Understanding how solar power works

Solar power san luis obispoWhat is solar?

Everybody knows that solar panels take light and convert it into useable energy, but how exactly, does a solar panel work? San Luis Obispo solar power experts Electricraft share below the types of solar power and how they are used:

Two main types of solar power

There are two main types of solar energy. The first type of solar power is photovoltaic, or PV, and the second type it called concentrated solar power, or CSP.

• Photovoltaic directly converts solar energy into electricity using a cell that is made of a semiconductor material. Most household solar panels are made up of PV cells. The cells convert sunlight into direct current electricity, or DC electricity, and then the electricity is transferred into alternating current electricity, or AC electricity, with the use of an inverter.

• Concentrated solar panels concentrate energy from the rays of the sun and heat up receivers to high temperatures. First, the heat is transformed using turbines into mechanical energy, and then into electricity through a multi-step process.

Typically, photovoltaic power is used in small and medium-sized applications, including everything from calculators to homes. They are relatively inexpensive to install, and thanks to government installation tax credits, there is no better time than now to install them.

Solar power is the fastest-growing renewable energy source

According to the International Energy Agency, over the period between 2000 and 2011, PV solar energy was the fastest-growing renewable energy source worldwide.

Concentrated solar panels are used in large-scale applications, such as the Mojave Solar Project, or the Genesis Solar Energy Project, both in the Mojave Desert. Nearby Topaz Solar Farm on the Carrizo Plains and Desert Sunlight Solar Farm in Riverside County are the world’s largest solar power stations.

CSP systems generate power through concentrating light, often using massive mirrors or lenses, to concentrate sun rays into a small area, creating massive amounts of heat. The structure of the cells of CSP systems is different than the structure of the Photovoltaic cells.

Solar energy has improved in its efficiency drastically since it’s introduction in the early 1980’s.

Electricraft installs photovoltaic solar panels in both residential and commercial applications.

Call the San Luis Obispo solar power experts at Electricraft today! (805) 544-8224