Friday, December 21, 2018

Solar panels are made up of photovoltaic cells. The photovoltaic cells when exposed to visible light, converts this light to electrical energy. Photovoltaic effect was discovered in 1839 by French scientist Edmond Becquerel and by 1880s the first solar cell. In 1940s, this cells were so expensive that these applications were limited mainly to satellites.

Engineering improved solar panel's efficiency and reduced cost. Nowadays they are made up of crystalline silicon of N type and P type.

Solar cells are available in different voltage. It depends on no. Of cells used in the panel. Most commonly used panels are of 6V and available in 0.5W, 1W, 2W, 6W or 9W etc. Formula to find watt is volt multiply ampere. 2W panel can give 2W/6V=0.5A of current and this 500mA you will get when the day if sunniest.

Solar panels are not at all consistent. They can be affected by shade of trees, buildings etc. Due to this fluctuation panels are used to charge batteries.

Selecting batteries

Before selecting batteries, you must calculate the power consumption. A small Li-Po battery is normally used in toys. You must also keep in mind the charging time. A 2W solar panel of 6V can charge 2200mAh battery in 7 hours while 3.5W panel can do it in 4 hours. But the charging time would be more in reality as the clouds roll over.

For installing solar panels at home or vehicle, you will need a lot more things like solar charge controller, inverters, etc. One should hire a professional for wiring and other jobs.

Note: Don't let the batteries out in direct sunlight as they might get damaged. Make an enclosure for them.

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