The Inside of Solar Panels: What Reno NV Should Know

Nevada Solar Facts Blog
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What Reno citizens should know about the inside of a solar panel

Understanding the inner workings and mechanisms of solar panels will help Nevadans understand why Reno is one of the best locations for residential and commercial solar in the Intermountain West. Keep reading to learn about the fundamentals of photovoltaics, including what makes solar panels produce energy.

Mono-crystalline Silicon Solar Cell: mc-Si

Mono-crystalline solar panels are the most trusted panels at this point in history, excluding NASA-grade solar panels, which are the most efficient in the world at 40 percent absorptive efficiency. This efficiency rating is due to their cell production capabilities. Light intensity, tracking angle, and cell temperature all play key roles in mc-Si performance as well.

Light Intensity’s Role

You can find light intensity by the rate of light energy delivered to a given area over a certain amount of time. Light intensity combined with the correct wavelength determines the energy of light. Once this is determined, we can better understand how solar panels capture the radiation emitted from the sun.

Solar cells use silicon as the primary semiconductor to absorb light energy. Light energy in the silicon moves the electrons in the solar cells. This movement creates an electrical current known as direct current, which is the interstice between the solar panels’ role in electrical current production and the inverter’s role in translating the direct current from the solar panel into an alternating current.

Use of Tracking Angle in Solar Panels’ Production

The tracking angle tells us what angle the solar panel needs to absorb the optimal amount of light. This angle is dependent on the angle of incidence, which is the angle between the line that points to the sun and the angle of the solar panel. If your Reno solar installer is worth its weight in gold, they’ll know the difference between these two mechanisms.

You want to minimize this angle as much as possible to get maximum light exposure and absorption from your solar panels. The angle of the sun compared to the earth depends on time, not just the time of day, but the season within the year as well.

Most residential systems are stationary. Stationary panels depend on an angle of incidence that maximizes light absorption the majority of the year. The EIA has found that south is the best direction for a stationary photovoltaic panel to tilt.

Cell Temperature, AKA ‘Temperature Coefficient’

The solar panel datasheet states the temperature coefficient, also known as Pmax. The Pmax tells the efficiency of the solar panels when the temperature changes by as little as one degree.

Solar panels test at standard laboratory conditions of 77 degrees Fahrenheit. Overheating PV panels is worse for their production than a cold winter morning, ironically. In a perfect universe, sunlight without heat would be best for the absorption efficiency of residential-grade solar panels.

What Is Solar Energy: Peak Sun Hours

The sun plays a major role in solar array production, but not in the way you might think. Solar energy capture works best in areas with high peak sunlight hours.

Peak sun hours are the amount of solar radiation an area of the earth can produce in a given day. This number is different than the amount of daylight. On average, there are 3-5 sun hours in a day.

Peak sun hours occur when the sun is highest in the sky. These hours are important because they happen when the sun’s wavelengths are most intense, meaning more energy will generate during these hours than the rest of the day. If your home has a lot of shade, a SolarEdge inverter may be your best bet at making the most of the sunlight that hits your roof.

Nevada’s Peak Sun Hours and Why They Matter

The average peak hours for Nevada ranges between 6-7.5 hours. Meaning most of the day, Nevadans receive the most production possible from their solar panels.

On average, Reno, Nevada has 158 clear days in a year. Considering that most states have 100 days or less, this is pretty darn good, making the area optimal for solar energy, photovoltaics, and renewable energy in general.

Between 1971 and 2000, Nevada’s average temperature was 49.9 degrees Fahrenheit. Meaning that not only are your solar panels getting optimal light energy, but they are also not as likely to overheat.

So, the City of Reno Nevada Is Great For Solar. Now What?

Establishing that your location is ideal for solar panels on both residential and commercial levels is the first step. Now, you need to find out how best to harvest this bounteous energy source via a reputable Reno solar installer.

There are many different solar companies in Nevada. Which one will best fit your needs depends on your situation and what you value most. Gathering solar quotes is the best way to find out.

After filling out a quick survey for your home or business, Go Solar Group will set a time for your free, no-obligation solar quote. This in-person appointment will give you the information you need to decide on a solar installer for your Reno home.

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