Please visit our CT Solar Services Web Site as Well, to learn more
PV 101: Learning about Solar Photovoltaics
Solar power is all around us. The sun may be 93 million miles away, but its radiant energy still has the power to melt snow, burn our skin, generate hurricanes and help plants convert carbon dioxide into organic compounds. Photovoltaic (PV) technology is another excellent example of the sun’s energy. PV technology can help families and businesses dramatically reduce their electrical expenses, while also helping to preserve our planet by reducing fossil fuel consumption.
Electrons are the only moving parts in a PV panel
Solar panels that heat water or an antifreeze solution are called “solar thermal” panels. Solar panels that generate electricity are called “photovoltaic” or PV panels. A PV panel is made up of solar cells. When photons (radiant energy from the sun) are absorbed by solar cells, electrons are released, creating an electrical charge. This current is captured in the panel as direct current, or DC.
Drawing courtesy of Strata Solar
Solar electricity can be used at home, stored or sold to the power company
So what happens to solar electricity once it’s generated? Direct current flows to an inverter where it’s converted to alternating current (AC), for use in powering home appliances, lights, laptops and other electrical devices. If the amount of available PV power exceeds the amount of current that’s needed on the property, this excess electricity is sold to the power company, enabling you to get a credit on your electric bill.
Most homes and businesses that install PV systems elect to remain connected to the electric utility grid. However, PV technology can also be combined with an electrical generator and battery backup to create “off-the-grid” capability so that your house can keep working when there’s a power outage. In a PV system with battery backup, extra solar electricity is used to keep a bank of special deep-cycle batteries charged up, so that the batteries can power electrical devices when the sun’s not available.
PV panels can be installed anywhere the sun shines
The most common type of PV panel is about 3ft. x 5ft. in size, with an aluminum frame and a clear glass cover that protects the solar cells. A typical residential PV system will have anywhere from 20-40 panels that are connected to each other and supported by a special bracket and rail system. A PV “array” or installation can be located on the roof of a building, or on the ground. Deciding what type of installation is best depends on the size, orientation and condition of the roof, and on what solar exposure is available on the property. Sometimes it’s necessary to trim or remove trees in order to ensure maximum solar exposure.
Pole Mount Installation
Solar energy + energy-saving upgrades = maximum energy savings
Experience is a great teacher. At CT Solar Services, we’ve learned a great deal about what it takes to install a PV system in a wide variety of site conditions. Most people envision an array of panels on a roof when they think about a solar PV installation. We’ve mounted panels on roofs of all sizes, shapes and pitches, ranging from a small garage to a giant equestrian arena.
Here’s why we love Solar PV:
- Free electricity when the sun is shining
- No moving parts
- No maintenance
- No noise
- No pollution
- Net metering: The power company buys your excess power!
Please visit our CT Solar Services Web Site as Well to learn more
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CT Energy Services - Beacon Falls, CT 06403 Phone: 203-723-9052
Our license # is 00123626. This is an Electrical Unlimited Contractors E-1 license from the State of CT Dept. of Consumer Protection.