How do Solar Power systems work

We often get asked exactly how solar power system works, and in short the solar panel (or photovoltaic component of the system) is the heart of the system. It transforms the sun’s rays into usable, renewable electrical energy.

The solar panel (or module) is comprised of several individual photovoltaic cells connected in series or parallel with metallic material. The energy produced by solar panels is influenced primarily by the number of cells within a panel and how these cells are arranged within the panel. When the cells are connected in series, the total voltage is the sum of the voltages from each individual cell. The output current in this configuration will remain the same as that produced from a single cell.

When the cells are connected in parallel, the total current is the sum of the currents from the individual cells and the output voltage is the same as that produced from a single cell. Each cell in a solar panel typically produces anywhere from 2 to 5 amperes and approximately 0.5 volts (about the same amount as produced from an ordinary flashlight battery).

The cells can be arranged in a module to produce a specific voltage and a specific current to meet your electrical requirements. By multiplying the output voltage (volts) by the output current (amps), one can calculate the total electricity produced (in watts). Typically, cells are arranged in a module to produce voltages in increments of 12. Hence, most modules in the marketplace are 12 volts, 24 volts, and even 36 volts. The trend is to higher voltage modules.

Like photovoltaic cells, solar panels can also be arranged to produce a specific current and voltage. By connecting solar panels in certain configurations (called a solar array), one can dictate the current and voltage of the solar array, thus dictating the electricity the system produces.

The size of your photovoltaic system will be dictated by the amount of daily energy required (loads) and the amount of energy available at your location. A professional supplier can assist you by performing a detailed analysis and preparing a quotation based on the analysis. Using energy efficiently will reduce the cost of your system.