Nationwide Home Solar Power Contractors and Information
A solar cell is to a solar power system what the atom is to a molecule. Each solar cell in a module is its own photovoltaic power producer, collecting sunlight and converting it to direct current electricity. Collectively, strings of solar cells combine to form the solar panel, otherwise known as a module. Solar cells do not produce much electricity on their own, but when grouped together, they create anywhere from 10 to 200 watts of electricity, depending on the number of cells in the panel.
The amount of electricity a solar cell produces depends on several factors, most importantly the cell’s conversion efficiency, which in turn is reliant upon temperature, incident sunlight, location and tilt, among others. Standard test conditions are 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25ºC) with a solar irradiance of 1000 W/m² facing the sun directly. Under these conditions, according to Wikipedia, a solar cell of 12% efficiency and an area of 100 cm² will produce about 1.2 watts of electricity.
The amount of electricity produced in one hour, an individual unit of energy known as a watt-hour, is figured by multiplying watts by time. So a 1.2-watt solar cell in one hour will produce 1.2 watt-hours of energy. The units you’ll see in your utility bill are kilowatt-hours, which for our sample solar cell would be .0012 kWh.
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