The Technology Behind Solar Power

Over the past decades, researchers and scientists around the world have understood the impact an ever-growing population would have on our resources. Even things like water, which was once considered endless, has become a viable concern as pollution increases and buildings and homes erode away at natural habitats.

It was only a matter of time before those same scientists and researchers put their effort into finding answers to the growing energy and environmental crises. Through smart solutions like solar power, hydroelectricity, and wind power, the world quickly caught on to the fact that renewable resources could make a huge positive impact on the environment and its resources – and maybe even save those who used these types of power some money in the process.

Climate change has become a household phrase, with those who are concerned about it attempting to work towards reducing their carbon footprint. People who understand the seriousness of climate change and its environmental impact know that it will have a detrimental effect on future generations, but they aren’t sure just how yet…but they want to take action.

Efforts Across the World to Help the Environment

It starts with one person; then it can become a wave of change. Something as simple as getting the knowledge out that plastic is harming our environment on massive levels has led to an anti-plastic revolution.

Millions of people world-wide have turned to reusable bags to carry their groceries, states like California have taken to charging customers for plastic grocery bags, and in some countries (and many states in America) certain cities have initiated plastic straw bans.

While plastic is a huge factor in the decline of our environment, so is the increased use of non-renewable resources like fossil fuels for energy. These finite resources have to be burned in order to prepare them for use and doing that releases carbon into the air that has multiple negative effects.

Not only is there an incredible health concern with the continued use of these fossil fuels on a massive global level, but the supplies of them are being depleted at a rate that can’t be renewed within the next few generations.

Enter the technology of solar power and the energy industry revolution. The idea of solar power began in the 1800s. Since its actual physical initiation decades ago, solar technology has improved to the point where it is now considered to be an affordable and reasonable alternative to fossil fuel electricity.

Solar panels have adapted and changed from huge, bulky, expensive, and inefficient burgeoning efforts to conserve fossil fuels into seamless, attractive, and comparable systems that have more pros than cons to them.

The market itself has moved from the low millions of kWh used annually to the high billions currently. Phoenix, Arizona has become a major source of solar power use, as have other cities across the United States. And the market is only getting bigger.

So How Do Solar Panels Work?

Solar panels themselves are created from material that is light-weight so the panels can be used in integration with current shingles and roofing materials. They are flexible, so they can also be shaped to fit just about any surface. Because of this innovation in the way solar panels are made, more people have been able to use them in their homes and businesses.

These amazing solar panels work off of a basic idea that transforms into a genius level of technology. They are a combination of photovoltaic, or PV, cells. Photovoltaic literally means “to convert sunlight into electricity. These cells sit on your roof and collect sunlight. That sunlight is then converted into electricity through the strategic use of metal conductive plates on the side of the PV cells that transfer the electricity into wires.

Scientifically speaking, solar panels allow photons, which are particles of light, to shift electrons away from their connection with atoms. This movement creates a flow of electricity that the panels use as energy to power your home.

Although these solar cells are already amazing themselves, researchers are continuing to improve on the technology. They have actually been able to create cells that are 1/100th of the width of a human hair, and the implications of this technology are limitless.

How Does Solar Power Work in Our Benefit?

There are many forms of renewable energy that have been used for centuries and are increasing in popularity – hydroelectricity, wind power, biomass, solar power, and geothermal energy are the big ones.  However, solar power has gained so much attention because of the ability to harness the energy in small enough levels to make it conducive for the average person to use in their homes.

It is also consistently available no matter where you are, in Phoenix and all over the world, whereas the other types of energy are not quite as easily accessible.

Solar power has major benefits that have caught the attention of governments throughout the world. With so many people becoming climate conscious, it is a great investment for countries to add more solar power to their cities. The more solar power used, the less damage to the environment, and the happier those citizens become.

That same benefit has made millions of people turn to solar panels to at least partially power their homes, but the additional reward of their reduced utility bill has turned even more consumers of electricity to solar power.

In addition to the monthly financial boosts, the long-term maintenance is low, with cleanings only required a few times per year.

Then there are the incentives – in the United States alone, the federal government offers a tax credit of 30% to solar panel users. This is in addition to the tax credit state governments provide, and the private rebates that many companies give to their buyers.

Technological Drawbacks Do Happen, Of Course

As with every form of technology, there are some cons to solar power. For instance, solar panels need a good amount of exposure to sunlight in order to work well, so some cooler areas may not have the level of efficiency that other areas, like Phoenix, may have.

That does not mean that cloudy or rainy areas can’t use solar panels. They still work well at collecting those little peeks of sunlight that shine through on those dreary days, and every little bit of solar power is less electricity that the utility company has to provide. This weaning of reliance on the fossil-fueled power means your carbon footprint is diminishing and your monthly power bill is decreasing, too.

A common concern that is considered a disadvantage is that solar panels are expensive to install. However, continually new and improving technology has made this concern void.

Because the solar cells are so much cheaper to manufacture, that reduced overhead has been passed down to consumers. Solar panel systems are now affordably priced, comparable to other roof installations, and heavily discounted through rebates, incentives, and tax credits.

The only real drawback, though, is that not every roof is compatible with solar panels. Certain factors are taken into account when an expert installer, like those of us at Phoenix Solar Pro, evaluates your roof before designing your perfect solar system.

The age of your roof, the condition it is in, and its ability to withstand the additional weight of solar panels may keep you from being able to install the system that you need to go to the level of solar powered electricity you have set as your goal.

Talk to your solar panel installer and let them know your intentions. Some people are satisfied with any solar power they can get in their budget, while others want to go 100% solar. Your solar installer will work with you to create a system that meets your needs within your budget.

The Future’s So Bright – and It’s Only Getting Better

While PV cells are nothing to sneeze at, solar technology continues to improve regularly. In fact, there are now perovskite solar cells, or PSCs. Solar cells are a silicon-based technology, but the newer solar panels use industrial printing technology using a compound based from perovskite. They are customizable due to their flexibility and thinness, so they can be used on curved surfaces as well as flat ones, which had been an obstacle in the past.

These perovskite cells are even less expensive to manufacture than today’s solar panels, saving on resources and making solar power more affordable to everyday consumers. However, they are not globally accessible yet.

Invest in Your Future – Go Solar

The phrase “Keeping up with the Jones’s” is taking on new meaning as the world shies further and further away from anything that could harm the environment. Now, the Jones’s have gone solar and are wondering why you haven’t yet.

The benefits of solar power are innumerable and compound over time. You will reduce your carbon footprint and put money in your pocket. When you are ready to see how solar panels will work for you, call us at Phoenix Solar Pro and see how we can help your future get brighter.

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