At the heart of any solar power system are the solar panels that do the actual conversion of sunlight to electricity. These solar power panels are an amazing innovation that enables the average homeowner to generate their own power to use in their homes and can help them reduce the amount of electricity they purchase each month from their local power utility.
Solar power panels are built by wiring together a collection of solar cells inside a weatherproof case. The solar cells will produce a small electrical current when struck by sunlight. Even though these individual solar cells will only generate a very small amount of electricity each, when a group of them are wired together inside of a solar panel they can produce a sizeable amount of power. This also means that if a single solar cell fails over time, the solar power panels are still viable since the other solar cells are still working fine.
Solar cells have been improved over the years and today are more efficient and durable than ever before. They also are able to generate more power from a given amount of sunlight and can even generate power from less sunlight than in years past. In older solar cells, there was a minimum threshold of light that was needed to get the solar cell to start producing power. This threshold is an important factor in how productive a solar panel can be since it determines how much sunlight is needed to start generating power. These newer solar cells have a much lower threshold than older cells, and as a result can generate power for more of a given day.
Because newer solar power panels generate more electricity than older panels, you’ll need fewer of them to supply the same amount of power to your home. This means a lower cost for your initial installation and less roof space is needed as well. Both of these are welcome improvements to any homeowner installing a solar power system for their home.
Another recent innovation with these newer solar power panels is the addition of a micro-inverter that is built into the panel itself. Most solar power systems have a single large inverter that is usually mounted near the electrical panel for the home. All of the solar power panels on the roof have their output Direct Current (DC) electricity sent to this single inverter, to be converted to the Alternating Current (AC) electricity the home can use.
The problem with this solution is that there is a loss in power due to the long wires that need to be run from the solar power panels to the inverter. By including the micro-inverter in the panel itself, this conversion from DC to AC is done right at the panel and there is less loss of power in the wires since the electricity is AC and, typically, higher voltage.
This turns each solar panel into its own power generating plant that can supply electricity directly to your home. Using a panel with these micro-inverters installed in it eliminates the need for a large inverter in the system and makes the wiring easier as well. In addition, you don’t have to buy a large power inverter up-front, but can get the benefit of AC conversion in each solar panel as you add them. This allows a more incremental approach to building up a solar power system.
Any way you decide to build your solar power system, you’ll do better with the newer, improved version of these solar power panels. They will generate more power for a lower cost, and allow you to enjoy free power from the sun longer than ever before.