How does Solar Power get converted into Electricity?


When one asks about renewable energy or alternative energy, most people will speak about solar energy and solar electricity. The sun is an unconventional source of energy and solar energy is also a renewable form of energy. Solar electricity is beneficial at the same time to your home and to the environment. Installing solar panels will in fact help you in reducing your electricity bills. The generation of electricity from the sun is an advanced form of technology and it has become quite popular over the years. Irrespective of the type of power needed by you, for a workshop, a pocket calculator or at home, solar electricity can help your requirements properly.

Solar panels installing - collage

The solar electricity has a wide range of unique benefits over the conventional or gird-based electricity. Installing solar panels can benefit you in a number of ways:

  • Solar electric systems could be designed for a range of different applications and are highly beneficial in the remote areas where other electrical options do not exist.
  • Also, the photovoltaic systems which generate the solar electricity do not have any moving parts. Hence, it requires minimal maintenance. They can be easily expanded and also transported with the numerous minor units.
  • The environmental compatibility is an enormous advantage or selling point for the conversion to solar electricity.
  • Solar electricity is totally renewable as its source is the sun.
  • Solar electricity does not cause either air pollution or noise pollution from its operation.

Another interesting factor for the ones who choose the solar electricity over conventional source of electricity is primarily the independence you get. Consider the following points:

  • It is the best choice for those living on the countryside as they won’t have to suffer from blackouts cause due to storms. By installing solar panels they can ensure that their lights are still working.
  • They will no longer be dependent on regular electricity or wait for hours before their service is restored.
  • The only downside is the initial investment required in installing solar panels after which you can enjoy solar electricity for a number of years. You can also reduce that figure by building your own solar panels systems or by purchasing a second hand or a used system.

To sum up

The power of the solar electricity is now also used to supplement the power for a number of large cities in our country as well as around the world. Many people still do not have much knowledge about solar electricity or installing solar panels. It is therefore highly recommended that you study more about the solar electricity and how you could reduce your electric bills and enjoy a more carefree life with solar electricity panels. Most the people now know about the solar electric and their benefits, however, many still have little or no knowledge about this. This system is beneficial for all, but more so for the people who live on the countryside. However, it is also equally important to the people who live in the cities.

Converting solar power into electricity is one of the most significant innovations in the present age. Once you install the solar panels they will convert the rays of the sun which fall on this system into a source of electricity. Using the energy of the sun for generating electricity has plenty of benefits and advantages to the environment and to human beings in general. You should consider installing solar panels at your house or office in order to save electric bills and enjoy greater facilities.

Hope you get all the information about solar panels after reading this blog. If you want to know more about how it is working and their benefits then let’s go to the details.

Five Tips For Choosing the Best Solar Panel

Choosing the best solar panel for your home depends on more than just size and cost but these are often the deciding factors for people when they start thinking about installing a solar panel system for their home. It is important to do your homework before making any choices or contacting specific dealers. Solar panel systems involve a large capital investment so you want to make certain you are receiving the best system fat the best price for you home.

solar panel

When beginning the process you should start by analyzing the cost to purchase and install the system against the benefits it will deliver in terms of the potential energy and carbon savings. Here are five important characteristics to consider in order to identify the best solar panel for your home.


The size of your roof will determine how many panels can be installed. One of the most important things to evaluate is the solar efficiency of each panel. Panel efficiency is expressed as a percentage of the amount of electricity a single panel produces per surface area. The higher the number the more efficient the panel is and the smaller surface you will need. This figure is really important because the amount of power you can generate depends on the surface area of your roof and the efficiency of the solar panel you choose to use.


The measurements or size of the solar panel you choose will ultimately determine the number of panels you will be able to install. It is important to engage the services of a professional solar panel sales professional and installer & SolarQuotes provider to help you understand how much weight your roof can handle and whether or not the panel system will meet local fire and building codes and work effectively and efficiently for your home’s location.


Adding solar to your home is a major capital investment and will affect the value of your home. It is important to consider how the panels are manufactured and what materials are used in its construction. It is smart to look for manufacturers that fall into the top 2% Of all solar manufacturers because these manufacturers are vertically integrated, controlling every stage of the manufacturing process. This means these companies invest a lot of money into research and development and use advanced robotics. They also have a quality control process that covers every stage in the manufacturing process and they have been in the business of manufacturing solar panels for 5 years or more. These manufacturers use the best grade of silicon to produce solar cells which results in greater efficiency and durability of the solar cells. The most reputable solar panels will carry a warranty period of at least 25 years.

Company History and Financial Condition

When you choose a manufacturer make certain they are in a healthy financial state and will be around to service their products over the long term. Avoid small, fly by night companies. This industry is highly competitive and companies come and go all the time. Look for a well established solar company that has a solid track record of performance and financial stability.

Type of Solar Cells and Tolerances

There are three types of solar cells used to manufacture solar panels: Monocrystalline silicon, Polycrystalline silicon, and Amorphous or thin-film silicon. Monocrystalline silicon cells provide high efficiency and good heat tolerance characteristics. Polycrystalline silicon cells are the most popular cells being used for residential installations because many improvements have been made in developing solar modules using these cells and now they offer equal or better performance in terms of heat tolerance, size and efficiency. Thin-film uses the least amount of silicon and tends to deliver the least efficient solar cell performance.

Heat tolerance is another very important aspect of solar panel performance and indicates the range a panel will exceed or fail to meet its rated power. A positive tolerance rating means the panel will generate a specific wattage and even more under standard testing conditions. The temperature co-efficient is also important because temperatures impact a panel’s operation after installation. Look for panels that have a lower percentage per degree Celsius. The lower the percentage the better the performance and the less impact the temperature will have on the panel.

Doing proper research and understanding the important characteristics of a solar panel will help you select the best solar panel for your home and location. It is always wise to work with a solar panel expert who can help explain the differences and someone who understands the local environment and solar market. A solar professional can also provide you with solar quotes so you can compare the costs to benefits of different solar panel systems.

Hurricane Sandy: Solar Plan-Ahead

Hurricane_SandyWe all watched in dread fascination as Superstorm Sandy hooked a hard left right where predicted off the coast of northern Virginia to slame full-force into northern New Jersey and New York City just days before Election Day. Its storm surge was every bit as devastating as predicted, and its 1,000-mile-plus wind field wreaked havoc and whipped up 30-foot waves on Lake Erie (20-footers on Lake Ontario). The storm whipped an arctic front around the back side and dumped feet of snow on southern Appalachia. Tens of millions lost electricity in the storm, and some have still not been reconnected.

As we usually see in Florida and along the Gulf coast during hurricane seasons, home supply companies quickly ran out of portable gas-powered generators and other emergency supplies, even before we were treated to the appalling spectacle of a wind-whipped inferno taking out more than a hundred homes in Queens, which was above the surge and thought it was safe. I’m sure we’re all gratified that good forecasting and serious pre-storm planning as well as pre-placement of relief personnel and supplies kept the death toll down to less than half a percent of Katrina’s toll back in 2005. But we also learned that for all those portable gas generators that were sold to people who knew their electricity would go out, the attendant problem of gas stations being unable to dispense gasoline without power rendered most of them entirely useless.

So I’m passing along an interesting blog article entitled Use solar to survive the next storm. Now, solar panels atop a pole in the yard aren’t any more likely to survive hurricane-force winds or 14-foot waves than your bird house is. But houses in New Jersey and New York that had rooftop solar panels fared very well – there are reports of considerable damage to shingles and gutters and such, but so long as the entire roof isn’t taken off, the solar panels up there should be fine.

Now, we know that solar panels won’t provide any ready juice in the middle of the night, or when the kind of deep, rain-drenched clouds a superstorm brings are between you and the sun. But for emergency purposes you should have some batteries already charged and ready to take over at least a minimum of lighting, radio, charging of PCs and cell phones, perhaps even running your laptop or iPad for up to date information. Even your basic surge protector for computer equipment – the kind with an undersized car battery with converter built-in and plugs will serve the purpose until the sun is shining again. You can set it up to draw its full charge from the solar panels normally, even if your panels are wired into the grid. While that wiring is done, just insist on a switch that will allow you to use the solar panels exclusively whenever the grid is down.

Here are some nifty portable solar generators that would in this storm have proven way more useful than a gasoline generator you couldn’t get gas for, once the next day dawned. Goal Zero offers emergency solar kits in personal, family and household sizes. Home Depot and Lowes have a variety of solar products and generators too, and the prices are getting more reasonable every year. Cabela’s outfitters offers portable solar generators too, a little tougher-built and a little more expensive. Truly industrial-level portables with steel containers of batteries are available through several companies, those by Mobile Solar are impressive, can even be sized for off-grid living.

We homesteaders don’t generally live in big cities, but there are urban homesteaders all over the place these days coming up with sustainable means of living in cities. How about having street lights with solar panels and batteries? Solar powered stoplights and such as well, to switch over from grid whenever there’s an interruption?

At any rate, for those of us who know enough science to be expecting increasingly violent weather from global climate change need to ensure our emergency supplies and power are well thought-out. It seems to me that NOT having to rely on the power company that’s been cutting service personnel for years to increase profits is better than sitting in the dark for days or weeks at a time. It also seems smarter to NOT have to find a source of gasoline in the aftermath of a hugely destructive event just so you can plug in your computer and charge your cell phone. Whether you just want an emergency supply or are able to install an ample rooftop array you can switch over when the grid goes down is of course dependent on your situation. But all of us should be thinking solar for this aspect of emergency planning.

Energy: The Good News, The Continuing Struggle

Boston Globe
Boston Globe
First the good news. The Boston Globs reports this week that Massachusetts’ largest utilities have signed long-term contracts for wind generated energy from six wind farms in Maine and New Hampshire at a mere 8 cents per kilowatt hour. Which is actually cheaper than electricity from coal [10 cents/kwh], nuclear [11 cents/kwh] and solar [14 cents/kwh].

The utilities – National Grid, Northeast Utilities and Unitil Corp. – are together purchasing 565 megawatts of electricity, enough to power ~170,000 homes. The Cape Wind offshore project in Nantucket Sound is expected to serve more homes overall when it is fully on-line, but the price per kwh will be higher. As more wind projects get built, the price should even out in the face of competition, so we may all look forward to something eventually cheaper even than natural gas. Which at 6 cents per kwh is now the least expensive electricity generation technology, but that will inevitably go up as gas reserves dwindle and environmental regulation puts a crimp in the destructive practice of fracking.

Wind generation has tremendous potential in the most populous regions of the country, including the Megalopolis corridor from D.C. to Boston, and in Texas and California. The entire Great Plains is ripe for wind as well as solar, and solar technologies are enjoying a hefty level of research funding to see if its costs can be brought into competitive line with wind and hydro. New storage technologies for all renewable sources are also being researched and developed apace, while coal plants are being shut down and new ones aren’t getting built.

Now for the less-than great news. Confusing and contradictory signals from the Obama administration about approval of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline from Alberta through the heartland has a consortium of 25 environmental groups signing on to a letter to President Obama urging rejection of the project. Tar sands oil is the most environmentally damaging form of petroleum to capture and refine, making the pipeline a serious threat to efforts to battle global warming.

Groups signing on are the Natural Resources Defense Council, the League of Conservation Voters, Environmental Action, CREDO, 350.Org, Public Citizen, the Indigenous Environmental Network, the Sierra Club and others. For years groups of indigenous people in Canada and the U.S., farmers and ranchers from Nebraska to Texas and citizen activists as well as environmental organizations have protested the project.

Those of us who have chosen to live our lives in such a way as to serve as example of a more aware and involved partnership with this home planet are not usually at the forefront of civil actions pushing for better government and corporate policies related to energy, but we do need to increase our outreach to those who are on the front lines. Please do check in on groups in and near your area, maybe attend some gatherings or subscribe to newsletters, offer what you can offer to help support this important work. Even if it’s some fresh organic food, a nice place to hold a planning meeting, or an offer of shelter for participants from far flung places, we need to be part of the needed changes on as many levels as possible.

Who knows? There’s even a chance you could get to know some local/semi-locals who would love nothing better than to put in a little time on your project here and there, at planting or harvest time, maybe help with some very cool energy projects they could then use as inspiration to others along their travels and among their contacts. The real changes happen at home, not in D.C. Which seems always to be playing catch-up with what the people have already figured out for themselves. Changes that need a community’s commitment and support and labor are best done with the help of a community. So let’s get plugged in!

Extra $ on Your Outbuildings

solar_outbuildingI was reminiscing the other day to my gathered grandchildren about the annual childhood vacation journeys my family used to make from wherever we were living at the time to my paternal grandparents’ home in central Kentucky. Dad let us take turns as navigator in the shotgun seat, getting us from point A to B in a day’s drive, using nothing but those “little blue roads” through the rural countryside he loved so much. Occasionally one of us kids would get us good and lost, then the next in line would have to find a way out. He was never in a big hurry, we often spent more days than necessary getting to Grandma’s house.

One of the things I recall most fondly were the painted advertising barns we’d see along the way. “See Rock City” barns no matter where we were or how far it was from there to Chattanooga, Tennessee. Ubiquitous tobacco barns in Tennessee, Virginia and Kentucky painted to advertise for Mail Pouch or Red Man or some other cigarette, chew or pipe tobacco. Some very unique painted barns advertising for local or national businesses. We used to keep a page of the trip log for listing those, along with each eagerly anticipated Burma Shave series of one-word jingles and the usual list of state license plates seen along the way.

Those old ad-barns are quickly falling into distantly remembered history, as tobacco bases become increasingly rare and as the barns themselves deteriorate. Some have been salvaged as ‘conversation piece’ paneling for fancy rural log McMansions, pulling in a pretty penny for those who dismantle rotting outbuildings in a newer generation. In an age of interstate highways lined by boring billboards, seeing a unique working barn with a real advertisement on it is becoming a rare occurrence.

Would it surprise you to find that barn painted advertising is making a comeback? It surprised me, but then again, I don’t go far from home very often, and then mostly via interstate. But barn painted advertising still has its uses, and can return money to a landowner equivalent (or better) than from simply renting space for a billboard to be erected. All it requires is that the farm/homestead have frontage on a well-traveled roadway, and a good sized barn that can be easily seen from that roadway. Thus ‘selling’ the side and/or roof of a barn or other large outbuilding to a company for advertising could possibly be a good source of ‘extra’ income for homesteaders to think about.

You can do this yourself, though it wouldn’t be as quick a turnover to income as going through a company that contracts ads for billboards and such, that might consider your barn. For local companies, check with advertising directors to pitch your location and visibility of your outbuilding(s). This can work for regional companies as well, but national companies generally go through those advertising firms. You could try both, take the deal that offers you the most for your offered advertising space. Lucky homesteaders may in this way earn extra income just for having outbuildings visible to the public, and in return get a showpiece of a barn that can someday be worth even more as salvage!

And don’t forget to consider that you can always advertise on your visible barn/outbuilding your own farm logo if you belong to a CSA [Community Supported Agriculture] cooperative, offer Agri-tourism attractions and/or B&B accommodations, or deal directly with the public for U-pick or fresh harvest produce, eggs, honey and/or meat. In such ventures advertising pays, and being visible to the public can only help.


Barn Painting & Advertising
Merced Sun-Star article
Rock City: Barn History