How does a solar system work?

Innovations in technology mean solar installations are now a practical and cost effective method of powering areas where mains power is either unavailable or impractical.

A solar panel is made up of a number of photovoltaic cells connected in series. Electricity is generated between the front and back of each cell. Combined into a solar panel, these cells can produce enough voltage to charge a regular 12 volt battery.

The solar panel normally ensures that the battery remains charged at all times. The battery stores the energy generated by the panel, and powers the energizer 24 hours a day.

The solar panel will provide enough charge each day to maintain the battery’s charge within its operational range (ideally over 50% charge). The solar panel selected should be able to replenish energy used by the energizer each day, so as to keep the battery in a healthy charge condition.

Any additional energy available above this daily requirement can be stored to improve the state of the battery, if not already fully charged. (The opposite also applies. If the energy generated does not meet the 24 hour energy requirement of the energizer, the total charge in the battery will decline.)

A solar panel will supply a reduced charge to the battery on a cloudy day. However, at night no electricity can be generated, therefore no charging will take place.

After a prolonged period of poor sunlight the energizer may discharge the battery such that the battery may be damaged or destroyed.

The point above illustrates the importance of choosing the correct combination of energizer, batteries and solar panel to suit the specific geographic location and the operating conditions the solar system will be used in.