Welcome to SolarHome.org. We are pleased to feature a
wide range of products and information technologies that make solar
power and renewable energy sources possible. Please browse our store
for many great deals on everything from panels and batteries to
chargers and lights – all powered by the energy of the sun. Our
learning center contains enough product and technology information for
consumers to discover how these options can work for all.
Winter is here: consider saving energy and money through
solar technology. Heating and lighting needs for the average American
home generally account for half of its entire energy expenses. Even
taking advantage of just a few solar appliances is certain to offset
some of that burden.
Sunlight is an abundant resource which, when harnessed
by PV systems, is a great tool for offsetting energy consumption. Solar
panels transform sunlight into usable forms of energy for on- or
off-grid applications. Wired together in modular array systems, solar panels allow custom, expandable design
to meet a variety of energy demands, from powering a remote pump to
lighting an urban home.
Solar panel manufacturing technology
cells, the orderly arrangement of atoms results in the efficient
conversion of sunlight to electricity. A typical crystalline silicon
solar panel consists of a transparent glass surface, an ethyl vinyl
acetate (EVA) encapsulant, a Tedlar rear layer and an aluminum outer
Because it uses less semiconductor material thin-film
deposition is easier and less expensive than crystalline silicon-ingot
growth techniques because it uses less semiconductor material. The
three principal thin-film technologies are amorphous silicon (a-Si),
cadmium telluride (CdTe) and copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS).
These processes produce high-efficiency modules that can be built
directly into roofing shingles for aesthetic architectural
manufacturing combines conventional crystalline silicon and emerging
thin film technology. The high-temperature, molten process contributes
to a double yield over conventional solar panel construction per pound
of silicon for high material efficiency.
Photovoltaic (PV) systems
In addition to
solar panels, a photovoltaic (PV) system requires a mounting structure
to tilt panels toward the sun, an inverter to convert panel-generated
direct current (DC) into appliance-friendly alternating current (AC),
battery storage to compensate for unfavorable weather conditions, and
a charge controller to regulate battery operation.
systems are interconnected to the utility network. Wired with a
synchronizing inverter, grid-tie systems feed surplus electricity back
into the local utility. The utility acts as an infinite storage
system, eliminating the need for batteries. Grid-tie systems are
aligned with many government-sponsored incentives.
Off-grid systems are stand-alone systems designed for RV, cabin,
remote, backup and portable
power applications. Because they do not rely on the electrical grid,
off-grid systems require batteries
to offset lesser power production due to prolonged periods of
Hybrid off-grid systems use a gasoline, propane or
diesel generator to compensate for solar power production that is
insufficient for energy demands. Then add solar panels as the budget
allows, reducing generator run time.
Even with the significant initial cost of solar power
systems, the renewable nature of PV technology, low system
maintenance, and numerous tax incentives make solar panel systems an
attractive investment for powering homes and businesses.