Solar energy homes are not the same as a conventional house connected to the national power grid. House owners welcome the idea of reducing their electricity bill with renewable energy system but there are a few things you must know to make solar power work for your home. One important factor for solar energy homes is the sun exposure in a year. Because the solar cells require sun light to generate electric current, the amount of sun light the solar array receive will determine the efficiency and power it will produce. This article will provide some information on the terms you have to know if you are planning to use a solar power system.
Solar power is universal and will work virtually anywhere, however some locations are better than others. The term used to show the sun coverage for a house is “Irradiance”. Irradiance is a measure of the sun’s power available at the surface of the earth and it peaks at about 1000 watts per square meter. How much power can solar power system generate? With typical crystalline solar cell efficiencies around 14 to 16 percent, that means we can expect to generate about 140 to 160W per square meter of solar cells placed in full sun.
Another term you must know if you are planning to use solar power for your home is “Insolation”. Insolation is a measure of solar radiation energy received on a given surface area in a given time. Insolation is expressed in “full sun hours”. For example, 3 full sun hours is equal to 3 hours of sunlight at an irradiance level of 1000 watts per square meter. Obviously different parts of the world receive more sunlight than others, so they will have more “full sun hours” per day.
The information above may sound a bit technical for some people. Unfortunately, if you are planning to build your own solar array to reduce your electricity bill, this knowledge is vital to make your project a success.