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Solar Power // Solar-Electric

Solar Panels are part of any solar electric installation and to save yourself some money and to do your part to save fossil fuels, you can build your own solar panels. Below is a primer on solar energy to get your feet wet, but once you get the idea here is some great DIY solar information.

Solar Cells and Photovoltaic Panels

A photovoltaic panel

Solar cells, or technically, photovoltaic panels (PV panels) are the backbone of a solar-electric system in Toronto. They are responsible for turning sunlight into direct current (DC) electricity using what is known as the photovoltaic effect.

PV solar collectors most commonly found in the form of rigid panels that are available in varying sizes and watt ratings. Solar electric panels are rated based on the amount of electricity that they can produce under ideal temperature and sunlight conditions. In Toronto Ontario, multiple collector panels combined together are called an solar panel array.

Solar-Electric News

The World's Biggest Solar Project... Saudi Arabia has announced the world's biggest-ever solar electric project. With a price tag of $200 billion, the venture proposed by SoftBank Group Corp. partnered with the Saudis is 100 times larger than any previously proposed solar energy project. What makes this installation unique is that it features plans to store electricity for use at night or when the sun sun isn't shining. They intend to employ the largest battery array ever made to store the power generated.

Solar-Electric Array Mounting Rack

Since it is vital to the performance of your solar collectors that they are oriented correctly, mounting racks are an important element in any solar project.

Panels can be mounted in one of three ways:

  • rooftop
  • atop a steel pole
  • ground level

The most common mounting method for photovoltaic electric collectors used in urban or suburban areas are mounted on a home's south-facing roof, generally following the roof's slope because it is most aesthetically pleasing. In areas with more space or in commercial applications, pole- or ground-mounted arrays are common.

Since the sun is higher in the sky during the summer and lower in the winter, some solar panel mounting racks are seasonally adjustable allowing you to keep them aimed more directly at the sun year round. Such adjustment is less common on rooftop solar panels but are a added feature of most pole mounted PV arrays. Some commercial pole-mounted PV arrays include tracking devices that allow the array to automatically track the sun across the Toronto sky from east to west each day which can increase the solar system's energy output by between 25 and 40 percent.

The Cost of Photovoltaic Panels

Since their introduction in the retail market in the 1970's, the price of photovoltaic cells has always been a limiting factor on their use. During the following decades great strides were made in the efficiency and the production of solar products but it has only been in the last five years where the benefits of solar panels have really been within reach of the average consumer. The incredible drop in the cost of PV Solar panels is illustrated here.

The reduction in the price of PV solar panels has been due to only a few factors. The first is that the technology has advanced and now they are much more easily produced. In addition, now that many governments are actively encouraging both businesses and residents to install solar electric equipment, production volumes are at an all time high. This high demand has both the effect of more producers competing in the solar panel market - causing competition, and the larger volumes allows for cheaper production and shipping of the finished solar cells.

  • Posted On: December 15, 2022
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