It is indeed gratifying to know that most world countries have now agreed that unless the global warming is immediately controlled and the greenhouse effect is drastically reduced by generating electricity through solar energy only, the world is going to face a terrible catastrophe in the not too distant foreseeable future. However, few nations have shown real concern to this universal peril other than the United States where efforts appear on a war footing to encourage residential solar energy use in every home. Instances include the California Solar Initiative’s “Million Solar Roofs program by 2017” that carries incentives for every home to have residential solar power within the targeted year.
Residential solar energy may be provided in two major ways or methods. While one of them includes the use of conventional solar panels set up at strategic points that get sunlight most of the day, the other involves changing the basic construction of the house where such panels work as a part of the edifice. As for the conventional method that uses solar panels which basically consist of a cluster of photovoltaic (PV) cells, there are a few variations needing elaboration.
Crystalline Silicon Solar Cell panel consist of a transparent plate glass surface, a ethyl vinyl acetate (EVA) encapsulent, and a Tedlar back layering – all arranged conveniently in an aluminum outer frame. As soon as the sunrays hit the crystalline silicon solar panel, the orderly arrangement of atoms helps convert the sunlight into DC electric current. An inverter provided with the system automatically transforms the DC power to usable 120 volt AC current. A battery bank specially provided for the unit stores unutilized electricity with the help of a charge controller or the surplus current goes to the utility (if the system is grid-tied) as salable power.
Yet another variation called the Thin Film Solar panel is a less expensive type of solar panel as it uses less semiconductor material. This technology is again available in three basic forms that include amorphous Silicon (a-Si); cadmium telluride (CdTe) and copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS). Most of these produce high efficiency modules that can be installed directly onto the roofing shingles, enhancing the modular effect of the building.
In certain cases, String-ribbon that combines conventional crystalline silicon and thin film technology is also used as a means to produce residential solar energy. It involves a high temperature, molten process that contributes to a two-fold yield as compared to conventional solar cell construction.
Now, a word or two regarding the PV or photovoltaic system that requires, apart from the basic solar panel, a flexible mounting structure to tilt the panel appropriately to the sun so that its entire area can receive the sunrays adequately, an inverter to convert the DC current generated by the device to usable 120 volt AC current, a storage appliance to stock up the unused current that may be required during the night and a user-friendly charge controller for optimum regulation of the battery function.
As a rule, users of PV systems usually prefer Grid-tie systems that are interconnected to the utility network which serve two purposes. Firstly, it helps drawing power when the sky is cloudy and solar power generation drops down perceptively or during the night when there is no generation at all. But the second purpose is more significant and involves economic factors that create credit for the owner of the system since a large part of the unused power generated by the system goes back to the grid/utility as salable power. This causes fantastic reduction of electricity bills since the credit accumulated on account of the supply of the surplus electricity to the grid is offset against the chargeable units of electricity used by the consumer.
Off-grid residential solar energy is used in homes situated at remote places, log cabins in the woods or tents pitched in the wilderness. Basically considered as stand-alone power generating system, they require battery back up to ensure power when the weather abruptly turns cloudy as also at night time. In certain hybrid off-grid PV systems, gasoline, propane or diesel generated power provide electricity when everything fails.
Since most state as well as federal governments are providing incentives galore, and with a little bit of planning one can earn money by selling electricity to the utility or grid, there seems to be no reason as to why everyone should not opt for residential solar energy, especially since the raw material is available free and the running cost is absolute zero.
So are you ready to opt for solar energy – there are simply too many advantages to ignore it. What you need is a training guide – a manual, that will let you learn how to install a system. You will also need to know a few other things such as what is the best place to set up the system, where to buy the parts, how to get free batteries, safety precautions and also wiring the system. Get informed and you are ready to install solar system in your home.