May 04, 2021
The sun emits sufficient power to earth each second to satisfy human energy for more than two hours. This readily available and renewable energy source is utilized negligibly and until 2018 contributed less than 2% of the world’s energy needs. Nevertheless, this represents an improvement of over 300-fold in the past two decades. A major driver for such a change is the decreasing costs and efficiencies associated with solar cells, structures capable of converting the sun’s energy into electricity.
The costs are classified into two types: hard and soft costs. The hard costs have reduced to half of what they were in 2000, mostly due to the decrease in construction cost and improved ability of cells to capture light. The soft costs include labor or costs involved to obtain government permissions due to increased numbers of installations.
Solar Panel Electronics
Choosing the right material for solar cells is important. Costs of silicon-based solar cells continue to decrease and are expected to remain popular for the next few years. Adding electro-mechanical hardware can enable the solar cells to capture more light by tracing the sun’s path as it moves through the daytime sky. If the solar cell is always pointing to the sun for most of the time rather than just at around midday, more energy can be harnessed.
Maximum Power Point Tracker (MPPT)
Solar panels produce a direct current voltage (DC), while most devices are designed to run on alternating current (AC). Thus, converting output from a solar cell into grid compatible AC is the purpose of the inverters. They keep the I-V curve of the solar voltage and the currents in the solar panels at maximum power for maintaining maximum yields. Every connected panel string contains a separate MPP tracker embedded with each inverter.
Inverters take the task of switching off the power grid when it suffers a short or long-term break in combination with a storage battery. These smart inverters allow the DC output from the cell to charge batteries and can also be used to power electric vehicles. Recent breakthroughs in wide-bandgap power electronics have significantly improved the inverter’s efficiency as well.
Solar power is one of the most promising solutions to reduce global fossil fuel usage. Environmental benefits and long-term cost savings for users have led to the increase in adoption across all sectors making the future of solar energy very bright. It’s expected that there will be more than 115GW of solar installed across the world this year .
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