank can be connected by a wire directly to the system.

Multiple solar panels increases slightly the complexity of the wires and of course, most homes use 120 volts AC or a combination of AC to DC. AC systems require the use of a transformer to convert the DC battery current into usable AC 120 volts, and other details may be added, expanded and customized from there. However, the fundamentals of using solar energy remain flat. The solar panels convert solar energy into electricity, and that energy is stored in batteries for household use. The energy needed for the home comes from that is stored in batteries and solar panels to recharge them when their load falls below a certain level.

Use of solar photovoltaic energy in Alaska

Solar panels can be very practical in Alaska, contrary to popular belief. The long hours of summer sun in Alaska, are ideal to take advantage of solar energy. The photovoltaic panels also operate more efficiently in colder temperatures, meaning that they produce more energy per hour of sunlight as the sunlight hours are decreasing. Here are the main considerations for the effective use of solar panels in northern climes:

  1. The photovoltaic panels will not have much use from November to January, for the simple reason that there aren't enough hours of sunlight to produce energy (and you'd have to spend too much time to clean the snow from the panels in order to use the few hours of sunlight). Arrange an alternative energy source for the months of November, December and January. The windmills could be a highly effective alternative.
  2. Although solar energy is very economical when compared with the energy of a generator is still a very expensive form of electricity. Feeding electrical heating elements is not an efficient use of your supply of alternative energy. Heaters, stoves, water heaters or clothes dryers should be replaced by non-electric models (gas or wood). This idea is also valid for those with electric current of the Grid!
  3. Make sure that the solar panels will not be placed where they are blocked by trees of any pending or other obstructions. Even partial shading of a solar panel can substantially reduce your energy harvesting.

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