Established in 1954, the nonprofit American Solar Energy Society (ASES) is the nation's leading association of solar professionals & advocates.
The Solar Energy Industries Association, established in 1974, is a national non-profit trade association of the solar-energy industry in the United States.
Raising industry standards and promoting consumer confidence, NABCEP is known as the "gold standard" for PV and Solar Heating Installation and PV Technical Sales Certifications.
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is transforming the way we design, build, maintain and operate our buildings, homes and communities.
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IREC Certificate Program Accreditation is the mark of distinction.
Experts agree that solar energy is the future of electrical power. It is a safe, clean,
reliable source of energy that is completely renewable. How are these panels made, how
they work, and why exactly should you consider using them?
How They Are Made
The construction of solar panels is a very delicate and sophisticated process. It involves the creation of crystals from rock and then the formation of very thin panels from that crystalline structure.
In most cases, the first steps involve charging and then melting a large deposit of polysilicon. Polysilicon is a unique type of Quartzite that has semiconductor properties. These semiconductor properties are what make it such a valuable ingredient in the manufacturing of solar panels.
Large amounts of polysilicon are stacked together and given a positive electrical charge. After being charged, the polysilicon is locked inside a furnace and heated to extreme temperatures of around 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit.
These high temperatures melt the rock down into a liquid-like substance. A silicon crystal is lowered via a cable into the melted mixture. The silicon crystal is then rotated in one direction while the mixture turns in the opposite direction.
The melted polysilicon slowly freezes into place on the silicon crystal and it matches the exact structure of the crystal. The end result is a massive silicon crystal that can then be shaped and cut into thin wafers.
The thin wafers are then treated with various chemicals and mechanical processes that allow them to properly conduct electricity from the sun. For example, phosphorous might be added to the topmost layer of silicon to provide a negative charge. Now that some panels have a positive or negative charge an electrical field can be established.
Finally, the wafers are encased in a glass frame and connected to a junction box. The end result is a fully functioning solar panel. This process has become significantly easier and more affordable over the years. That translates into better pricing for customers.
How Solar Panels Work
Now that you know how solar panels are manufactured it is time to look at how they work. How do these strange panels convert the sun's ray into usable electricity?
In simple terms, solar panels are designed so that photons from the sun knock free electrons attached to atoms. Some of the freed electrons will move to the top of the cell. They then flow into metal conductor plates placed on either side of the panel. Electrons then flow back into the cell to complete the closed loop.
Some extra steps may be required depending on what is being powered by the solar panels. If they are used to power homes or business that require alternating current (AC), then an inverter must be used. An inverter is an electrical device that converts direct current(DC) to AC. Most appliances utilize AC. However, devices that are battery operated can be powered by DC.
Rather than passing through an inverter, the DC may also be used to charge a battery. This is most common when a house is completely “off the grid” and relies on solar power through the day and night. The panels charge the battery so that the home can be powered even when the sun is not out. The DC leaving the battery must still pass through an inverter before being used in the home.
The Many Benefits Of Solar Panels
Solar energy is the most efficient and sustainable source of renewable energy there is. Moving from a reliance on fossil fuels to a reliance on natural energy from the sun has numerous benefits.
That is only a few them. Let's take a closer look at these benefits.
The cost of solar energy is one of the biggest reasons why people either want or don't want to use the panels. On one hand, solar panels cost a bit to install. They have become significantly cheaper over the years, but it still requires that initial investment that some people just can't justify. On the other hand, it means never paying for electricity again (if the house is completely dependent on solar power) or at least lowering the electric bill dramatically.
Solar power should be looked at as an investment. Within a year's time, a set of solar panels can easily pay for itself. More money can be saved if you are able to install the panels yourself. The cost of installation is often as much as the panels themselves.
The environmental impact of using solar panels is another extremely important factor. However, unlike the price, there is no counter-reasoning for this point. Solar panels are better for the environment no matter how you look at it. It isn't depleting the limiting resources of the Earth and the production of electricity from solar panels does not create any harmful pollutants.
Traditional electricity cannot make the same claims. Power plants are responsible for a large majority of the pollution that is damaging the planet. The are also steadily depleting the natural resources available. There is only a finite amount of fuel available on the planet. A point in time will come when a new source of energy must be used. Solar power is still the best solution.
The above point also falls under sustainability. Fossil fuels and other limited sources of energy are not sustainable in the long-term. The sun; however, will be here for as long as humans are here.
As for efficiency, solar panels have come a very long way in this regard, especially in the last decade. Solar panels were not always considered highly-efficient and it would take a large area of panels to generate sufficient electricity to power homes.
Efficiency has increased and thus the number and size of required panels has decreased. This also results in a decrease in the cost of purchasing and installing the panels.
Don't wait to be the last person taking advantage of solar power in the United States . Even if you don't go completely off the grid, installing a few solar panels around the home can save you money and lessen your impact on the environment.
The Solar Panels Network was founded in the United Kingdom and had the opportunity to join a leading company in the US who had the same focus on customer service and business ethics as our UK based website.
The Solar Panels Network was established to save you time and money. Our installers have been researched and fully vetted to ensure they deliver the highest of standards. We'll find you a reputable and experienced solar installer in the United States and put you in touch with company representatives who can evaluate your needs and provide proposals for you to review.
Your satisfaction is our number one priority. We have many happy residential and commercial customers across the United States.