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Explore Solar Generator Guide

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Title: Explore Solar Generator Guide


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In the 21st century, the world runs on energy.
Whether its a light in your home, the
television in your living room, the light post on
your street, or the stoplight down the road,
electricity in some form is required to power
them. Electricity is created in numerous ways,
and most towns and cities rely on power plants
to generate their electric power. However, in
recent years there has been a growing trend of
utilizing alternative energy sources. One of the
biggest examples is solar energy, which is
gathered using solar panels. Its pretty simple
solar energy is infinite as long as we have the
sun, and thats not going away anytime soon.
Using the sun for energy is not only an infinite
source, but an environmentally friendly choice
as well.
How does Solar Energy Work? Solar energy is
created by harvesting sunlight and converting it
into a direct current. This current can be sent
straight to a device being powered, or inverted
into an alternate current and passed along
either to a battery or through an electrical
system. Things are actually a bit more
complicated than this, but well touch on that
later. Solar Panels 101 Guide
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Advantages of Solar Power Solar energy provides
multiple benefits to everyone in both direct and
indirect ways. The primary advantage of solar
power is the fact that it is completely
renewable, unlike power that comes from sources
such as fossil fuels. Solar energy can be
harvested in both sunny and cloudy conditions.
If its daytime, there is energy available,
bottom line. Solar energy is also completely
clean, and doesnt release harmful emissions in
the air. As climate change and pollution become
bigger and bigger issues, clean energy sources
in turn become more of a premium, and can help to
combat emissions and air pollution very
effectively by cutting down on the need for them
in the first place.
Many cities are ramping up their efforts to
generate more electricity from the sun. For
instance, San Francisco now requires solar panels
on every new building over 10 stories
tall. Cheaper Utility Costs Another big reason
for going solar is the savings it provides.
Whether you are powering smaller devices such as
phones and laptops, or have a home that has been
completely overhauled to be a solar-powered
home, the energy savings you receive from not
relying on an electrical energy grid or power
company can add up fast. Many local, state, and
federal governments even offer tax credits and
rebates for homes that convert to solar energy,
which can help to pay for the conversion and
equipment in the first place. Portability Solar
power also allows for you to have a renewable
power source on the go. This can manifest itself
in a variety of ways, but typically involves
portable generators, portable solar chargers,
and even solar backpacks. Bringing these solar
devices along during outdoor excursions and
camping trips provides you with an infinite
supply of power for
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several electronic devices and small
appliances. What are Solar Panels? Solar panels
are the items that do most of the work when it
comes to producing solar energy and turning it
into usable electricity. They almost always come
in a square or rectangular shape, and contain
what are called solar cells. These solar cells
themselves are composed of either one or two
layers of semiconductor waffles, and often
utilize silicon, phosphorus, and boron
materials. These solar panels are then used to
capture the energy from the sun, and convert it
into electrical power. Without solar panels,
there is no solar energy. How Do Solar Panels
Work? The way solar panels work is actually
fairly simple. Solar panels absorb the photons
that come from the suns energy, which is what
creates the resulting electrical current. This
process is known as the Photovoltaic Effect. The
energy created via the photons hitting the
surface of the solar panel causes the electrons
to be disrupted from their atomic orbits, and
then released into the electric field that has
been generated by the solar cells. The cells in
the panels then pull the
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electrons into a directional current (DC.) As far
as solar panels for home use is concerned, having
enough panels operating at the same time
generates enough power during the day to be used
in the home at night and into the next day. In
off-grid solar panels uses for things like backup
generators or portable generators, a battery
pack, charge controller, andinverter are used
instead. In this case, the solar panel array
sends direct current (DC) electricity to the
charge controller and into the battery
pack. The power is then drawn from the battery
pack to the power inverter, which then takes the
DC current and converts it into an alternating
current (AC) so that can be used for standard
appliances and devices powered by normal
plug-ins. Solar panel arrays can configured to
meet certain electrical load requirements for
numerous items, including buildings and homes,
RVs, street and traffic lights, and really just
about anything else. Types of Solar Panels There
are quite a few different varieties of solar
panels in existence, but two main types in
particular are used the most frequently
polycrystalline and monocrystalline. Before
going into the details of these two panels, its
first important to learn what crystalline
silicon is in the first place.
Crystalline Silicon Like the name says,
crystalline silicon is the crystallized form of
silicon. Crystalline silicon has a wide range of
uses, and is almost always found in computer
microchips. Solar panel cells require a purer
version of crystalline silicon, however.
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Solar cells made from crystalline silicon are
single-junction cells, and are often more
efficientthan other types. Monocrystalline Solar
Panels Panels constructed from monocrystalline
have cells that feature a distinct semi-squared
look. The cells themselves are made from silicon
ingots that have their edges cut off, which
gives them their distinct look. Monocrystalline
is a more pure form of silicon, which results in
a panel with a higher efficiency. Advantages The
biggest obvious advantage of monocrystalline
solar panels is their overall efficiency. Since
the panels convert more sunlight than other
panels, they dont require as much space. This
can be helpful to those that dont have a lot of
room for the panels on their property or roof.
Monocrystalline panels also have the longest
lifespan, and can perform better under low-light
conditions. Disadvantages As you may have
guessed, due to their better performance and
efficiency, monocrystalline panels are generally
the most expensive. These panels also tend to
breakdown the circuit when in the shade, or
covered with objects like dirt and
snow. Polycrystalline Solar Panels
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Polycrystalline panels are made from a different
process than their monocrystalline counterparts.
With these panels, raw silicon is melted down to
a liquid form, and then poured into square
molds. Once the silicon cools, the panel is
created. This results in the blue, almost
window-like look often associated with solar
panels. Advantages Polycrystalline solar panels
are cheaper than monocrystalline, making them
more affordable for those desiring solar power
on a smaller budget. Disadvantages These panels
do not perform as efficiently as monocrystalline
panels, which means youll need more of them.
Those that have large wattage requirements and a
smaller roof might find it difficult to provide
all the power necessary with the space they have
available. Uses for Solar Panels Now that you
know they types of solar panels and how they
work, lets examine their many uses. Industrial
Power Plants Several solar power plants have been
built over the last few decades, mostly in dry
desert regions such as Nevada and Southern
California. These plants are able to generate
substantial amounts of electricity to be added to
the grid. Solar power plants utilize hundreds
and even thousands of carefully arranged solar
panels that are made with quality solar cell
materials. There are plans for numerous solar
power plants to be added to the grids of several
cities over the coming years. Home Use
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More and more homes across the United States are
opting to use solar energy for at least part of
their energy needs. Others have solar systems
that are used as an emergency backup in the case
of an outage, both long and short
term. Homeowners that wish to have a constant
stream of solar power will often install panels
onto their roof, or lay out panels elsewhere on
their property if possible. Depending on the
town and municipality, homeowners can either opt
to power their entire home with their own solar
system, or supplement their current standard
electrical use. Many people have chosen to add
solar systems to their homes for both
environmental and economic reasons. Homeowners
living in smog-heavy cities have increasingly
moved towards solar energy for their homes,
hoping to offset the pollution in their area
while also easing the burden on the power grid
itself, which can sometimes have failures in
cities such as Los Angeles.
Either way, there is almost always a financial
incentive for solar energy use at home, as
federal tax credits and rebates can help to
significantly offset the cost of these systems,
leaving homeowners with savings both short and
long term. Farm Use Solar panels have countless
uses for agriculture. Several farmers across the
United States use solar panels to power a
variety of small equipment and appliances in
numerous scenarios. Farmers can use solar energy
to power fans for their livestock, water wells
and pumps, lighting, and a whole slew of other
uses as well. Off the Grid Use Solar panels are
a popular choice for those that live in extremely
remote areas, as they may lack access to a
regulated power grid in the first place. Solar
panels and generators allow these people to
provide a constant stream of energy to their
property without having to worry about utility
bills, or even faulty service that often results
when living remotely.
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Solar energy systems are also very useful for
those that own properties such as vacation and
hunting cabins in remote areas. These cabins and
houses offer an escape
from city life and densely populated areas, but
can also lack basic utilities. Solar panels can
thus be used to power either a few smaller
appliances such as lights and a fan or two, or
be a part of a larger system that provides
adequate power similar to a full scale
residential solar power system. This allows the
power to be there when the property owner needs
it, as they may not be at the property often
enough to keep constant service from a utility
company. Portable Generators Most people are
very familiar with portable generators. These
devices can be used
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to supply power on the go, or even at home for a
select amount of appliances and electronic
devices. In the past, portable generators were
powered only by gas and propane, or were charged
up prior to use via an AC adapter to a wall
outlet. However, solar technology through solar
panels has provided a way to charge these
generators using the sun instead. Portable
solar generators vary in size and power, but
always require the use of solar panels. Some
have solar panels built in to the unit itself,
while others have external systems that can
sometimes be compacted, folded down, and carried
like a briefcase. Solar generators allow for
portable energy that never runs out like gas and
propane, while also cutting down significantly
on noise and emissions. Solar Chargers Smaller
solar panels can be used as chargers for smaller
devices and appliances. Conventional solar
panels that are used with generators and solar
power systems have to first be passed through
either a power inverter, or a battery, as the
wattage offered by these panels would damage a
smaller device if connected directly. Solar
chargers offer a wattage that is compatible with
the battery capabilities of devices like phones
and tablets. The solar panels themselves are
often the size of the average smartphone, making
them easy to carry on the go. With these
chargers, you can simply connect to the device,
sit in the sun, and watch as your device
charges. Solar Backpacks Solar backpacks work in
a similar way to solar charger. With solar
backpacks, the solar panel is found on the back
of the backpack facing outwards, and usually
takes up the whole outside space. Everything
else about the backpack is the same as a normal
one.
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These backpacks are always charging when in the
sun, and can be used to charge small devices
when you are traveling on foot in the outdoors.
Whether you are commuting in the city to and from
work, or spending the day backpacking and hiking,
your solar backpacks panels will ensure that
you have a way to keep your essential devices
powered. Solar backpack panels are often
waterproof, and very resistant to scratches and
impact, making them very durable. Traffic
Use More and more towns and cities are relying on
solar panels to power lower wattage devices such
as traffic lights. The panels are often found in
a very close proximity to the traffic lights,
and collect just enough power during the day to
power the traffic lights on through to the
next. Its also very common to see solar panels
used for streetlights lining city roads. Each
light has its own panel either close to the
ground, or placed on top of the light. This
provides cities and municipalities a
cost-effective and renewable way to power
essential traffic devices on a permanent
basis. How to Build a Solar Panel For those that
have a basic understanding of electrical circuits
topped off with a general knowledge of power
tools and woodworking, building your own solar
panel is
relatively simple. To get started, you must
first decide on whether you want a 12v or 24v
panel, and how big you want your panel to be. A
large, flat, lightweight board made from quality
wood makes for a good panel base. Once you have
decided on the board and size, its time to
acquire the solar cells themselves. This can be
done through a variety of online merchants,
including eBay. Try
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to keep the cost under 1.3 per watt. After
acquiring your solar cells, you can now put it
all together. Lay out each panel where youd
like it placed on the panel, and trace around
each one with a pencil. After doing so, drill a
hole where each panel will go so that you have a
space for the wire for each panel to come
through. When you are done planning the location
of the panels, move on to wiring them together.
This requires a soldering iron. Solder the
positive lead of the wire to the negative lead
of the next cell. Repeat for every cell until you
have created a circuit that boasts a voltage of
either 12 or 24 volts. Now that you have created
your panel circuit, stick the panels to their
designated space on the board. Follow that by
creating connection buses along the positive and
negative leads, and then connect those buses in
a parallel form. Your panel is now ready to be
tested for amperage and connected to an inverter.
How to Install Solar Panels Solar panels can be
installed in a variety of ways. If the
application is home use in a large wattage
capacity, you will need to install numerous
panels on your roof. This can be done with solar
panel mounts. These mounts come in three types
pole mounts, roof- ground mounts, and flush
mounts. Installing solar panels on the roof
requires access to the underside of your roof, as
well as your homes electrical circuit. The
actual location of the solar panels on the
roof should be determined on what direction your
home faces, and what part of the roof will
receive the most sunlight during the
day. Obstructions such as trees and structural
parts of the home that can cast shadows on the
panels should be avoided as well. Once you have
determined the location of your panels, affix
them to your roof evenly using the desired
mounting system, and then run the wires to your
power inverter.
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Should You Install Solar Panels Yourself? The
short answer to this question is going to be no
99 of the time. Solar panels may acquire energy
from the sun, but this doesnt make them any more
safe than any other electrical source. You are
still dealing with high amounts of electricity,
which makes it just as dangerous. Furthermore,
solar panels and systems can be extremely
complicated. Only those with a high functioning
knowledge of electrical systems should even
attempt to do it themselves. The system and
installation is further complicated for cities
that require the home to still be a part of the
electric grid.
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If you are wanting to equip your home with
permanent solar panels that feed into your power
system, its always best to hire professionals
who specialize in such a service. Minor
Installations The only time a novice should
attempt installation of solar panels is when the
panel is part of a solar kit, such as a portable
generator, or kit for an RV. These kits come with
inverters, and everything is already compatible,
along with being separate from any kind of grid.
These kits are generally plug-and-plays, which
means they are ready to be used straight out of
the box, with no assembly. At that point, all
you have left to do is either place the panel
where youd like, or perform a minor install by
affixing it to a certain part of your home, RV,
cabin, or campsite.
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