The majority of solar panels used in Ontario are Photovoltaic (PV) Solar Panels — photo meaning light, and voltaic having to do with electricity. A PV solar panel converts light into electrical energy.
This will be a simple explanation of how solar cells work. First imagine that you have two metal plates, one above the other. The electrons from the top plate want to get to the bottom plate but they can't, they don't have the energy to move. When the top plate gets a little extra energy then the electrons can move. They move from the top plate to the bottom plate creating a current.
With each day the sun provides more energy than we could globally use in a year. It is an immense source of energy. We slowly are learning to harness it's great power. For decades we have been developing solar technology.
In 2015 a MIT Energy Initiative has led to a 332-page report entitled The Future of Solar Energy. The findings are quite interesting. They assert that by 2050 today’s solar panels are all that is needed to supply the world with many terawatts of clean solar power (a terawatt is equivalent to 1,000,000 megawatts). They suggest that we currently have all the tools needed to supply the world with all the energy it requires, that PV solar panels will remain viable in the future and will just become more and more efficient.
The results from the use of fossil fuels has been very obvious over the years. Fossil Fuels causes pollution of air leading to acid rain, damaged forest areas, and have affected agricultural production. Nuclear power has caused
To understand the PV Solar Panel, we will have to understand the photoelectric effect. In basic terms the photoelectric effect is caused when a certain material creates an electrical current when exposed to sunlight. This effect was first observed by Heinrich Hertz (1857–1894) in 1887. For a more in depth description of photoelectric effect you can read about it here.
With today's technology we combine these energy creating materials into what is called a solar cell. We combine many solar cells into a solar panel. The first significant use of PV solar panels was on a space craft in the 1960s. Since then, the technology has greatly improved and solar panels have become smaller, cheaper, and more efficient. Today the affordability of solar panels is quickly allowing them to become a main stream source of energy.
In Ontario there are two main sizes of solar panels that are used. A 60 cell (contains 60 solar cells) solar panel is roughly 1 meter by 1.65 meters, and a 72 cell solar panel (contains 72 solar cells) is roughly 1 meter by 1.98 meters. Each solar panel will have a specific datasheet outlining it's characteristics. There are also two main types of Solar panels, monocrystalline, and polycrystalline. When we combine many solar panels together we have a solar array, there can be many factors that go into the development of a solar array.
How Solar Cells Work
So lets apply this to a solar cell. The top plate on a solar cell is treated with a chemical so that the atoms have extra electrons. Similarly the bottom plate is treated too, except instead of each atom having an extra electron each atom is missing an electron. When a solar cell is exposed to sunlight then the energy from the sunlight gives the top plate enough energy for the extra electrons to move to the bottom plate. As the electrons start moving then we have a flowing current.
A very import point here is that the electricity from a PV Solar Panel is direct current. The electricity that is used in our houses is alternating current. So the current from the solar panels has to be changed or 'inverted', this is done by a piece of equipment called an inverter.
The History Of Solar Panels
It wouldn't be until the 1950's when the first solar cell would be created. This solar cell was much more efficient that the selenium but still not very efficient compared to today's solar cell. The solar cell from the 1950's could produce enough energy to run small electrical devices. In the 1950's we also saw the sale of solar cells.
This was the beginning of the solar revolution, from the 1970's to the 1990's solar cells start getting used all over the world. People are finding ways to save on energy. From the 1990's until now we have seen solar panels become an important, even necessary source of our energy. The price of solar has dropped from hundreds of dollars per watt to less than a dollar per watt. Solar energy has become affordable for most people.
The price is far beyond the reach of the average person. By the late 1960's we saw the use of solar cells to power satellites in outer space. The next big discovery comes in the 1970's when the price per watt of solar drops from over $100 to around $20.
PV Solar Panels Today
environmental catastrophes and has polluted water. The use of solar panels and other renewable energies eliminates these unsafe and unclean consequences.
One of the great advantages of solar power is the decentralinzing that can be done. Small residential systems, and medium sized commercial systems can be designed and commisioned .
As we have seen the cost of PV Solar Panels has come down drastically and has become an affordable alternative to our energy crisis. PV solar is a safe alternative for the generation of clean energy, a great alternative from the consequences of using fossil fuels.
PV Solar Panels In Ontario
Since the commencement of the microFIT program in 2009 there has been an unprecedented acceptance of PV Solar Panels in Ontario. Tens of thousands of residential projects have been installed while many gigawatts of commercial projects have been completed. Everywhere you go you can see the results of the acceptance of solar in Ontario. You will see solar panels on your neighbors house and on many commercial buildings in your area. The solar industry is and will continue to be strong form many years to come. Please join us in our commitment to produce clean energy through solar panels. Get your free estimate now.
Understanding Different Types Of PV Solar Panels: Monocrystalline vs. Polycrystalline
As solar Panels become more and more common. As the PV Solar Panels march across the globe. From the Qinghai Golmud Solar Park in China (550 MW) to the Solar Star Project in California (579 MW) and to the largest PV solar farm located in India (648 MW) - the demand for clean energy is becoming apparent to all.
The growing demand for the clean energy supplied by PV solar technology is creating a competitive market with the different types of PV Solar Panels. The original solar PV technology was the monocrystalline panel is being challenged by new emerging technology based on efficiency, versatility, and of course price. New options are emerging for commercial and residential clients PV Solar modules are made from polycrystalline silicon as well as new advances with thin-film solar PV technology.
Continuing to lead the way in efficiency is the monocrystalline solar PV module. The polycrystalline solar PV module however leads the way in best value. The poly solar panel is demonstrating efficiency levels close to the mono panels but at a more affordable cost, and in some cases at half the cost!
The reason for the efficiency differences between these two PV Solar panels is the manufacturing process. Due to these
The technology we have not discussed yet is the thin-film PV module. This module type has certain disadvantages which don't allow it to compete with the monocrystalline, and polycrystalline solar PV modules. The thin-film module is generally used when certain projects require a lighter and much less efficient solar panel.
According to the U.S Department of Energy, in 2013 the less efficient but cost friendly polycrystalline PV module lead the market share with 55% of PV technology shipments. It's more efficient but costlier cousin the monocrystalline PV module only garnered 36% of the market share. Demonstrating that the slight efficiency advantage of the monocrystalline panel was not enough to sway customers from the more affordable polycrystalline panel
differences the monocrystalline PV solar module is more efficient but the efficiency has come at a higher manufacturing cost. While the polycrystalline PV solar module is slightly less efficient, it has a better price point because the manufacturing process uses less energy and materials. This cost advantage has given the polycrystalline solar module a higher market share.
As was mentioned earlier, back in the 1800 was the start of the photoelectric effect. In 1876 it was proven that electricity could be created by using sunlight as the source. The experiment was done using selenium to produce an electrical current, the selenium was very inefficient but still proved that the suns power could be harnessed.