From Greenlivingpedia, a wiki on green living, building and energy
Solar panels convert sunlight to electricity with zero carbon emissions.
The "embodied energy" of a solar panel is recouped by approximately 18 months of operation in a sunny climate such as Australia, and 2.5 years in Europe.
A solar array cleanly produces electricity when the sun is shining and any surplus electricity can be exported to the grid. At night, when the sun does not shine, electricity can be imported back from the grid. An alternative arrangement is the installation of batteries, which store the electricity generated during the day for use at night.
To use solar electricity which is generated as direct current (DC), we convert the DC to alternating current (AC). The device which converts DC into AC is known as an inverter and is easily installed.
The power from the solar module is proportional to the amount of light shining on it. The key requirement for a suitable solar site in Australia and elsewhere in the Southern Hemisphere is a north facing roof or ground space that is not shaded during the day.
In the Northern Hemisphere south facing roof or ground space is required.
Solar modules, often referred to as PV (photovoltaic) panels, have no moving parts so there is nothing to wear out. It is estimated that they should last for 50 years or more. Solar modules can withstand a wide range of climatic conditions, including snow, frost, hail and high temperature.
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