At the turn of the century, humanity began to realize and to recognize the growing need for alternative energy systems. While these ideas have been around since the early 90s, people did not pay much attention. Only when the prices of crude oil soared did people begin to explore the many possibilities that these alternative sources have to offer. To date, one of the most famous forms of alternative energy sources are solar photovoltaic energy systems. Many countries around the globe, especially the smaller ones, have shifted their demands from non-renewable sources to systems that make use of the sun’s energy.
Solar Photovoltaic Energy Systems is the collective term for a wide range of systems that make use of the sun’s energy in producing electricity. However, the main method by which these systems function is through solar panels. Basically, these solar panels gather the sunlight and turn it into electricity that the homes and even small industries can directly utilize. These solar panels contain a photovoltaic material that is made mainly of monocrystalline silicon, polycrystalline silicon, amorphous silicon, cadmium telluride, and copper indium gallium selenide/sulphide.
Contrary to what most people think, solar photovoltaic energy systems are very different from the old methods of utilizing solar power. Before, it is the heat of the sun that is used to heat water from with the steam will be utilized. Photovoltaic systems directly convert the light, specifically the photons, coming from the sun. The solar panels absorb these photons resulting to the excitement or agitation of the materials in the cell. This agitation will create a current that is basically electricity itself. This concept was first discovered and elaborated by Alexandre-Edmond Becquerel in 1839.
There are three types of solar photovoltaic energy systems that are being used today, depending on their independence from the main electrical system grid.The first one is the grid inter-tied system. As its name implies, these systems function alongside the conventional electrical supply. Its main aim is to reduce the consumption of the non-renewable supply. The next one is the grid inter-tied system with battery. The battery will serve as a back-up system that stores excess solar energy so that it may be used for future use, especially when the light is low. The third and most “green” option is the off-grid photovoltaic system. This system is the most autonomous of the three since it is not connected to the conventional grid. Since these systems work most efficiently in the summer, most owners are advised to keep a generator handy for cloudy days and sudden demands.
When choosing among solar photovoltaic energy systems, there are numerous things to consider. The first one, and usually the most important, is the budget. The next considerations are the location of your set-up and how much power you would actually need. Other factors may still apply depending on your needs and resources.
While setting up your own solar photovoltaic energy system may seem feasible, it is still highly recommended to seek professional assistance for optimal results.