How Solar Panels Work

Posted by roofcoadmin March 23, 2019

The persistent search for renewable energy has seen tremendous growth of solar as a source of power for many domestic and industrial users. Today, solar panels power many of our everyday utilities, from home appliances such as ovens to spacecrafts orbiting our planet. Are you thinking of making the bold step to solar energy? Great! Before inviting a Winnipeg roofing company to install solar panels, this piece takes you through the basics of how solar panels work, how to maintain them, and how you can enjoy solar-related services for a longer time.

The science behind solar panels

Different types of solar panels employ the same mechanism to work. The panels are made from layers of silicon cells and wires embedded inside a glass casing. A metallic frame borders the glass casing and an inverter converts electricity from direct to alternate currents. Some solar panels come with a battery system that stores converted energy for controlled use.

The silicon cells absorb sunlight, which in turn triggers electrons to convert the light to electricity through the photovoltaic effect. Without getting too scholarly, the photovoltaic effect involves transmitting the light rays through electrons. These electrons pass through a sandwich of positive and negative electric fields. The electrons in motion then create an electric current which is fed to the nodes and wires underneath the layer of silicon cells.

The electric current fed to the wires is known as direct current or DC. Many home appliances however, require higher voltage power to operate than provided by DC electricity. The DC electricity is therefore fed to an inverter, which converts it to alternate current or AC. Alternate current gives a higher voltage output, which is able to power multiple appliances concurrently.

How to maintain your solar panels

Solar panels are immobile, guaranteeing longevity with just a little maintenance. You therefore only need to occasionally clean your panels to remove any debris that may block the sun rays from direct contact with the silicon cells. Such debris include dust, bird droppings and grime.

Cleaning the solar panels is not rocket science. All it takes is a garden hose to rinse the dirt from the panel. Should your panels require more cleaning, you may use soapy water and a sponge fixed on a long pole, then rinse away the suds with the hose. We recommend cleaning during an overcast morning or evening, when power production is relatively low.

The frequency of cleaning the solar panels depends on your situation. People living in areas with excess dust as well as those living near a heavily nested tree should clean the solar panels at least once in 2 months. On those rainy days, you will obviously get lower power production, but you will also enjoy free cleaning!

Remember to observe safety as you clean your solar panels. Ensure your ladder is firmly positioned and stable before climbing your roof. If your panels are too high to reach, contact your local roofing professionals and schedule a maintenance date. Also remember to schedule occasional maintenance for all your utilities relying on solar energy for optimum performance.