How Solar Products Are Made | The Complete Guide
Many people wonder how solar products are made.
Solar products have gone on to become the new rage in recent times given the advantages they provide.
Just when our environment is facing a serious issue from using non-renewable energy, clean resources of energy are taking the lead to work out the energy and environment crisis.
So what problems do the conventional energy resources create in the first place?
They are becoming over-priced.
Furthermore, there’s only a short supply and their byproducts are harmful to both human health and the environment, causing catastrophic results.
These are some reasons why solar products have gone on to become a top favorite of consumers.
Various brands are manufacturing various ranges of solar products.
Furthermore, with the cutting-edge research and availability of advanced technology, these products are gradually becoming more efficient.
Have you ever wondered how these products convert solar energy into electricity?
Does it sound quite complicated?
What sort of technology allows this transformation of solar energy to electricity, so that we can easily use the device in our daily lives?
Let’s find out!
Solar Panel: How is a Solar Panel Made?
Let’s look at one of the most common and important solar products that most of us know about, i.e. the solar panel.
Did it ever cross your mind how that shiny-rectangle-shaped object converts light to electricity?
Well, to understand how it works, we think it’s important that you know what components are inside the shiny case that makes this conversion possible!
So, what’s inside a solar panel?
PV cells, i.e. photovoltaic cells, are one of the main components inside a solar panel to convert sunlight into electricity.
A PV cell is made up of silicon, a popular element, and a semiconductor.
Now, to do so, the silicon is first refined.
A lot of work goes into producing silicon to help it to work as an effective semiconductor.
There are various types of panels available in the market.
The type of silicon used for the panel dictates the type of panel it will be.
The two most popular ones are mono-crystalline and poly-crystalline.
After the refining process of the silicon is complete, the cylindrical-shaped pure silicon is cut into wafers.
These are, again, shaped to fit inside the panel module.
A module helps to protect the cells from various environmental conditions.
Tab, which is a type of wiring, is used for connecting these prepared cells.
They are connected in series to provide adequate voltage, as a single cell produces a very small amount of voltage.
A typical panel comes fitted with around sixty PV cells, which are soldered and fitted in the electrical circuit of the panel.
Junction boxes are fitted with each module in the panel.
The modules are heavy, weighing around 20 kilograms or more.
Appropriate wiring is used to allow the current to flow from the cells.
Black sheets act as an insulator to help to protect the cells from heat and increase their efficiency.
A smooth glass casing is used for protecting the modules inside the solar panel.
A strong metal frame is used to give structure and protection to the solar panel.
A reflective coating is also applied on the surface of the panel to allow better sunlight absorption.
Accumulation of dirt on the panels will effectively reduce its efficiency generally up to a 20% range.
Mounting supports are used for providing support to the ground-based panels.
These supports are:
1. Foundation mount
2. Pole mount
3. Ballasted Footing mount
For the panels that are to be fixed to the roof, they use a different set of mounts from the ground-based ones.
1. Ballasted footing mounts
2. Rail mounts
Solar trackers increase the overall efficiency of panels so that they can produce more electricity.
Solar trackers can be used as they help the solar panel get the maximum sunlight by sensing the sun’s position.
It then tilts and rotates the solar modules in the appropriate direction.
How is a Solar Controller Made?
The converted electricity travels in one direction to the batteries for storage.
This is then used later for running appliances when the panels are not working.
Here’s the catch.
The stored electricity doesn’t always stay stored inside the batteries.
A little amount of it “leaks” back to the panel.
This is where this particular type of controller comes to save the batteries!
It prevents the discharging of the battery by blocking this leakage of electricity back to the panel.
Batteries can get charged over their normal limit.
This can damage the batteries over time.
This particular controller also helps to prevent this from happening.
Now, the batteries remain in good condition for a longer time.
Head off to the stores and you will come across wide ranges of controllers in the market, of various shapes and features.
MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracking) is one of the popular controllers due to the advantages it offers.
The only disadvantage is that they are expensive compared to the other charge controllers, but efficient.
So, what’s inside this controller that helps it to carry out its functions?
This controller comes with a charging switch, setting, load switch, and an indicator.
Various types of diodes are used to show different types of indications.
A voltage regulator is an important component inside a controller, which helps the controller with voltage adjustment.
Other modules that the controller can come with are a computer interface, sensor, LCD screen, converter (analog to digital), and a microcontroller.
The components used in this particular controller will vary depending on the features they offer.
A microcontroller helps the controller to keep the battery voltage in check.
A simple charge controller will not come fitted with a computer interface or other advanced features, which greatly reduces their overall efficiency.
You will find that a charge controller circuit will come with various electrical components housed inside the casing or packed in an integrated circuit.
Make sure not to use a controller load output with regular inverters as it will get severely damaged due to a heavy power surge.
Did you know that a simple version of this device can be created as a DIY?
Well, you sure can build one, but you need to follow safety procedures to avoid any dangers as you will work with electrical items.
However, it’s best to stick with a commercial controller as they will offer better features and functions.
They are also worth the money spent on them than a DIY controller.
Solar Inverter: Components
A solar inverter is a common solar product.
Many solar-powered appliances require this particular device to function effectively.
As light is converted into DC, this particular gadget converts this to AC, so that we can use it for various devices that require AC electricity.
There are four different types of this device available:
Each of the mentioned inverters has its advantages, along with disadvantages.
You need to consider various factors before getting this device, as there are various brands available.
This device can be created with various parts purchased separately.
A commercial inverter is more powerful than the DIY version.
This is because they come with advanced and powerful parts, which is one reason to opt for a commercial inverter.
Also, you must follow the safety features if you are looking to create a DIY inverter.
There are many websites online to get a suitable diagram of the circuit of this device.
This is required to assemble the device circuitry and the relevant parts.
Parts of a DIY Inverter
First of all, you will need an integrated chip (IC).
You will also need aluminum sheets cut to a specific size.
These sheets are needed to attach the power transistors.
You also need a commercial mica kit to help you to fix the component.
The circuit also requires a power transformer to be joined to specific points.
To complete the assembling of the device, you also need switches, fuses, sockets, mains cord, battery inputs, etc.
Let’s look at an example of a similar DIY inverter created using an integrated chip (IC 4049).
Here, the N1 and N2 gates work as an oscillator to carry out the main function by providing square waves that are passed to the inverter division.
The N3 and N4 gates act as the buffer to ensure that the circuit is prevented from becoming load-dependent.
T1 and T2 transistors work together with practical changing voltage to pass it to the T3 and T4 output transistors.
The power transistors provide full voltage.
This energy is used for powering the output load.
Solar Air-Cooler & Its Components
You can use a solar-powered air cooler at home if you want to enjoy the summertime without worrying about utility bills.
Not only it will help you to stay away from high bills, but utilize the harsh summer sun rays to cool yourself down!
Now, when hearing about a solar-powered air cooler, the first thing which came to your mind must be whether such air-conditioners are different from the conventional ones!
Unlike conventional air-conditioners, they run on solar power.
To meet this requirement you will need solar panels.
One of the most common types of air-conditioners is PV air-cooler.
Multiple panels are needed to run this type of air-cooler.
Another type of air-conditioner (solar thermal) uses flat plate collectors for collecting solar power to generate electricity to run the air-conditioner.
If you decide to get this type of air-conditioner for your home, you will find that there are two popular kinds of air-conditioners available.
Each has its pros and cons.
Generally, such an air-conditioner requires specific solar products to run.
You need solar panels for hybrid air-coolers.
Now, the number of panels used will depend on the power consumed by the air-conditioner.
The panels will capture the sunlight to convert it to usable DC power.
Battery-back up stores the power for later use by the air-conditioner.
Another component found in this air-conditioner is a charge controller.
This helps to increase the output power.
There are various types of charge controllers available.
However, many air-conditioners are using the MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracking) controller, as it is more efficient and powerful compared to other types of controllers in the market.
Off-grid air-conditioners need batteries for storing electricity.
Such air-conditioner runs for specific hours only.
You will find AC run air-conditioner and DC run air-conditioner.
The latter type of air-conditioner requires batteries to run.
There are various advantages of DC run air-conditioners.
Even if there’s no electricity available from any grids, it will use DC to work.
Most solar air-conditioners will simply stop working during a power outage.
A hybrid air-conditioner will continue using power from the grid, unlike a DC air-conditioner.
Another type of solar air-conditioner uses a flat plate, instead of a panel, to collect heat energy.
This type of air-conditioner is inefficient, making the hybrid system a more popular option for consumers.
Solar Regulator & Its Components
This device is one of the important parts of any solar-powered system.
The main function of this device is to ensure that the battery doesn’t get overcharged, as this can damage and shorten its shelf life.
A simple version of this device will only shut down a panel when it detects that the battery voltage is full.
Extra features such as LVD, which is found in some regulators, will help to monitor the battery charge levels.
This device comes with various types of parts, and some of these are:
1. The indicator that helps to indicate and detect the voltage, over-charge, and low battery.
2. The diode to help to regulate the voltage
3. Load switch
Regular maintenance is required for this device.
It shouldn’t be placed in direct sunlight.
The wires should always be free from any corrosion.
Also, if any signs of damage do show up, it’s advised to get it replaced with a new one.
The older models were not efficient.
Nowadays, the new ones are more efficient than the old models.
Solar Fridge & Its Components
Did you know that your fridge uses a lot of power, which increases your utility bills?
There’s a far better option that will help you to save a lot of cash on bills while allowing you to help the environment at the same time.
A solar fridge is similar to a traditional fridge, but the way it functions differs from the latter one as it uses solar energy to function.
Even though it is less popular, manufacturing companies are trying to make it more efficient.
This fridge provides many benefits, for example, you will save money which otherwise you’d have spent on utility bills.
Let’s take a look at what components are packed inside a solar fridge and how they function.
It uses either thermal (solar) or PV technology to function.
The solar fridge that uses thermal (solar) energy will use flat plate collectors for collecting the sun’s thermal energy.
PV technology fridges will use panels instead of flat plate collectors for trapping sunlight.
Some types of solar fridges are as follows:
- Solar mechanical
- Absorption solar fridge
- PV technology fridge
DC run solar fridge will come with an instruction manual that mentions a specific operating voltage to provide.
A solar-powered fridge comes with the main cooling unit.
Other important components inside the fridge are interior lighting, thermostat, inline fuse, etc.
An in-line fuse helps to protect the wiring from any damage.
As soon as the voltage becomes normal, it will start working again.
A solar fridge that uses PV technology to function will use the converted DC for running the fridge compressor.
An absorption fridge is quite different than the conventional ones.
Ammonia and water are used as a refrigerant and absorbers respectively.
This fridge consists of the following parts:
- Solar panel
- Expansion valve
- DC battery
Solar Fan & Its Components
Well, we came across various products that run on solar power.
Did you know that there’s a common household product that works similarly?
A solar fan is gaining popularity in recent times.
Why deal with the ever-rising utility bill by using the conventional one?
You will easily get to use this device to save extra cash!
This type of fan uses the same parts which most solar-powered products use for converting light energy.
They come with an optional ac/dc adapter.
A good battery set is also needed to store the extra energy for later use.
However, if you don’t want to spend money to get it, you can create a simple version of it at home!
All you need is to collect the required items.
The main components you need to create it at home are a soldering gun to join various parts and wiring together, wires, a capacitor, a small solar panel, and a fan.
Before you get started with your DIY project, make sure to follow the safety procedures when making the solar fan!
Solar Lamp & Its Components
Another way you can curb your rising utility bills is to use a solar lamp.
If you have a habit of staying awake at night to study, read or do any important work, using light throughout the whole night does contribute to the bills.
This is one of the simplest types of solar products that offers a lot of benefits.
Traditional lighting systems are costly.
This lighting system that we are discussing is a much better option than using candles or other methods to light up your room at night.
Also, in places where there’s no electricity available, this is one of the best lighting options available to one!
There are various advantages of using a solar lamp.
For example, it’s safe to use and there’s no pollution.
The great thing about a solar lamp is that you can make a simple one at home using the required parts
You can do this without spending too much money compared to buying a whole new solar lamp from the market.
This device requires a solar panel, good quality LED lights, a good set of batteries to store the charge, and a charge controller.
LED lights are used as they are far more efficient than conventional light bulbs.
Moreover, they come with longer shelf lives.
The Solar Charger & Its Components
Let’s now look at a very common product that can also function using solar power, with some modification, i.e. a solar cell phone charger.
We spend a lot of time charging our cell phones.
What if the current goes away due to a problem in the grid?
Did you ever face the issue of how you are going to charge your cell phone when you go camping to a place where electricity isn’t available?
This is where a solar-powered charger comes to the rescue!
You can easily buy a solar charger from the market.
The price will vary from one charger to another.
You can also create a simple one at home.
You don’t need to spend too much to create one!
There are various websites online that will provide you with the best resources to create a simple solar charger.
However, all you need to ensure is to follow the safety precautions.
If you are planning to make a USB solar charger, you will need a USB charge circuit, batteries, battery holder, solar panel, diode, wires, and a casing to assemble the parts.
You also need soldering iron, tape, and a glue gun to join the components to the case and the wires.
To conclude, solar-powered products will not only help you save money when it comes to utility bills, but they also help our environment, which conventional products don’t.
Conventional products use fuels.
The byproducts of fuels harm our environment in various ways.
As we saw what components most of the solar products are made, they aren’t much different from the regular ones that we use, except for one or two products.
Solar-powered products are efficient, easy to use, and install.
They perform at par with the regular products that we use every day.
Also, investing in solar-powered products may seem expensive at first, but they will help to save a lot of money in the long run.