How do solar panels get energy from the sun? Solar energy has a name called photons. Photons are fundamental particles that include electromagnetic radiation such as light. Therefore, the sun emits an endless stream of particles enveloped in energy packages of light, and these photons have enormous potential. It takes about 8 minutes for a photon to travel from the sun to our Earth, covering a distance of 93,000,000 miles (150 million kilometers). Photons are unconditionally sent directly to the Earth. When exposed to heat and light, the semiconductor material on the surface of the world vibrates positively. Electrons are excited enough to conduct electricity. Then, these electrons are stored in a storage room we commonly call a battery.

If you look closely at the surface of a solar panel, you will notice the presence of smaller cells. These are called solar or photovoltaic (PV) cells. PV cells convert solar energy into electrical energy. PV cells have two thin layers of silicon resin, with more than 90% of the PV produced being silicon-based. Silicon resin is a semiconductor material that can capture photons and convert them into electrons. This conversion process does not produce harmful waste or emissions, making it a clean, green, and efficient alternative for future generations.

In addition, in the case of solar panels, appearance is also important. The size, structure, design, and technology used in the materials used will all affect the performance of the solar panel. When sunlight shines on the solar panel, the absorption of light raises the electrons to a higher energy state. Then, the motion of this high-energy electron generates an electric field. Therefore, this electric field is guided through thin metal strips called busbars and stored in the battery through a special power conditioning device. There is no doubt that size is important, especially for portable solar panels.

There are different types of solar panels, and these are the most popular:

  • Monocrystalline: first-generation panels, but with higher efficiency. These solar panels use high-purity silicone gel, making them durable and performing well (conversion rate exceeds 20%), recognized by the uniform external color on the panel.
  • Polycrystalline: Made up of small crystals called microcrystals, giving the material a typical metal plate effect. Made by melting silicone gel fragments, these panels are less efficient than monocrystalline panels but more affordable.
  • Thin film: Second-generation solar cells made by depositing a thin layer or film of photovoltaic material on a substrate (such as glass, plastic, or metal). They are lightweight, foldable or rollable, but less efficient than the best silicone panels.
How to measure the efficiency of a solar panel?

A useful benchmark is to calculate the percentage of solar energy that the panel converts into electrical energy. The average efficiency of crystalline-based solar cells is considered to be between 12% and 22%. Some researchers have even achieved efficiencies of over 40%, without considering the commercial potential and high cost of producing such outputs. Factors to be measured include: the type of cell (i.e., monocrystalline, polycrystalline, thin film, etc.), the size of the panel and the amount of sunlight captured, the angle of the solar panel-vertical to the sun at 90 degrees is a perfect tilt, whether some parts of the solar panel are shaded, whether the surface of the solar panel is clean, and the temperature-the larger the surface of the panel, the more sunlight it captures.

Clean all kinds of panel surfaces as much as possible with pure water and a soft brush. Removing dust and small particles makes sense. Foreign objects on the surface are naturally an obstacle, and attention should also be paid to mechanical damage, such as broken glass, frame damage/bending, battery material defects, and battery cracks. Rain, wind, and cold weather will not damage the output of solar panels, and sometimes they can help keep them clean and debris-free. Although this sounds contradictory, too much heat actually reduces the power output of solar panels. For example, testing the power of a panel at 25℃ is perfect, but every 10℃ rise in temperature will reduce the maximum power of a crystalline panel by 0.5%.

 

What is the best angle and orientation for solar panels (2)

What is the best angle and orientation for solar panels

The sun rises from the east and sets in the west. However, the sun is in constant motion throughout the day, starting from rising in the east and ending with setting in the west. To understand the best angle and direction for solar panels, it is essential to understand the sun’s trajectory. The direction of solar panels only refers to which direction they are facing: north, south, east, or west. For houses located north of the equator, the correct direction for solar panels is facing due south. For houses located south of the equator, it will be the opposite, with solar panels facing due north. In general, the direction of solar panels should be opposite to the direction of the equator where the house is located.

The angle of solar panels refers to the vertical tilt of the solar panels. It can be a bit tricky to understand because the appropriate tilt will vary depending on the geographic location and time of year. In terms of geographic location, the angle of solar panels will increase as the distance from the equator increases. For example, for states like New York and Michigan, the position of the sun in the sky is relatively low, which means that solar panels require a larger tilt angle. 

To find the best angle for solar panels, you need to first understand the latitude of the location. Generally, the ideal angle for solar panels will be equal to or close to the latitude of the location. However, the appropriate angle for solar panels will also fluctuate throughout the year. For summer and warmer months, add 15° to the latitude of the location. For winter and cooler months, subtract 15° from the latitude. The ideal angle of solar panels will not only be affected by the geographic location but also by the sun’s seasonal changes. In the summer months, the sun moves higher in the sky. In winter, the sun moves lower in the sky. This means that the tilt angle needs to be adjusted appropriately for each season to obtain maximum output from solar panels.

 

72-cell MBB Half-cell Module (2)
Monofacial solar panels
72-cell MBB Half-cell Module (1)
All black solar panels
72-cell MBB Half-cell Module (4)
Bifacial solar panels
72-cell MBB Half-cell Module (3)
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