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Photovoltaic Solar Panels

Photovoltaics use special semi-conductor materials to convert solar energy directly into DC electricity. This electricity can be used immediately or stored in a bank of batteries. The development of photovoltaic panels initially took place to support the space exploration industry. Since photovoltaics involve no moving parts and are capable of long life, they are a good fit for satellites, space stations, the Hubble telescope, and other space age technology.

In more modern times, photovoltaics are used in residential homes and locations far away from the electrical grid. The reason is that the cost of running power transmission cables can quickly exceed the cost of installing a photovoltaic power array. If you are greater than 1/2 mile from the electrical grid, then it is probably a good idea to investigate photovoltaic solar electricity.

When considering a solar power installation, one must first make sure they live in a location with enough solar radiation. Rank your location based on the number of clear blue sunny / partly cloudy days there are in a season. The desert regions, rocky mountains, and southwest are prime candidates. Coastal and northern climates should be considered case by case as they have more of a mix between the seasons.

Photovoltaic solar panels come in a variety of sizes, voltages, and constructions wired in series or parallel to meet your system’s needs. 12 volt and 24 volt solar power configurations are common for small scale users, while 48 volts and greater are needed for heavy duty installations. Most solar panels in production are about 10 - 15% efficient in converting radiation to DC energy. This may not seem like much at first, but remeber that the cost of the fuel (solar energy) is zero, and their service life can last for 25 years or more.

MicroGrid Living

- MicroGrid Power Systems
- Benefits of the MicroGrid
- Running on DC Electricity
- Things to Think About
- Sizing Your Microgrid Power System
- Energy Conservation Strategies
- Hybrid Power Systems

MicroGrid Solar Power

- Solar Power Applications
- Photovoltaic Solar Panels
- Increasing Solar Panel Performance
- Mounting PV Solar Panels
- Solar Power Tracking Systems
- One Axis Solar Panel Tracking (Passive)
- Solar Power Cost & Payback
- Sizing your Solar Power System

MicroGrid Power Devices

- Wind Turbines
- Wood Burner Systems
- Thermal Power Systems
- DC Thermal Generators
- Hydro Turbines

MicroGrid History

- Nikola Tesla Source of Human Energy
- Nikola Tesla Energy from the Medium
- James Watt & the Steam Engine
- Marcellus Jacob Wind Turbine

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