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Advantages of Solar Panels

A System Solar Panel is a device that is used to absorb energy from the sun in order to generate heat or in many cases electricity. It is also referred to as a photovoltaic cell since it is made of many cells that are used to convert the light from the sun into electricity. The only raw material for these solar panels is the sun. it is made in such a way that the cells face the sun in order to enable maximum absorption of the sun rays. The greater the energy from the sun is, the more the electricity that is generated. Solar panels are used in many homesteads in the world due to their many pros that are far more than cons. Some of these pros are discussed below.

One very important advantage of using solar panels is that they do not emit any gases that are common in green houses. The panels do not emit any smoke, chemical or heavy metals that can be risk factors to human health. Solar panels are therefore environmental friendly when compared to burning of fossil fuels to generate energy. This is very important since carbon emissions are dangerous and avoiding their emission helps in safeguarding our present and future environment. Being environment friendly is important since the government is constantly coming up with ways to control global warming and the use of solar panels is a great way to start. The solar panels therefore maintain a clean setting and they leave the air fresh. More importantly they help in prevention of many cancer incidences. This is because some products from some sources of energy like nuclear energy have been said to cause cancer due to initiation of mutations in cells.

Secondly, use of solar panels ensures ongoing free energy for those who use it. This is mainly because the only cost incurred is that of installation. Once the installation has been done the energy is free since the panel does not require regular maintenance or fuel to run it. It also requires no raw materials for its operation. It works as long as there are sun rays which is an everyday thing in most parts of the world. In a world where equal distribution of resources is continuously being sought, this is very important since each and everyone has equal rights when it comes to use of solar energy. This is because the energy from the sun falls on all. This is a good way to maintain equality as compared with energy from fossil fuel which low income homesteads do not afford in many cases.

There is also the advantage in that, the use of solar panels enable the decentralization of power. This is very important since it is very cheap. This is mainly because when power is not decentralized, it has to be shared by all and is as a result transported to many areas. With this happening, there are very many costs that are incurred. These include; the wear and tear of vehicles, the air pollution among others. These costs are all incorporated in the electricity bills of individuals as the government does not cover the expenses. It is therefore more advantageous to use solar panels as a saving plan and to create a sense of fairness since those in power tend to take advantage and use their positions to embezzle funds. This is not fair on the citizens’ part. This is because most of them struggle to make ends meet.

A System Solar Panel can be operated off grid. This is a great advantage for those who live in very isolated areas or in rural regions. Off grid means that the house is not connected to the state’s electricity grid. This has the advantage of low cost since installation may be very expensive for those living in isolated areas. These individuals have their power lines disconnected in many instances due to the fact that it is sometimes less affordable for many. Solar panels offer a solution for this since they do not require as much to be installed. However, those living in towns can also use the off-grid technique. An added advantage in this is that there are no rules governing whether or not one wants to operate off- grid or on-grid when it comes to use of solar panels. This however is an issue when using fossil fuel generated electricity.

Solar panels generate job opportunities. This is of great importance since there is a very high rate of unemployment in the world today. These jobs are come about in the form of, manufacturing of the solar panels, research about further improvements, maintenance, development and cultural integration. With the continued presence of the sun, these jobs are guaranteed since there is ongoing improvements and modification of this device. Jobs like maintenance and installation do not require a long-term training and are therefore more advantageous for those who do not have many skills and are unemployed.

Use of solar energy is safe from price manipulations and politics. The fact that there are no raw materials that are solely controlled by monopolies ensures that there is no manipulation of prices as is the case with fossil fuels. With fossil fuels, the prices can rise as high as the monopolizing powers controlling them want. There is also less competitiveness with use of solar panels since there is no fight over such things as oil fields and other raw materials. Although the government has started addressing the issue of solar panels, there is little influence they can have in price manipulation. This is because no one controls the main raw material.

There is also less environmental destruction with the use of a System Solar Panel. This is because there are no cases of mining or extraction of raw materials that eventually lead to destruction of forests and water catchment areas. With the use of solar panels, there is less of this and therefore there are steady rainfalls that greatly boost production and consequently the national income of each and every country. Many countries face problems of famine due to destruction of forests to get fuel. This can be prevented by using solar panels.

There is an advantage of reliability in using solar panels. This is because there is ability to predict the amount of sun to expect each and every day. Therefore one is has guarantee of energy. The devices are also made in such a way that they can absorb sun rays even when there a few clouds and the sun rays are not very strong. The solar energy is also renewable. It can therefore be used on and on without getting depleted. Although solar energy cannot be used at night, it operates full force during the day which is of great importance. The energy can also be stored in form of batteries for use at night.

Everyone loves some peace and quiet. This is something you get when you use solar panels. This is because they are very silent. There is no noise that gives away the fact that the System Solar Panel is there apart from the fact that you can see it. This is a good thing since it makes the environment peaceful compared to wind and water generated power supplies which have moveable parts that are quite loud and destruct the peace. Solar panels are therefore good for use for people living in estates where hoses are close to each other. This is because with silence, peace is maintained between the neighbors.

When installing solar panels, there is no large scale installation required. They therefore require very little space to install. This is very important when it comes to fast growing regions and towns. The installation will mainly involve a single cell to continually generate energy. Hence a homestead requires a single cell. There is therefore no congestion and a continued supply to the high demand of energy. This maintains a good image in a community since crowding may make the place less attractive which may prevent people from moving to the area since everyone wants to live somewhere they consider beautiful, for this reason, use of solar panels does not interfere with real estate sales.

Solar panels are durable. This is because there are no moving parts in the device. This therefore reduces the chance of it being destructed. It is possible to use a System Solar Panel for a very long period of time without having to purchase another, studies estimate that it can last for over ten years. Such a device is beneficial because it reduces the stress that comes about when a machine stops running because something became lose or worn out. There is also reduced maintenance cost since it is less prone to wear. This generally makes the device very easy to handle for a person with very little skills in handling a System Solar Panel.

Many companies that invest in solar energy get the advantage of higher profits. This is because they cut back on costs incurred in electricity and the rest of the profits are in most cases used to expand the business. This is very advantageous. Statistics show that the companies that use solar panels have greater returns compared to those that use other sources of energy. This may be due to the fact that electricity can be very expensive and may make these companies not afford allot of assets. This is especially evident in small or new companies. There is also an advantage that clients get when they get services from a company that uses clean energy. This is the fact that they can get access to government incentives that are made available to these companies.

Use of solar panels enables individuals and companies to enjoy the benefits of low taxes. This is because in most parts of the world, the taxes that are charged are about thirty percent less as compared to using other sources of energy. With all the taxes that one has to pay for every item purchased, this is a great opportunity to reduce spending on taxes. Since there is no monthly bill when using a System Solar Panel, it makes it tax free. When using fossil fuel energy, this is no option since one has to pay their electricity on a monthly basis which in most cases is heavily taxed.

The size of System Solar Panel required per meter to give maximum energy small. When there is full sun, one is able to get about one thousand watts per meter. This is equivalent to about 2900-watt hours per day. However this depends on the area in which you are locates, the time of the year and the strength in which the sun rays reach the System Solar Panel. For this reason, there are times where one gets more energy compared to others. However the energy gives the desired effect even at low intensity and is therefore still very reliable.

It is highly unlikely to hear that someone got injured when using a System Solar Panel. This is because there are few cases of electric shocks that are very frequent when using other sources of electricity. It is therefore safe to use solar panels for people. This creates fewer incidences of emergencies. However, careful measures should be taken as directed by the person that does the installation since there are instances where cables are left bare and could cause shock when touched. This is rare when the wiring is done correctly. Care should also be taken since the roof could be constantly emitting electricity.

Solar panels are not prone to destruction by harsh environmental conditions. For this reason, they are not easily destructed, this is important since the device is placed outside in order to absorb sun rays. The good thing about this is that it can be used by people who live in areas where the weather is up and down in most cases.

All these are great advantages that come with using solar panels. Solar panels can be used in any setting, whether in schools, homes or companies

How to Work Out How Many Solar Panels You Need

If you are interested in the idea of using free, environmental friendly energy to power your household, and you want to have a System Solar Panel array installed, one of the most basic requirements you need to keep track of is the number of solar panels that you need.

There are many factors that would determine just how many you would need to use, and how many you will actually be able to buy. Some of these include the results of your energy consumption target calculations (how much energy your household appliances and devices need in order to function properly), the budget you have at your disposal and the type of System Solar Panel you are using.

Also, depending on whether you are considering the purchase of a high-tech solar array or you’re thinking of building your own panels yourself out of cheaper materials, the prices may vary. Therefore, the number of solar panels you can put together in an array may be different, and their quality might also have to be assessed.

Calculating Energy Consumption

If you want to determine precisely how many solar panels you need, it is essential to measure the amount of energy that a System Solar Panel can offer, and compare it with the value that you require. Considering that a normal household consumes about 8000 – 9000 kwh on a yearly basis, and the fact that a $300 System Solar Panel of good quality can only provide about 100 – 200 watts of energy, the number of panels you need to power your entire home may be quite substantial.

Of course, depending on your needs, you might not always have to use up so much energy on a regular basis. Especially if you are an environmental enthusiast, and you know how to choose appliances that provide better functionality, while consuming less energy, you might actually be able to reduce that number to half, or even less.

Also, if you want to build your own System Solar Panel, you might find that the manufacturing costs can effectively be reduced to under $200 for a standard 36 cell System Solar Panel. Depending on the quality of your homemade solar array, you only need about 30 or 40 panels to provide enough power for your entire home.

This number may still be too large, but it can be reduced if you wish to use an additional type of energy, such as wind power. This can offer you more energy on cloudy and rainy days, when solar panels don’t operate as well, and reduce the need for panels to half or even less.

Use caution, as different types of solar cells will provide a varying amount of energy. You can calculate the energy output easily, however: after you build your DIY System Solar Panel, measure the current and voltage it produces, and multiply them to obtain the watt value. As a result, a small, 6 ampere System Solar Panel that produces 12 volts, for instance, will offer about 72 watts.

Now, such a weak System Solar Panel may not provide you with too much energy, but the good news is that there are many inexpensive panels on the market that can offer two or more times as much power, and you don’t have to pay more than 300 to 400 dollars for one. A solar array made of 10 to 20 of these panels would, therefore, represent a viable option when it comes to powering a large number of low energy appliances or gadgets.

Different System Solar Panel Types

The rate and efficiency with which solar cells are able to transform solar energy into electricity also plays a part in determining how many solar panels you will need.

In the case of panels using monocrystalline solar cells, for example, the amount of sunlight needed for generating a specific amount of energy is far less than in the case of thin film or polycrystalline cells.

In 2010, a company that produces high quality monocrystalline solar panels was able to break the world record for solar energy efficiency, producing solar cells that could transform more than 24 % of the sun’s rays into usable electrical power.

Some researchers even consider that, in a few years, it may be possible to create monocrystalline solar cells that are able to go beyond the 30 % or even the 40 % mark, significantly increasing the efficiency rating of these types of solar cells, and that of solar energy in general.

A good example of the energy efficiency that these solar panels can offer would be that a System Solar Panel using a total of 36 monocrystalline cells can generally produce around 100 to 130 watts. This practically means that if you want to get 1 kw (1000 watts), you will need about 10 of these panels. Depending on the quality and brand of the panel, pricing can range between $3000 and $5000 for this plan.

In contrast with these results, technologies using polycrystalline cells are barely able to get close to the 20 % limit today, while thin film based technologies hardly provide about 15 to 17 % efficiency.

These numbers may conclude the technological superiority of monocrystalline PV cells, but they do not prove that the best decision is to buy such panels. It’s true that you will not need as many panels to reach a general output of about 1 to 3 kw in this case, but the problem is that the more monocrystalline solar panels you buy, the greater the price difference becomes.

You may also opt for less energy efficiency and a better pricing option in order to save money. In this regard, polycrystalline cells are far better, as they are not as weak as thin film-based technologies, and are somewhat less expensive than monocrystalline solar cells.

Budget Issues

Now, everyone is usually thinking about budget issues when it comes to buying or manufacturing a System Solar Panel. DIY solar panels are obviously cheaper, however, the quality differences can be great, not to mention that you will need to put a lot of work into it, if you want your new panels to perform properly.

If you decide to buy a System Solar Panel, on the other hand, you will already have all the numbers necessary regarding how many watts it produces, and how stable it is. By using some simple math, you can then calculate exactly how many of these devices you need in order to meet your energy target.

The main problem here is that there are many brands focusing on offering different types of solar panels based on a large number of different technologies. As a result, you may have a hard time choosing between them, and you will have to look around on numerous websites to find out what past buyers think about any particular product.

Most people would believe that about $3000 to $8000 would be enough for a viable System Solar Panel array; however, the numbers might double depending on your needs and the technology you want to use. Fortunately, most manufacturers are already starting to develop better technologies that allow people to buy more efficient solar arrays at a considerably lower price.

You have to take all the options into account, however, and avoid clinging to some brands simply because they have a “catchier” marketing agenda. Ultimately, the numbers will show you everything you need to know, and you can make up your own mind regarding which types of panels you should buy, and how many of them you will need.

Summary

You will often find that the company you do business with may actually provide you with a viable plan when it comes to dealing with energy consumption and System Solar Panel numbers. Based on your budget and the proficiency of the solar power array you require, they can often give you a precise estimate of how much energy you can get from your purchase.

Use caution, however, since various brands may at times come up with new technologies that are cheaper and more effective, and would make the designs of other companies seemingly obsolete. You might actually realize then that new opportunities can appear at every step of the way.

So, if you are thoroughly informed about the factors that determine the quality of the technology used for manufacturing panels, you will find that you are in a much better position to establish how many of them you need yourself, without having to worry about any unknown factors.

Installing a System Solar Panel Aboard Your Boat

Following a recent five-day trip aboard our trawler where we had to frequently start up the genset to provide electricity to the 115 volt AC freezer to maintain temperatures, I began to mull over options. We put in an excess of ninety hours on the vessel generator in only five days; time for another oil change! I put in an inverter soon thereafter and that improved the run time for the generator drastically, but there was still work to be completed. I nonetheless needed to keep the batteries fully charged to operate the inverter. Then it occurred to me, why not explore solar panels for use aboard our yacht. Solar panels have been successfully utilized since the mid 1950s, originally utilized in manned space exploration. They have been dropping in cost since roughly 2004 when their popularity really went up. And now with the Green pressure going on, solar panels are as accepted as ever. So I commenced to delve into them and find out how to purchase and mount one; I was in for a big surprise. You can come across many retail vendors over the internet that will sell you a System Solar Panel but nowhere could I locate a detailed description of how to determine what to buy and how to install it; much less on board a yacht. So this piece was written as I made my way through the progression; therefore is a truly a learn-as-you-go article.

What Exactly is a System Solar Panel and How Do They Work?

Solar panels are basically any panel that makes use of the sun’s thermal energy to create electricity. A System Solar Panel can be described as a photovoltaic panel, the name used in the business, for panels intended to create electrical energy from the emission of the sun. Despite the group of System Solar Panel being discussed, nearly all solar panels are flat. This is because the surface of the panel needs to be at a 90 degree incline from the sun’s rays for the best angle to soak up the sun’s rays. Solar panels are able to absorb energy from the sun through a collection of solar cells on their surface. Very similar to how a plant is able to take in energy from the sun for photosynthesis, solar cells function in a comparable way. As the sun’s rays hit the solar cells on a photovoltaic panel, the energy is transferred to a silicon semiconductor. The power is then changed into (dc) direct current electrical energy and then passed through connecting wires to ultimately enter a storage battery.

Kinds of Solar Panels

Types of panels most normally used in yachting uses have either multicrystalline or amorphous thin-film cells. Multicrystalline panels are the oldest technology obtainable and in addition the strongest. When sized correctly and paired with suitable batteries, these are the panels to make use of for operating large loads such as refrigeration.

Amorphous thin film solar panels are only about 50% as effective as multicrystalline panels, but can be bought in flexible varieties so they can roll or fold, or change to the shape of a boat cabin top or bimini. They don’t often have adequate yield for considerable energy replenishment, but can be used to lightly charge a battery bank.

How Much Power Can Solar Cells Make?

Normally, we measure solar panels by wattage and that is how we buy them. You can get solar panels for boats as small as 10 watts to as great as 200 watts or even larger. But it is simpler to understand when we change watts to amperage. We calculate these values by multiplying the number of hours the panel is in full sun (usually defined as 5 a day in Florida) by the panel’s wattage. For a 195 watt System Solar Panel the amount produced would be 195 x 5 hrs = 975 watts/day. We can then figure, 975 watts/12 volts = 81.25 amps per day.

Power Consumption

Before considering which size panel to purchase for your boat, you will need to complete an energy budget to ascertain what sources of power consumption you have aboard while at anchor. I use the at anchor scenario as this is the place you will use the most energy; under power and your trawler can supply its needs without any issues.

Example, if you have 3 inside lights that pull 2 amps each and you keep them on for 4 hours per night, your consumption would be 3 x 2 x 4 = 24 AH/Day. We are not concerned by running lights and electronics as they will not likely be running while at anchor.

DC Loads – calculate how many amps hours are used by each appliance

House Lighting
Anchor lights
Refrigeration
Freezer
Electric Toilet
Fresh Water Pump
Sanitation System
Stereo
Other

Inverter Loads

Inverter loads also make use of DC power but they are powering AC appliances and equipment. If you want to change watts to amps use (12watts/12 volts = 1amp).

Calculate the amp hours used by each appliance

Computer
Microwave
Refrigeration
Freezer
Heater
Hair Dryer
Television
Other

Add up your overall daily energy use AH/per day

Solar Energy Creation

Different sources of power similar to solar panels can replace the amp/hrs pulled from the batteries. But similar to the power budget that determined your usage you will also need to compute your re-supply of amp hours. Keep in mind the formula – (12 watts/12 volts = 1 amp). But be mindful, the formula is only a gauge; complete accuracy can only be where the panel production is constant and a System Solar Panel might at times function ineffectually due to cloudy skies. Compare the day by day power use in AH/Day to the solar power creation. Your solar energy production must be larger than the use. If it is not, pick a bigger wattage panel and recalculate. Always purchase more System Solar Panel output than you think you will need; some professionals recommend at least 30% in excess.

Case in point – 100 watt System Solar Panel/ 12 volts = 8.3 amp x 5 hours = 41.66 AH/Day production

Installing Your System Solar Panel

Now that you have got your System Solar Panel, where do you put it on board your yacht? As we mentioned before, installing the panel ninety degrees to the sun is best. You will get the best power production this way. But on yachts, finding a fitting spot is tricky at best. A number of boaters put them on brackets placed on the rails, others position them on top of the bimini, and I have seen them positioned on the trawler dingy stanchions. But wherever you decide to mount them, bear in mind that to get the most out of them they ought to be in the open, away from any shading from booms, vessel radar arches, or cabin structures. Bear in mind that while at anchor, the boat will turn to the sun twice daily because of the tides. I opted to mount our panel on the top of the boat back deck hardtop in a horizontal position. Here it will get the greatest view of the sun and be clear from the radar arch shade as the boat swings at anchor. The slope toward the sun is not precisely at ninety degrees but it will have to do. I selected a 195 watt panel so I get almost a 50% reserve ability in my panel to compensate for the small inefficiency of the sun’s angle. We got the panel from Sun Electronics in Miami, sunelec.com as they had the best prices I could find anywhere on the web. But bear in mind, panels must be shipped using freight as they are heavily packed to reduce the chance of damage so be sure to calculate those expenses in your acquisition.

What is the best way to attach the panel to your vessel?

There are a variety of manufacturers of System Solar Panel mounting rails and supports but almost all of them are made for roof or ground mounting. West Marine does carry a product for mounting small panels to the rails. A good number of boaters make their own mounts. I found a mount developed by Sunsei known as a Sunsei Glue Mounting Kit that is attached to the vessel and panel using 3M 5200 Marine Adhesive. The mount allows the panel to be installed with about 2 inches of space beneath the panel for aeration. I did not need to drill any holes in the hardtop either. You can locate these mounts at amazon.com.

Wiring Your Panel

Marine electrical wiring is incredibly specialized and hazardous; if you are not comfortable in performing this part of the task, please check with an experienced marine electrician. Your panel will be prewired for attaching to your vessel but you will need to provide the connecting cables that will also be sold by your panel provider; they are known as MC4 cables. The cables will be made in different lengths appropriate for your needs with a male and female connector affixed; you cut one connector off.

In addition, you will also require a controller. The controller regulates the power stream from the panel to your batteries keeping your batteries charged yet stopping over charging. A number of controllers are easy but others have LED displays indicating the amount of charge etc. The more fancy features the more costly it will be. Your panel dealer will be able to suggest a controller that will satisfy your needs. I chose a controller developed by Specialty Concepts. It is straightforward but does the job. And the people at the company are a big help in aiding you to select the best model for your panel. When you get in touch with them, they will want to understand which size panel (wattage) you own and what the voltage is. Check them out at specialtyconcepts.com. I also got my controller from the individuals at Sun Electronics in Miami.

The individuals at Specialty Concepts have also calculated how heat will have an effect on current flow and suggest that their controllers not be placed in engine rooms as the heat produced will diminish the controller effectiveness by roughly 25%. I put mine in the electrical panel under the lower helm. And finally, you will require the correctly sized cables to go from the controller to your batteries and a fuse to connect the controller to the battery bank. In deciding on the correct fuse, you need to locate the short circuit current for your panel and rate the breaker at 125% of that number. This will give you the amperage of the breaker you will need. Your controller operating manual will have information on these too.

Owning a System Solar Panel to preserve your batteries would seem like a great plan but you’ll want to have a way to keep an eye on your batteries. I opted to also install a Trimetric 2025RV Battery Monitor; bogartengineering.com. This smart device is wired into your battery bank to provide a genuine measurement of voltage going in to the bank, amps being used by your yacht, the percent full charge on the bank, and the amp hours utilized from the last charge.

Panel Functionality

So we have now installed a 195 watt System Solar Panel in addition to an 1800 watt inverter and a battery bank with 443 amp hours. We ran our tests this week on the hook with clear skies. I concluded that our energy consumption is 112.5 amp hours per day. The freezer is the major draw using 60 of the amp hours followed by the refrigerator. Did you know that a standard anchor light pulls 18 amp hours each night? I think I’ll check out LED bulbs now.

The battery monitor indicated that our actual draw from the battery bank was merely 65 amp hours which indicates we received the remaining from the sunlight, an entire 42% was from the sun. Now we will turn on the genset for around an hour to bring the battery bank up to complete charge.