Beginners guide: What you should know about solar PV

Solar PV - cleanbuild

Beginners guide: What you should know about solar PV

The hype around renewable energy is well deserved. For one, it is enabling global efforts to reduce and if possible eliminate energy poverty. Certainly, more people are adopting the use of energy gotten from clean sources mostly due to the growing awareness of the threat that is climate change. On the other hand, renewables present numerous advantages such as reliability and reduced cost of clean energy.

The most popular of all forms of renewable energy is solar energy. For kids who might be hearing of solar energy for the first time, It is described to be the kind of energy that is gotten directly from the sun. The sun provides an abundance of renewable, clean energy, and this type is employed to solve numerous problems faced by mankind today.

But, before anyone could have access to this form of energy, certain factors are noted to be contributors to solar energy. Aside from the presence of adequate sunlight, one major factor to consider before solar energy can be utilized is the availability of solar PV. In this piece, you will find out what solar PV is and how it works.

What is Solar PV?

A large amount of sunlight hits the earth hourly to meet the energy need of the world. Leveraging this free energy can help in reducing our outright dependence on other forms or sources of energy and this will be of great benefit to our environment on the other hand.

Solar Photovoltaics short for Solar PV are panels usually mounted on the roof of buildings, where they can convert the energy from the sun into electricity. Electricity developed using solar can power your home or office, thereby, leading to reduction or outright saving from paying electricity bills.

Solar PV produces electricity using direct sunlight. Although, in places where there are no roofs, they can be placed on the ground. But, it is often advised to mount the Solar PV on the roof where it can absorb more sunlight. The Photovoltaic cells contained within it helps in converting sunlight into electricity. These cells are traditionally made from silicon material.

Also, with solar PV panels,  you can produce free and renewable energy for your houses. You do not only need the Solar PV to generate electricity, there is a high need for Inverters too. One major function of the Inverter is to immediately change the DC voltage that the panels produced into “usable” electricity that can be used to power electric appliances in your home.

Installation of the Solar PV is quite expensive but it requires low maintenance and regular care or cleaning. There are three types of Solar PV panels. Though, they differ in productivity, cost, and appearance

Monocrystalline:  This PV is made from tiny slices of silicon and is cut from a single crystalline cell.

Polycrystalline: This is also made from tiny slices of silicon and is cut from a block of crystalline cells.

Hybrid: This is the combination of crystalline cells with a tiny slice of silicon on glass or metal. Out of all the stated types of PVs, this appears to be more powerful.

How does solar PV work?
  • The  PV panels on the roof absorb the sun’s energy and then convert it into DC electricity or voltage.
  • Then, the Inverter changes DC voltage into ‘useable AC electricity.
  • Electricity production is then measured by a Generation meter.
  • Household appliances then use the electricity generated.
  • All Unused electricity gets fed back into the electricity grid or stored in a battery if there is any.

Solar PV systems are rated in kilowatts (kWp). On a sunny day and with the panel facing south, electricity generation would be at its maximum. It is important to know that the amount of electricity produced by solar PVs is measured in kWh (Kilowatts hours). And,  the positions where the panel faces have a way of affecting the volume of electricity that will be produced.


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