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Wednesday, January 25, 2023
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How solar panels help conserve energy?

According to a market study, Pakistan now imports more than 90% of its solar panels and other associated equipment from China. Chinese companies are executing and running solar power projects in Pakistan including 300 MW solar power projects which are operated under the umbrella of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)

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An assembly of photovoltaic cells arranged on a framework for installation is known as a solar cell panel. Solar energy is harnessed by solar panels to provide direct current power. A system of PV panels is known as an array, and a collection of PV modules is known as a PV panel. Electrical equipment is powered by solar energy from photovoltaic arrays.

Solar energy begins with the sun. Solar panels (also known as “PV panels”) are used to convert light from the sun, which is composed of particles of energy called “photons”, into electricity that can be used to power electrical loads.

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Solar panels can be used for a wide variety of applications including remote power systems for cabins, telecommunications equipment, remote sensing, and of course for the production of electricity by residential and commercial solar electric systems.

On this page, we will discuss the history, technology, and benefits of solar panels. We will learn how solar panels work,  how they are made, how they create electricity, and where you can buy solar panels.

History of solar panels

Solar energy has been developed for more than a century. Early on, the main purpose of solar energy was to create steam, which was subsequently utilized to power machines. However, it wasn’t until Edmond Becquerel made his “photovoltaic effect” discovery that sunlight could be converted into electrical energy. Following Becquerel’s discovery, Charles Fritts created the first actual solar cell in 1893 by covering sheets of selenium with a thin layer of gold. And from this modest beginning would come the invention that is the solar panel as we know it today.

Read more: JS Smart Roshni: Lighting Pakistan one solar panel at a time!

In 1941, an American inventor named Russell Ohl who worked at Bell Laboratories received a patent for the first silicon solar cell. The same business produced the first solar panel in 1954 as a result of Ohl’s concept. In space spacecraft, solar panels were first widely used. The first solar panel most people ever used was probably built inside their brand-new calculator in the 1970s!

How do solar panels work?

Solar panels collect clean renewable energy in the form of sunlight and convert that light into electricity which can then be used to provide power for electrical loads. Solar panels are comprised of several individual solar cells which are themselves composed of layers of silicon, phosphorous (which provides the negative charge), and boron (which provides the positive charge). Solar panels absorb the photons and in doing so initiate an electric current.

The resulting energy generated from photons striking the surface of the solar panel allows electrons to be knocked out of their atomic orbits and released into the electric field generated by the solar cells which then pull these free electrons into a directional current. This entire process is known as the Photovoltaic Effect. An average home has more than enough roof area for the necessary number of solar panels to produce enough solar electricity to supply all of its power needs excess electricity generated goes onto the main power grid, paying off in electricity use at night.

In a well-balanced grid-connected configuration, a solar array generates power during the day that is then used in the home at night. Net metering programs allow solar generator owners to get paid if their system produces more power than what is needed in the home. In off-grid solar applications, a battery bank, charge controller, and in most cases, an inverter are necessary components. The solar array sends direct current (DC) electricity through the charge controller to the battery bank.

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The Benefits of Solar Panels

It is highly practical to generate electricity for many uses by using solar panels. Off-grid living would have to be the logical choice. Off-grid living entails residing somewhere that is not connected to the main electric utility grid. Solar power systems are a great asset for cabins and homes in remote areas.

An electric utility pole and cable installation from the closest main grid access point no longer require exorbitant costs. If properly maintained, a solar electric system can potentially be less expensive and provide power for up to three decades.

The ability to live off-grid is made feasible by solar panels, but the biggest advantage you would experience from using solar power is that it is a clean and renewable source of energy. With the onset of global climate change, it is more crucial than ever that we take action to lessen the pressure that greenhouse gas emissions are putting on our environment. There are no moving parts in solar panels, therefore maintenance is minimal. They are toughly constructed and, with proper upkeep, persist for decades.

Read more: JS Bank attends Pakistan’s first virtually held conference on ‘solarization’ of country’s energy

The cost of solar panels has significantly dropped during the past few years. This is wonderful since NOW is the ideal time ever to invest in a solar power system thanks to other applicable incentives, the federal solar investment tax credit of $30, and other tax breaks. And take into account that the price of a solar power system is comparable to that of a midsize car!

Solar panels gains momentum in Pakistan

According to a market study, Pakistan now imports more than 90% of its solar panels and other associated equipment from China. Chinese companies are executing and running solar power projects in Pakistan including 300 MW solar power projects which are operational under the umbrella of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)

Pakistan has a population of over 225 million. Approximately 88 percent of the population has access to electricity while 12 percent remains un-electrified. The annual per capita electricity consumption in Pakistan is around 550 kWh as compared with the world average of 3,081 kWh per capita.

Read more: Renewable energy: JS bank partners with Hadron Solar

National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) approved the Indicative Generation Capacity Expansion Plan (IGCEP) 2021 with demand-supply projects till 2030. Under IGCEP, the current installed capacity of 34,776 MW will become 61,112 MW by the end of 2030. Apart from the committed pipeline projects, the IGCEP requires the addition of 10,062 MW of ARE capacities by 2030.

 

The author is a research associate and sub-editor at GVS. She has previously worked with Express-News Islamabad. She can be reached at az.aeliya@gmail.com. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.