Last Updated on March 11, 2021 by Filip Poutintsev
Solar panels are solar cells arranged together in a grid-like pattern designed to absorb sun-rays and produce electricity. It is one of the most commonly used devices in today’s modern household. It has become a great asset and resembles an important role in one’s everyday life.
In fact, just sixteen solar panels are enough to provide electricity to an average household. The whole act of using solar energy is environmentally friendly and very economical. Almost everyone is known with the term solar panels due to its easy availability and high usage. They are very efficient and easy to install which is why many homes these days have solar panels installed.
History of Solar Panels
The use of solar power actually leads as far back as in 1839 when French physicist Edmond Becquerel discovered the photovoltaic effect from his experiment with a cell made up of metal electrodes in conducting solution. He also illustrated that the cell produced more electricity when exposed to sunlight.
In 1873, Willoughby Smith found that selenium could be used as a photoconductor.
Later in 1876, William Grylls Adams and Richard Evans Day discovered that selenium could actually generate electricity when exposed to light on applying the photovoltaic principle discovered by Becquerel.
In 1883, American Inventor Charles Fritz created the first working selenium solar cell after 50 years of the photovoltaic effect’s discovery. Although silicon is used in cells for modern solar panels, this solar cell was the major antecedent for the technology used today.
Although many physicists have played an important role in the discovery of solar panels, becquerel for his theory of photovoltaic effect and Charles fritz for his creation of first-ever working selenium solar cell are highly regarded.
Today, you can see the use of solar panels almost everywhere. From electric cars to smart homes, solar panels are a part of our daily lives some way or the other. A renewable source of energy that is easily accessible is always a win.
Pros of Solar Panels
1. Low Maintenance
Solar panels have very low maintenance. Since they do not have any moving parts, they do not have to be looked after time and again. As long as the panels are not covered and no shade falls under them, they will do their job. They require minimal wiring and even if there’s a connection issue which is very rare, it can be easily repaired. In average, solar panels last for 20 to 30 years.
2. Solar Panels are Economical
One of the most important perks of using solar panels is they are relatively cheap than other alternatives and is definitely value for money. By installing solar panels the electrical consumption by the family goes down by a certain extent. Consequently, the electricity bills go down. In some countries, electricity companies pay customers for using panels and saving extra energy in a month.
3. Adds Value to the Property
According to recent studies, people more likely would love to move into a solar-powered house instead of having to go through the process of installing one. So investing in a solar panel will actually turn you profit if you happen to move to a different place.
4. It Doesn’t Produce Any Noise
As solar panels do not consist of any moving parts or motors so it doesn’t cause any extra noise or nuisance. However, alternatives like generators are relatively loud and can disturb you or your neighbours.
5. It is Much Safer
Frequently, we get to hear about the mishaps caused due to other alternatives like inverters or generators leading to numerous accidents and even deaths. Especially in the winter season, electric shock caused by the congestion from lack of CO2 can be very dangerous. Solar panels are completely safe and can be reliable to any age group without worrying of undergoing any incidents.
6. Also for Rural Areas
Some areas are remote and off the grid, so electricity companies cannot add a grid matrix to supply electricity. This is where solar panels come to action. Solar panels are easy to install and can provide electricity to the most remote places on earth. All you need is good sunlight for a few hours during the day and you’re good to go.
Cons of Solar Panels
1. Expensive to Install
Although for the long run, it is very economical as your electricity bills get cheap. But installing solar panels can be quite expensive moreover, the batteries should be kept safe and is costly too. It is a one-time investment but you’ll have to save up to install solar panels before you can save up on electricity bills.
2. They’re Weather Dependent
Solar panels although work on cloudy and gloomy days but it’s performance decreases to a large extent if the weather continues to be gloomy for days. You will have to wait until the weather gets better to use solar energy which is quite not practical. It also doesn’t work during the night, unlike other alternatives.
3. It Consumes a Lot of Space
Solar panels are large and can consume a lot of space. Mostly, people install solar panels on their roof which is not ideal with small homes. It causes inconvenience for areas with limited space.
4. Byproduct During the Manufacturing Process
Although solar energy is clean energy, during its manufacturing, some harmful greenhouse gases like nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) are emitted by some manufacturers. This can cause serious damage to the ozone layer and also promote the greenhouse effect.
There is no arguing in the fact that solar panels are indeed revolutionary invention which has played a massive role in the majority of people’s lives. Perhaps, the increasing desirability of solar panels is due to its efficiency and price over the years. So an investment in solar panels will be a win-win situation as it’s environmentally friendly and economical as well.