Using the power of the sun to produce hot water or electricity
- when you think about it seems quite a natural thing to do!
It is, and it is free.
Picture above - It is possible to fit a small panel on any wall
that is approximately facing south providing it is not shielded
for too long from the sun. The panel in the picture is a 27
watt panel producing approximately 9 A per day (during summertime)
and is connected via a controller to a small 85 Ah leisure battery.
It then is distributed to one or two principal 12v lights that
are used for about 4 hours each a day. This simple and basic
system saves approximately 5% on the yearly electricty bill.
The sun as we understand it is the ultimate sustainable source
of energy, and now with the benefit of modern technology we
can get a very satisfactory result in terms of free energy from
it. Solar panels turn daylight and sunlight into electricity,
the panels absorb the light and create electricity which then
needs to be stored for later usage and distribution. You can
of course draw electricity directly from the panel using a suitable
regulator and diodes but the power will of course fluctuate
with the varying strength of the light falling on the panel(s).
So the best plan is to collect and store your free electricity
using good quality leisure batteries. My own recent research
with a small 27 watt solar panel and one 85 AH leisure battery
showed it produced electricity all year round supplying power
to two highly used 12 volt double florescent tube lights. Only
three weeks before and after the mid winter solstice (Dec 21st
approximately!) was it to dark to sustain sufficient long term
power. Had I used for instance two batteries then the power
would of been sustainable, as on the very sunny days the harvest
would be very good helping the weekly light averages. To read
more about how to work out how many panels and batteries you
need why not read the Getting
and the Live
How solar cells work:
A solar cell consists of two layers of semi-conducting material
(usually silicon). There a two layers, the top layer being the
negative and the lower being the positive, between these two
layers the electrical field exists when exposed to daylight.
Other pages to help you with
the installation are:-
To communicate with us over technical
issues please use the Solar
Chat Forum, also take a look at the Solar
Warming - it's why we are making changes to our way of life!
David Bellamy has a very interesting article on global warming
where he gives another point of view, Read