As the earth’s oil, gas and other natural fuel sources get depleted, electronic manufacturing professionals and other individuals with or interested in getting IPC Certification should consider focusing on the electronics of gadgets and devices that harness renewable energy sources. The sun, for example, is one of the promising sources of energy considering that sunlight is available to us every day and will still be there for more than billions of years. Moreover, with the constant advances in technology, the components needed to build solar panels are becoming much cheaper than ever.
Solar Power System Explained
A solar panel (a.k.a. solar module) or a set of them is laid out on the roof or on an open field where they are exposed to the sun. Each panel has photovoltaic cells (PV cells) that convert the sun’s energy into direct current (DC) electricity when sunlight is absorbed.
The current then goes through an inverter where it is converted into alternating current (AC) electricity, which can power up electrical appliances. The AC energy goes through the electrical panel where it can be distributed accordingly to the different appliances and devices in the home or building.
Adding a battery after the inverter allows you to store electricity that you can use to power up electrical devices at night or during overcast days. Without it, the electricity flows directly from the inverter to the devices, which means you can only power up your home with your solar system during daytime when there’s still sun.
Also, especially without a battery, your solar power system’s excess electricity, if any, can be set up to be released to the main electric grid to receive energy credits or bill reductions from your electric utility company. When your solar system doesn’t generate sufficient electricity such as during overcast days, you can use your energy credits to power up your home.
Enroll in an on-site IPC training and related electronic manufacturing course with hands-on lessons to further expand your knowledge about manufacturing electronic solar-powered systems.
Components of Solar Panels
Every professional and IPC-certified electronic assembler or manufacturer should know the basic components of solar panels.
- The main component of a solar panel is the layer of PV cells (solar cells) connected together. In general, these PV cells are silicon, which is a non-metal element (No.14 in the periodic table) with conductive properties, but a similar type of semiconductor element is also used. These cells are mainly responsible for the absorption and conversion of the sun’s energy into electricity.
- Like any other electronic devices, various wirings are necessary in each panel to capture and direct the flow of the DC electricity to the inverter for conversion to AC electricity.
- Each panel has an anti-reflective coating that allows for maximum exposure to the sun for increased sunlight absorption.
- A panel also has a protective back sheet and insulation to keep temperature at a low level. Despite being subjected to solar radiation to function, solar panels actually become inefficient in generating power when ambient temperature is too high.
- The panels have glass cover that encases the solar module and protects the silicon PV cells from the elements.
- Outside of the solar panels, a solar inverter is necessary to convert DC to AC electricity, which is used by most, if not all, consumer electronics. Solar panel circuitry can only handle DC energy.
Upgrade your electrical skills and knowledge with focus on renewable energy as early as today to better adapt the technology of the future. Get your IPC Certification now to further boost your career opportunities in the electronic manufacturing industry.
Solar Panel Types
There are generally three types of solar panels to choose from.
- Monocrystalline solar panels use pure silicon formed into one solid crystal, which is sliced into wafer shapes and assembled into the solar module. They’re the oldest and most developed types of solar panels. Monocrystalline cells are black when interacting with the sun. These panels are the most efficient among the three but they’re also the most expensive.
- Polycrystalline solar panels use fragments of silicon crystal that are also sliced into wafers and assembled into the module. Polycrystalline cells are blue when interacting with the sun.
- Thin-film solar panels are the newest type among the three. They’re not necessarily made from silicon, as other materials can also be used such as Copper Indium Gallium Selenide (CIGS), cadmium telluride (CdTe) and amorphous silicon (a-Si). They are 350 times slimmer than the other two panel types. They are either blue or black, depending on the materials used. Thin-film panels are currently the cheapest among all types of panels but they also operate with the lowest efficiency.
Learn more about Solar-Powered Electronics
Blackfox offers on-site IPC training and related training solutions that you can implement in your manufacturing operations to upgrade the skills and competencies of your employees. We also offer a wide range of electronic manufacturing courses to boost your career opportunities in this highly technical industry.
Get in touch with us today to learn more.