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  10/05/2010
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Home > KOtech Smart Solutions
Solar Cell Systems
 

What is Solar Energy

  Solar Energy is light from the sun which grows, warms, and sustains life here on earth. Solar Energy can be converted into Electricity through Photovoltaic Arrays. Photo means light and voltaics means it has to do with electricity. The Arrays are whatever captures the sunlight, most often these are solar panels. This is why solar panels are often referred to as PV (photovoltaic) arrays.

What makes a Solar Panel work?

A Solar Panel is made up of many individual Solar Cells.These Solar Cells are made up of a semi conducting material like silicon. Semi conducting is a fancy way of saying that these materials move (or conduct) the flow of electrons. Organizing the flow of electrons into a useful stream gives rise to an electric current. This current can then be used to charge batteries or power DC electronics but not typical AC wall outlets yet. To learn more about inverting DC to AC current see the next question.

 

 Below is a diagram explaining the different layers inside each solar cell and how they conduct electrons into a useful current.

 

 

 

 What is an inverter and why do I need one?

The light that comes from the sun that is converted into electricity gives rise to a DC current or Direct Current. This means that the flow of electrons (or electric charge) is one-directional. This one directional flow can charge batteries but cannot directly power the typical wall outlet in your home. 

This is where a power inverter comes in. After the sunlight is converted into electric current by way of the solar panels, it then directly charges a bank of batteries to store up this useful electric energy. When you want to draw on this supply, the batteries send their DC current to the Power Inverter which inverts the current from DC to AC power which then can be used in common U.S. household (120,220 Volts AC) outlets. 


  1. Light comes in from the sun
  2. Many Solar Cells in a Photovoltaic Arrayproduce a DC current
  3. The current is regulated by the charge controller to protect the battery bank
  4. The battery bank stores the electric charge to be used later. Devices using DC can draw power directly
  5. The electric current is inverted from DC to AC in the inverter and sent to power AC outlets
  6. Electronic devices can now draw power from the system like a normal wall outlet.

  

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