Beginners Guide to Solar Energy & Panels

The use of solar energy in the Caribbean is at the pinnacle as an initiative to lower energy consumption. It also works as resilience against climate change and severe storms. The Caribbean’s sunny weather, tropical climate, and proximity to the equator lead to long sunny days.

The rising cost of fuel and other resources heightens the price of traditional sources of electricity not just in the Caribbean but across the world. Thus, continuous attempts are made by businesses and authorities to focus on photovoltaics to lower their energy costs.

Are you keen to know the basics of solar energy and its benefits? Read below how solar energy has the potential to transform our lives to a full extent with sustainable living.

Solar Energy in the Caribbean

Meaning & History of Solar Energy

Solar cells capture the sun’s light (photons) and convert it to electricity (voltage). This process is known as photovoltaic. It can be used to power businesses, cars, homes, calculators, and other appliances.

Traversing the history of solar energy, solar cell technology got pioneered during the industrial revolution. In 1839, Alexandre Edmond Becquerellar explained the concept of the photovoltaic effect and its ability to convert solar energy into electricity.

Albert Einstein also took a deep interest in this subject and explored the effect of photoelectric, for which he won a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921. This theory helped the world understand how light produces energy.

How Does a Solar Panel Work?

The light particles from the sun are restored/captured by solar cells in a solar panel; then, they are turned into electricity and added to the energy grid. Not many know this fact that multiple solar panels are wired together to develop a solar array. More panels, when placed together, can generate electricity at its maximum efficiency.

Types of Solar Power Plant

Solar Power (energy) Plant can be classified into three different types that are:

  1. Utility-Scale
  2. Commercial
  3. Residential
  • Utility-Scale — These power plants are designed to supply the power grid with optimum electricity in line with small to medium-sized gas and coal-fired power plants. Solar power plants are expected to generate hundreds of thousands of megawatts of electricity.
  • Commercial — These solar power plants are utilized by businesses settled on rooftops, vacant land, parking structures, and massive places. The excess solar energy generated can be sold to the local utility companies.
  • Residential — Here, the solar energy comes from the rooftop solar system that generates electricity per your home’s size. During the rainy season, homeowners get the supply of energy stored in the solar panel. This form of solar energy is inexpensive and long-lasting.

What are the Advantages of Solar Energy?

The benefits of solar energy are endless;

Eco-friendly — Solar power generates zero harmful emissions. Above that, it doesn’t require large amounts of water such as fossil fuels. Preserving water while keeping the air clean is indeed a dream come true for most people.

Cost-effective — We have this wrong notion that solar power is costly for both residential and commercial purposes. The truth is that solar energy prices are declining day by day, enabling more people to invest in sustainable living.

Profitable — Solar power for businesses and homes with rooftop solar panels can result in low electricity bills. Moreover, excess electricity is exported to the utilities or power grid stations in exchange for bill credits.

Domestic Energy — Natural gas and oil are perishable, but the solar supply is infinite. We can generate and employ solar energy on our soil without fretting about political relations, rising commodity prices, and other factors.

Sustainable — As soon as we have the Sun’s light, we can access solar energy. It’s upon us how carefully we develop renewable energy programs that create higher levels of awareness and acceptance of renewable resources in our society.

The rapid spread of solar energy globally has led to parallel growth in many adjacent areas. We are closer to witnessing a noticeable change in the electric vehicle industry and energy story systems.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Marlon Clements

The Caribbean is a region of the Americas that comprises the Caribbean Sea, its surrounding coasts, and its islands.