PacB Group // For a More Eco-friendly Energy Source, Consider fitting Solar Panels

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For a More Eco-friendly Energy Source, Consider fitting Solar Panels

Mankind’s hunger for electrical power has never ceased to grow and, with it, the belief that burning fossil fuels such as coal and oil would remain a dependable means to generate electricity until a viable alternative was developed. In practice, though several such alternatives already exist, the world’s major suppliers have proved reluctant to forsake their “golden goose”, preferring to maintain the status quo until this is no longer possible. The consequence is clear. The continued use of fossil fuels has led to global pollution and threatens the long-term survival of life on earth.

Solar panels are just one of a number of ways to generate energy from renewable resources that have been available to us for decades. They are often to be seen on the roofs of private homes where they provide a means for consumers to cut back on their burgeoning energy bills. However, by contrast, the number of large-scale arrays built or planned for the purpose of supplying power to homes and industries via a national distribution network remains seriously limited. Until relatively recently, promoting cleaner, more sustainable electricity has been limited to the few construction companies and architects that have embraced green technology.

That has since changed, and the use of solar panels is now being actively encouraged by central government as well as by a small but growing number of municipalities in South Africa. A government tax incentive scheme aimed at assisting the commercial tax payer with the cost of installing their systems was launched at the beginning of 2016. In addition, four of the nation’s municipalities are also offering the incentive of reduced tariffs to those of their residential and commercial consumers who obtain a stipulated portion of their power from the sun’s energy.

The modus operandi of the solar panel is surprisingly simple and relies on a phenomenon known as the photovoltaic effect. Assembled from numerous individual cells, each cell consists of two layers, each a semiconductor with its own specific added impurity. Light striking the upper surface energises electrons, freeing them from their orbits and leaving behind a space. The lower layer attracts electron holes, whilst the upper layer retains the electron, resulting in a potential difference or voltage. When the respective layers are connected through some device, a current will flow as long as the light source is maintained.

The output of the individual cells in solar panels is small, hence the need to connect large numbers of them. Together, they produce a low-voltage DC current which is readily converted to a high-voltage AC current by means of an inverter. Most significantly, these clever devices consume no fuel to generate the electrical energy they deliver and, once manufactured and in use, they contribute nothing further to the owner’s carbon footprint.

While the Eskom power outages may be symptomatic of an ailing and inadequate infrastructure, the need to change the way we generate electricity has become just as urgent as improving the way it is distributed. For industrial, commercial, and domestic users alike, currently, the most viable option is solar panels. Maybe it is time to talk to the power specialist at the PacB Group about a move to renewable energy.

Our qualified technicians offer support and advice in the selection of the right power solution for your needs by calculating your power requirements.

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