What is a Solar Panel? It can be defined as a contrivance/device that has capabilities to convert photons of light (a photon is an indivisible unit of electromagnetic radiation) emitted by the Sun and convert it into usable electric energy. It is also known as a “Photovoltaic” panel or module, (a module, in scientific terms, is referred to as “a set of parts or units that can be utilized to develop a more complex structure”). The basis of this energy is the Sun. Sun is an immense globe of gas that is seamlessly emitting out energy in the form of Heat and Light. Solar energy collectors utilize the sun’s energy, which is made up of particles of energy known as photons, and convert it into electrical energy inside a photovoltaic cell or solar cell, which can be used to energize electrical loads. How does a Solar Panel work? A semi-conductor, (substances that conduct electricity only under certain conditions) mainly Silicon is used to absorb the photon from the sun’s rays and convert it into electricity. How? At the basic level, two thin sheets of silicon are used, one is “doped” (it is an addition of other elements (impurities) to a semi conductor so as to conduct electricity smoothly) with ‘phosphorous’ and arsenic (5 electrons per atom), which introduces a free electron, to the semi conductor. This is known as an N-type (Negative-Type) semi conductor. Another silicon sheet doped with small amounts of boron (three electrons per atom) leaves a missing electron in the semi conductor. This missing electron leaves a hole making the semi conductor positive and acts as a conductor. This is P-type (Positive-Type) semi conductor.
The principle is simple. When these “doped” thin sheets of silicon are sandwiched together, an electric field is created. If we establish a conduction pathway on the electric field so created by placing a contact grid on the top and bottom of N-Type and P-Type silicon sheets, the electric activity is stepped-up between the “doped” silicon sheets causing a flow of electricity through the pathway. This is a most rudimentary type of Photovoltaic cell capable of generating 0.75 to 1.5 watts of electricity. To light a small home, one needs a bank or array of cells depending upon the expected usage. Benefits of Solar Panels: (1) You are not dependent on Electric Utility Grid. (2) This spells huge financial savings. (3) You can live in remote, eco-friendly neighborhoods with Solar Panels providing electricity very cheaply. (4) Solar power is renewable energy and is very clean and eco-friendly. Functionally they are superior. (5) Maintenance costs are extremely low. (6) Solar Panels are very compact, more especially those meant for homes. Every integral part and every accessory of the unit is so designed as to make assembling the whole a very interesting and at the same time extremely easy for the D.I.Y segment. Market prices of a whole unit would be prohibitive. Besides, the price of the unit, the installation expenses by technicians would be a very costly affair. If you purchase the parts and assemble it yourselves, the cost becomes negligible. FOR SOLAR PANELS, D.I.Y. is the way! The easy way! (7) Since, solar power is working, NOT ON AC (alternating current) but on DC (direct current), principle, your computers, home appliances which work on DC need not use adapters, avoiding conversion leakage which is common. (8) No hassles in paying Electricity Bills. In fact there is no bill. (9) The critical factor is the duration and effectiveness of sun in your area. Other uses of Solar Panel: Solar energy can be transformed into Heat energy. a) Heating of Homes in winter at a very reasonable rate. b) Heating water in bathrooms and swimming pools. Compared to AC system, the Solar Panels will provide heating to such appliances very cheaply. c) Washing machines and Dishwashers also can be connected to the Solar Panels.
Tax Benefits: v On 4th February 2008, The Energy Policy Act of 2005 was allowed to cover almost all homes in the US. This means you can claim tax credits if you have constructed a new house using Solar Panels. The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 bestows tax credits for people planning improvements in 2009. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 placed a $2000 credit cap on certain types of Solar Panels. The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 eased this cap on Solar Panels. This means if you buy a Solar Grid Panel for $20,000 your tax credit will be much more than the $2000 credit allowed previously. v The states of New York, Washington, Florida, Minnesota and Vermont do not charge any Sales Tax on Solar Panels and their parts. v The State of California permits you to deduct any interest you may have been paying on energy loans in your tax returns. v The states of Virginia and Texas won’t add the value of Solar Panels in your property value. This means that there is no Property Tax on your new Solar Panels. v The States of South Carolina, Arizona and New York allow an extra deduction of 25% tax credit on the value of the solar system operating in your home. v The State of New Mexico, the most friendly renewable energy loving state allows its residents a $9000 tax credit, if the resident installs a Solar Panel system. Renewable energy is the future of the globe. It is inexhaustible as long as the sun lives, which is estimated to be many more billion years! No eco-debilitating gases, no global warming, no hole in the ozone layer, no increase in El Nino effect. The existence of water vapor and carbon-di-oxide, which keeps the heat coming from sun in equilibrium, is altered by excessive release of carbon-di-oxide. This is known as Greenhouse Effect. By using renewable energy whole-heartedly, and on a global scale, our eco-system will regain its balance obviating the perils and upheavals waiting to happen.
D.I.Y. System: It is very simple. What you need is the right mind-set. Henry Ford said: “If you think you can, or if you think you can’t, you are right….” If you think you can, D.I.Y. system makes it even simpler for you to achieve. Great things are achieved not by knowing everything; in fact great things are achieved only by putting your heart into it.