Making the Most of Solar Panel Generated Energy
With over two million metric tons of carbon emissions polluting our air every year, solar panels are a smart energy alternative. Using solar panels can help you decrease your carbon footprint in addition to combating those two million metric tons of energy waste. However, solar panels can only do this if they are properly and effectively used. To help you best use your solar panels, save the earth, and maximize your savings, we’ve outlined some best practices for solar panels.
How Solar Panels Work
Before you can understand how to best use your solar panels, you must understand how they function. Obviously, solar panels create electricity by harnessing energy from the sun. How exactly do they do this? We’ve outlined the process here to help you understand how to best use your solar energy.
Solar panels consist of hundreds of solar cells. Also known as photovoltaic cells, they are made of semiconductors which absorb light when struck. Silicon is the most commonly used semiconductor in solar panels right now, but this will change as resources are depleted and prices fluctuate.
When light strikes solar panels, a portion of the light is absorbed. Photons from the sun’s rays penetrate the cell and release electrons in the semiconductors atoms. These loose electrons create electricity as they flow through the cells circuit. The energy is then converted to an AC current and sent to residences, businesses, agriculture, or an electrical grid to provide power.
For power on a rainy day, solar panels require and off-grid battery system. Batteries allow excess energy to be stored and used at a later date.
Making the Most of Your Solar Panels
Solar panels produce maximum energy if they are installed and used in optimal conditions. Your panels should face south, slope at the optimal angle for your roof, be free of shade and flooded with sunlight. Obviously a portion of optimal conditions relies on an abundance of sunlight, but this can’t be guaranteed from day to day. To make the most of what you can control, here are a few tips to best use your solar panels.
Strategically Use Appliances
An easy adjustment, using your appliances during peak energy production hours will help you successfully switch to solar energy. Your solar panels produce max capacity energy for only a few hours a day, but during these hours you have the most flexibility to use your appliances. Dishwashers and washing machines should be used during these times and not at night when zero energy is being produced.
Switch to Energy Efficient Alternatives
All possible benefits of switching to green energy are negated if you constantly have to default to traditional power sources because you supercede your solar panels energy output. Older machines and devices are not only manufactured with outdated technology, but as they break down they use more and more energy. This eats away at your solar energy and keeps you from being entirely environmentally friendly. Energy efficient devices are created with the latest technology allowing them to function with as little energy as possible.
Monitor Your Electricity Output and Intake
Keep track of how much energy you use and how much energy you produce. If you are constantly overproducing energy, talk to your energy provider and ask about rebate plans. Many allow you to sell back the energy you don’t use. If you are constantly using more energy than you produce, consider upgrading your system or changing your energy consumption habits.