Plugging your home into solar energy will lower your energy consumption, and it’s useful to learn the solar basics as you go forward. Our region receives enough solar energy to make using sunshine a viable option to create electricity. This guide defines the terms you’ll run across as you explore your solar options.
- Photovoltaic – This term describes the process that solar light goes through in its conversion to usable electricity.
- Photovoltaic module – A module is a single solar panel. It could be small enough to power a rechargeable battery or large enough to generate power to run appliances.
- Solar array – If you use two or more panels, you’ll have a solar array. Panels in your array should have the same voltage, and together they feed your home directly. You can also store the energy in batteries to use at night or on exceptionally cloudy days.
- Solar cell – These generate the power from the solar panel or array. The most common size is 12 volts, and cells can be connected to generate more voltage.
- Solar cell efficiency – Essential to solar basics, learning the cell’s efficiency helps you determine how much potential power the solar array will provide. Some of the light hitting the solar panels won’t be converted into electricity. Choosing more efficient cells helps you generate more power.
- Irradiance – On bright, sunny days, the irradiance is higher than on cloudy days or those with high, thin clouds. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, on average our region receives between three and four kilowatts per square meter daily, equivalent to 1.76 square feet. The highest irradiance in the continental U.S. occurs in the southwestern deserts.
- Peak sun hours – This measures the solar intensity, similar to the irradiance. A peak sun hour occurs when the sun creates 1,000 watts per hour for each meter squared. If you have three hours of bright sun in a day, you’ll have three peak sun hours.
If you’d like to learn more about solar basics, contact Powers Heating & Air. We provide HVAC services for the Peachtree City area.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Peachtree City, Georgia and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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