|For fifteen years we have lived with and designed solar panel
systems which make use of free energy from the sun and wind. Our
goal is to leave our children and grandchildren healthy communities
powered by clean, renewable energy.
1 (800) 472-1142
Family owned, Wholesale Solar is
located in Mount Shasta, California. We've done what you're
trying to do! We started as Taos Green Solar, homesteading and
raising our kids off-grid in New Mexico. We're currently
grid-intertied, still living with the products we sell, and our
"kids" are helping us help you.
Here in Mt. Shasta we've added a very competent,
friendly crew. We stock our warehouse with the best, and we work to
keep our overhead low so we can offer you low prices. And, yes,
we sell retail.....at wholesale prices.
We look forward to talking with you about your
renewable energy project. Give us a call!
Mark and Ellen
1 (800) 472-1142
Mark cruising around in
his solar powered truck.
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Brief History of Solar Panels
panels produce electricity from sunlight. The first solar
panel-powered satellite was launched in 1958 by Hoffman Electronics, and
until the late 1970s solar panels were used primarily to power space
satellites, lights, and small electronics like calculators and watches. In
the early 1990s Germany and Japan initiated long-term solar
panel-installation incentive programs that resulted in lower costs for
solar panel power and spurred the growth of robust PV industries in both
California Solar Panel
In 2006 California made a major commitment to solar
power by adopting the California Solar Initiative, a ten-year incentive
program with the goal of installing 3,000 megawatts of solar panels on the
equivalent of one-million rooftops. This program continues the solar panel
incentives started in 1998, but the long-term commitment to supporting
solar will have a profound effect on the amount of solar installed.
Solar panels are used extensively in rural areas that are
not serviced by the utility grid. These are called off
grid solar power systems. This article applies primarily to
on-grid or grid-tied
systems that are receiving power from an electric utility. For a
wealth of information about both types of systems we recommend Home
Power magazine, and the Florida Solar Energy Center.
How Solar Panels Work
System Operation: When sunlight hits the solar panel's cells, direct
current (DC) flows through the inverter,
which converts it to alternating current (AC). The AC power then flows
directly into the building (if there is demand), or into backup
batteries if the system has them, or to the utility. When the
power is flowing back to the utility grid, the electricity
meter turns backward.
Solar Panel Components
Components: Photovoltaic cells are the core of the solar panel. They are
made up of at least two layers of semiconductor material (usually pure
silicon infused with boron and phosphorous). One layer has a positive
charge, the other a negative charge. When sunlight strikes the solar
panel, photons from the light are absorbed by the semiconductor atoms,
which then release electrons. The electrons, freed from the negative layer
of semiconductor, flow to the positive layer.....thereby producing an
electrical current.Since the electric current flows in one direction (like
a battery), the electricity generated is called direct current (DC). Many
individual cells are wired together in a sealed weatherproof unit called a
solar module or panel.
Types of Solar Panels
three types of solar panels: single crystal, multi- or poly-crystalline,
and amorphous silicon. Each of these solar panel types is estimated to
last at least twenty-five years. Some estimate that forty years is a
reasonable expectation. The longevity rating of a solar panel refers to
the number of years before the unit starts producing only 80 percent of
its original power rating. For instance, some solar panels are warranted
to produce at least 80 percent of their full-rated power after twenty-five
years. Instead of stopping production completely, a solar panel will
gradually produce less and less power over decades. Single-crystal
solar panels are currently the most efficient type available, meaning that
they produce the most power per square foot of module. The cells are
fragile so they must be mounted in a rigid frame, and the solar panels
usually have a polka dot or checkered pattern.
Multicrystalline solar panels are made of cells cut from
multiple crystals that are grown together in an ingot. They are similar to
single crystal cells in module structure but slightly less efficient since
they require a bit more surface area to produce the same amount of
Thin Film Solar Panels
silicon solar panels (e.g. thin
film) are made from cells created by depositing a micro-thin layer
of silicon directly onto a sheet of glass, plastic, or other substrate.
Although they are less efficient and require up to 50 percent more space,
they can be mounted on a flexible backing, making them easier to transport
and ideal for building-integrated uses, such as roofing tiles or
Solar panels are wired together into a PV array, and the
electricity they produce is fed through an inverter that changes the
direct current (DC) into alternating current (AC), making it suitable for
homes and business,
and compatible with the electric grid. The inverter is the major
electronic appliance associated with a grid-tied PV system.
Thanks to our Northern California Solar Energy Association for
the above article!