Thursday, August 27, 2009

What are Solar-Electric Panels?

Solar-Electric PanelsSolar-Electric Panel
AKA: solar-electric modules, photovoltaic (PV) panels

PV panels are a solar-electric system’s defining component, where sunlight is used to make direct current (DC) electricity. Behind a PV panel’s shimmering facade, wafers of semiconductor material work their magic, using light (photons) to generate electricity—what’s known as the photovoltaic effect. Other components in your system enable the electricity from your solar-electric panels to safely power your electric loads likelights, computers, and refrigerators.

PV panels are assigned a rating in watts based on the maximum power they can produce under ideal sun and temperature conditions. You can use the rated output to help determine how many panels you’ll need to meet your electrical needs. Multiple modules combined together are called an array.

Although rigid panels are the most common form of solar electricity collector, PV technology also has been integrated into roofing shingles and tiles, and even peeland-stick laminates (for metal standing-seam roofs).

PV modules are very durable and long lasting—most carry 25-year warranties. They can withstand severe weather, including extreme heat, cold, and hail stones.

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