Solar panels capture the sun’s rays and convert them into electricity using solar cells concentrated inside the panels. When sunlight hits the surface of the solar cells, the semi-conductor material inside the solar cells absorbs a percentage of the sunlight. The sunlight is then converted into electricity by components present in the solar cells known as P-N junctions. This process is called ‘photovoltaic effect’.
A solar panel is made by combining multiple solar cells. When many solar panels are arranged together, they then form what is called a solar array.
Solar energy systems afford consumers a choice in where to locate them.
On the ground
Land-based solar farms require a lot of space in order to generate adequate power. Land-based solar farms are a feasible option only if there exists unused or barren land which cannot be used for any other purpose. Setting up a land-based solar farm is also dependent on the amount of sunlight the particular locations receives, in order to make the solar plant feasible.
Floating on Lakes
While deploying solar panels on the surfaces of bodies of water, such as lakes, can be challenging, there are still benefits to be gained from doing so. Setting up solar panels on the surface of a body of water reduces its rate of evaporation, which is a big help in arid areas. Being deployed on a surface of water also helps keep the solar panels cool, which will increase the panels’ production, since their efficiency decreases with rises in temperature.
Rooftop (Residential or Commercial)
Rooftop solar farms are ubiquitous nowadays because of improvements in mounting technology and decreases in the costs of producing solar panels.
Rooftop solar farms are easier to install and maintain because owners do not have to make too big a financial outlay at the outset to set them up and rooftops are more accessible than say solar farms located in remote areas, for example.
A PV solar system consists of the following components: