Every want to learn about solar energy? Solar energy is created from the light and heat given off from the sun. Photovoltaic cells are the most common way to generate electricity from solar energy.
Photovoltaics is the direct conversion of light into electricity at the atomic level. Some materials have a property, known as the photoelectric effect. This causes them to absorb photons of light and release electrons. When these free electrons are captured, an electric current results that can be used as electricity. This is the underlying principle of solar modules.
The amount of electricity collected or used can be measured in Kilowatt hours (kWh). There are many factors that can affect the amount of electricity generated by a solar module.
The solar altitude, how high in the sky the sun is, can be measured as an angle from the horizon. This angle changes over the course of the day as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. The angle will also change during the different seasons. The sun will be lower in the horizon in the winter and higher in the summer. To get the most from a solar module, it needs to be pointed in the direction that captures the most sun. More energy can be captured during the whole year by adjusting the tilt of the panels according to the season and selecting an angle that matches the solar zenith or solar noon, the time of day when the sun is at its peak.
Light travels outward from a source such as the sun and continues unless blocked by an opaque material. Opaque materials cast shadows and need to be considered when placing a solar module. A typical solar module is made up of 60 individual cells connected in series. This means, every device must function for the circuit to be complete. So if a shadow is cast on a portion of a solar module no electricity can be generated. In most environments it is difficult to find a location where no shadows will be cast. As the sun moves across the sky and as the seasons change the position and lengths of shadows also change. A rule of thumb is “be shadow free from 9 to 3”. This is the best time to generate electricity.