Photovoltaic Cells and Panels - A Variety of Options

PV photovoltaic solar power can be gathered in many different ways. From single freestanding panels to entire solar power plants consisting of thousands of solar arrays linked together, photovoltaic energy is fast becoming a viable, cost-effective method of powering society as we know it... all over the world.

Freestanding Solar PV Panels

PV solar freestanding panel

Most likely, the place where you live will determine the type of PV system that would probably be best for you. One of the most flexible Photovoltaic systems would perhaps be a freestanding adjustable solar panel. Not only do you get to make full use of the surface area, but you can point it directly into the sun's path and even adjust it during different seasons to capture optimal amounts of sunlight. Not being attached to your roof, it's more easily accessible at ground level, making for ease of mainenance.

On the down side, these types of solar arrays can be outright obtrusive. Freestanding PV systems are not for tight-knit neighborhoods or urban areas where people will complain if they see something they don't like. Make sure you check with local town and county ordinances before erecting something as large and noticable as this type of solar panel. However, if you're in an area where you own a substantial plot of land, this may be the way to go. The benefits gained from a well-placed solar array can really put a dent in your monthly energy bills, while reducing energy usage and helping the environment in the process.

Photovoltaic Solar Shades

Adjustable PV Solar Shades

Solar panels used to be bulky, unsightly, ungodly-looking monstrosities that were almost not worth the effort. But just as advances in technology make smaller panels possible, having smaller PV panels greatly add to sleek and attractive design. Modern photovoltaic cells can be incorporated into modern architecture so seamlessly that they're almost not noticable as solar arrays at all.

Adjustable PV shades are now available that can be drawn down to absorb sunlight when needed, and then raised to improve visibility when the sun has set or gone past it's zenith. These shades come in a type of silicon fabric and can operate as simple pull-down shades, or they can be attached to existing hardware and hinged accordingly. This type of flexibility gathers solar energy for use without sacrificing the functionality of a building's windows.

Energy Saving Tips - PV Solar Power Through the installation of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, a typical three-bedroom household will receive an average 60% savings on their electricity bills.

Rooftop Solar Panel Arrays

Angled photovoltaic rooftop panels

The most common place for the installation of a solar collection system is also the most obvious: on the roof. For homes and buildings with high roofs not normally seen from below, the options are wide open. But for structures where the visibility of the roof is a major concern, (especially in neighborhoods) care must be taken when selecting the right PV materials and equipment.

For flat rooftops, angled solar panel arrays can be arranged to face directly into the sun. An advantage of stand-mounted PV equipment is the ability to turn these arrays toward the sun as the seasons change.

In the case of an angled rooftop, PV systems can be a little more challenging. Still, products exist today that allow photovoltaic cells to be installed directly onto the surface of roofing shingles. Many solar roof panels are also constructed to look like conventional roofing materials, or even colored to resemble expensive ceramic or clay shingles.

Commercial Building Solar Rooftop Panels

Commercial PV Solar Energy Systems

A very popular practice these days, commercial buildings are turning to solar power by installing PV panels across the vast space available on their rooftops. Landlords and building owners alike can reap the benefits of such systems, especially given the sheer square footage on the tops of some of these giant commercial buildings.

Since many businesses are located in industrial areas, the visual aspects of installing solar panels is of less concern to the rest of the area. Additionally, many of these buildings rise several stories above the general public, where the rooftops are never seen anyway. The energy requirements of such large buildings is already substantial, making the introduction of solar-generated energy all that more important. Such systems pay for themselves several times over in utility savings.

An extra perk of such a large solar energy array is the ability to sell extra energy 'back' to the power company for use elsewhere. If enough electricity is generated to cover a building's daily usage, any extra energy can be used to turn back the meter and actually make money on a very sunny day. These profits can really add up in dry areas where rainfall, and therefore cloudy days, are scarce.

In any case, the heating and cooling savings derived from the use of PV-generated energy is directly related to the number of panels installed. When combined with wind power through the use of turbines, photovoltaic the opportunity for energy output more than doubles. In industrial and commercial cases, these systems serve almost like solar farms or power plants, gathering large quantities of light energy from the sun and converting it into electricity for immediate use, and sometimes even for the use of others.

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