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Solar Energy 101 - The Basics of Solar Solutions

Veronica LeeMay 8, 20196390

What is Solar Energy 101 -- The Basics of Solar Solutions

The sun has produced energy for many millions of years and will do so for many millions more. It is estimated that there is enough hydrogen still in the sun's core to last another 4.5 billion years. Solar energy as we refer to it is the solar radiation (light and heat) that reaches the earth. Every day the sun radiates enormous amounts of heat and light energy. The planet and the atmosphere absorb some of this energy with the remainder being reflected back out into space.

What is Solar Energy? The Ultimate Renewable Energy

Solar photovoltaics are the most widely deployed solar electric technology in the world today. To make important decisions like building your own home solar system, you should understand what solar energy actually is and how it works.

Solar energy is the radiant energy that the sun produces. This is the result of a process called nuclear fusion - the joining of smaller atoms to form a larger atom. The sun is a giant ball of gas consisting primarily of hydrogen and helium. Through nuclear fusion, hydrogen atoms in the sun's core combine to form helium atoms over and over again.

Solar electricity is usually called Photovoltaics (PV) because they transform light energy into electricity. An average PV panel consists of two or more thin layers of semi-conducting material, which is commonly silicon. PV cells are connected together and encapsulated to form a module or panel. When lights strike the silicon, it produces electrons. Solar energy is one of the most utilized renewable energy sources that can be useful to any household.

In a grid-connected system, combiners, inverters, and transformers convert the low-voltage direct current (dc) output of many individual PV modules into high-voltage alternating current (AC) power that is fed into the grid. Many off-grid systems also employ charge controllers and batteries to store energy during the day and provide on-demand power during the night.

Important note: 

One misconception about the solar energy that reaches earth is that it includes the heat from the sun. In fact, the earth doesn't receive any heat from the sun since it's more than 93 million miles away. What actually happens is that when the radiant energy from the sun is absorbed by an object, its energy is converted into heat. 

How Does This Affect Me as a Homeowner?

Photovoltaics are one of the cheapest solutions & environmentally-friendly ways to generate power today because they are silent, produce no emissions while in use and require no fuel to run them. There are endless benefits to having a DIY solar system for your household.

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