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Top 7 Myths of Solar Electricity

The US Department of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy released an interesting article on the common myths of solar electricity (photovoltaics). Solar Power has been around for decades, although people still believe its an inferior technology which is not even close to true. The myths most consumers have are mind are the following: Myth #1 – Solar Electricity cannot serve the needs of the US or the world. Myth #2 – Today, Solar Electricity can do everything for everyone. Myth #3 – Solar Energy cannot offset greenhouse gases Myth #4 – Manufacturing Solar Panels creates pollution Myth #5 – Solar Electricity is merely a hobby and only appealing to small niche markets. Myth #6 – A solar power system is just too expensive, you can’t get much energy out of a system. Myth #7 – Solar Panels and system equipment is as good as it can get, there is no need for additional research and development. Why do you think people have these myths in mind when they think about solar...

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Solar Arrays, Explained.

I read a lot of articles out there related to solar energy and I’ve seen many different terms used by authors describing a Photovoltaic Module. Photovoltaic Module, What does it mean? Its just a solar industry term that describes a solar panel that can covert light into electricity. But people often refer to panels as “solar arrays” or “solar cells” and I noticed many people get confused by the different terminology. So lets break it down, The Introduction to Photovoltaic Systems by the infinite power organization of Texas has a great diagram. A group of individual cells make up a solar panel (module) and a group of solar panels create an Array. Typically, people install a solar arrays on their roofs or ground mount solar arrays, rarely solar arrays are mounted to tracking systems to follow the path of the sun. The number of solar panels that make up an array depend on individual project goal, budget and needs. The great aspect of a solar array is that the panels are modular, meaning you can add more panels to the array at a later date to generate more electricity. There are a growing amount of people who are concentrating sunlight onto each solar cell that by magnifying the intensity of the sun and generating a greater output per solar panel, imagine taking a large magnifying glass and putting it over a solar array. Over clocking a solar panel, just like people over clock computer processors for more processing...

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UL to test Solar PV Panels

good news! Underwriter Laboratories (UL), focusing on product safety testing and certification has opened North America’s largest photovoltaic (PV) testing center. The center located in San Jose, CA focuses strictly on Solar PV Panels, which turn sunlight into electricity. UL will finally be able to get solar pv products tested and onto the market much faster, thus offering more reliable and safer products for consumers like yourself. UL has always been a seal that has been trusted for consumer products, we are glad they have dedicated a testing facility just for solar pv panels, because we saw it to be a bottleneck in the industry. The lab has 14 test chambers and two solar simulators which provide both indoor and outdoor testing environments. The facility will also test power generation system accessories. The center will serve as a R&D lab for solar panels also which may push newer more efficient solar panels to the market even quicker then we are seeing. I suppose UL certification can help eliminate a myth some consumers believe in about solar power, “solar panels are just not reliable.” In fact solar panels are very reliable and now the industry has the full backing of UL. Look forward to many solar power products stamped with the UL seal in the near...

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solar panel tracker systems, do they make sense?

As the sun travels across its sun path each day a stationary solar panel system has significant efficiency disadvantages compared to a tracker solar panel system. A tracker solar power system can increase solar panel efficiency by 40% by following the path of the sun through out the day. Although tracking systems doubles the total price of a system and requires more yearly maintenance compared to a stationary system. The suns path in the sky varies through the seasons (summer and winter), elevation, and time of day a solar tracker system can keep your solar panels pointed towards to sun through out the whole day. For the typical home or small business solar panel system installation, a stationery system makes most financial sense, unless you have the funds to cover the upfront cost of the tracker system. Residential tracker systems are becoming more efficient a cheaper, although at this point of time, tracker systems only make sense in large commercial or industrial installations. EI Solutions, the company that installed the solar power system on the Google campus, has recently started to design solar panel tracking systems that require less maintenance, called the ray tracker. We met the engineers of the ray ticker at the ASES 2008 conference and feel they have a great product to help the commercial and industrial scale photovoltaic...

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Solar panels can learn from plants.

Plants are smart, they’ve figured out the power of the sun long before humans. Plants are self-sustaining because they understand a process called photosynthesis. The process in which a plant converts sunlight into glucose (energy) for the plant to grow and even produce fruits and vegetables. Remember this stuff in grade school science class? Photovoltaics is the process in which a solar cell turns sunlight into electricity. Solar Panels are made up of a bunch of solar cells which make up a panel. When sunlight hits the panel it goes through a process similar to photosynthesis to covert sunlight into an electrical load. Leaves on a plant are designed flat with surface area to capture sunlight similar to an array of solar panels which makes up a solar electric system. Solar panels have a lot to learn from plants even though there are some similarities, solar panels are typically 20% efficient while plants covert 95% of sunlight into energy. Imagine if solar panels were able to covert 95% of sunlight into electricity, all the cost concerns at that point would go out the window. This comparison highlights we have a lot to learn from nature’s most basic life...

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