How a 12V Solar Panel Works
The term 12V solar panel is a common phrase used to identify what is also known as a photovoltaic panel. These panels are used to turn the light rays from the sun into electricity which, once converted, can be used just like any other type of electricity to power individual appliances or entire homes.
Solar Panel 12 Volt Makeup
As you look around at the small energy revolution taking place today, you see solar panels becoming ever more popular as people look for ways to decrease the energy expenses of their homes. Of all the various types of renewable energy available today, solar power holds the most promise of being the platform that enables us to break free of our petroleum based dependencies.
A solar panel is made of solar cells. These are solid state electrical devices whose purpose is to convert energy from the sun into energy that we can use - electricity.
Thin layers of positive and negative silicon area layered beneath a layer of glass that is non-reflective. While these sheets are important, they have very limited semi-conductor abilities by themselves. Impurities are added to the silicon to enhance these properties in a method known as "doping," which makes it much easier for the electrons to become mobile. One of the silicon sheets is treated with phosphorus for a positive charge, the other with boron to get a negative charge.
Usages For 12v solar panels
These sheets absorb particles from the sun, such as ultraviolet, infrared and photon energy. When the sunlight hits the silicon sheets it creates an energy field that ultimately creates a natural form of DC or 12V electricity, which can be used to directly power appliances that use DC (direct current) or 12V energy. However, if you wish to power things that utilize AC (alternating current) or 110V energy, all you need to do is direct your collected energy through an inverter.
Let's say that you wish to power a 12V outdoor fountain pump with one of your 12 volt solar panels that is directly connected via electrical wire. With the solar panel as the only source of energy for the outdoor fountain pump, you will see that the pump will function best when there is direct sunlight shining upon the panel. The fountain pump will continue to run at a much slower rate if a dark cloud passes between it and the sun, speeding up again when the clouds move away.
This is a great way to create a daytime-running fountain, as the pump will shut-off completely once the sun goes down and then will turn-on again the next day when the sun rises. This energy can be stored in batteries for specific use or can be converted to AC or 110V energy via an inverter to make the electricity ready for use for other appliances in your home.
Sunforce 22005 12-Volt MotoMaster Eliminator Folding Solar Panel
Here is an example of one of the flexible 12v solar panels. It's ability to be folded makes it very portable and easy to store and carry. So what would you use it for? Many people use it as a power source for rechargeable battery driven devices. For example, if you are camping and need to recharge your rechargeable radio batteries, simply put the batteries into the recharger, plug the battery recharger into the solar panel, and lay the solar panel in the sun. The solar panel will transfer electrical energy to the battery recharger allowing it to gradually recharge your batteries. Basically, a solar panel of this sort can easily be of use in powering all sorts of rechargeable devices including flashlights, cell phones, portable games, and the like. These types of solar panels have even been used to recharge the drained batteries of a car.
3, 6, 9, and 12 Volt Solar Panel with 9 Volt and AA Battery Charger
HQRP 12W (Size of 10 Watt / 10W) Mono-crystalline Solar Panels 12V 12 Watt in Anodized Aluminum Frame plus HQRP Coaster
Unlike the Sunforce flexible solar panel, this HQRP 12 volt aluminum framed solar panel is an example of a very solid type panel that is meant to be hung on a structure such as a home, shed, or even a car. Something like this can be very useful in powering garden lighting or providing electricity for night lighting when camping.
Even though solar panels have been around for decades, they are still in their infancy. As a result, construction standards run the gamut. And, depending on the company, you may end up with a unit that does not provide the voltage as advertised. Or you may end up with a solar panel that wears out after 6 months.
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