Lacking electricity but got sun? Discover how solar cells can turn one into another.
What do you know about solar power? Is it a really good way of electricity production in Nigeria? How do solar cells actually work? Find out more information about solar power system and its peculiarities from this article.
How does solar energy generate electricity?
First thing you should understand about solar power is that it's the cleanest, safest, and most reliable source of existing renewable energy. So, how do solar panels create electricity? Each solar panel turns rays of the sun into electricity with the help of electrons in silicon cells applying photons of sun light. Thus, it may create enough energy for people’s houses and industrial buildings.
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Now let’s observe solar energy components. They make such system complete. They are as follows:
- Roof system. Panels need to be placed on roofs (in most cases). As for the standards, there shouldn’t be any shades on them. It especially concerns hours from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., when the sunlight is the strongest. For realizing the best potential, it is advisable to place them facing the south. Besides, it is vital to remember that any trees or other things alike may lead to energy production decrease. Special devices are usually used to find appropriate location for installation. There are systems, which are created with pivoting panels. They track sun in its way across the sky. Besides, non-tracking PV systems must be inclined at angle, which's equal to latitude of the place to get maximum amount of power during the year. Alternate orientations or inclinations might be applied to optimize energy production for certain times of day or particular seasons.
- Panels. They are frequently called modules. They contain special photovoltaic cells made from silicon. They are able to convert incoming sunlight into electricity. Such cells consist of positive and negative silicon film located under slice of glass. Then, as soon as sunlight photons beat down upon them, they knock electrons off silicon. In their turn, negatively-charged free electrons are attracted to one side of the silicon cell. It creates electric voltage, which can be then collected and channeled. Current's gathered by wiring separate solar panels together to form solar photovoltaic array. Several cables might be terminated in one box – fuse array combiner. The fuses inside the box must protect individual module cables and connections, which deliver energy to inverter. However, this is still DC type of electricity.
- Inverter. It must be accessible and close to the modules. Speaking of the households, it is usually situated on exterior sidewall near electrical main/sub panels. It is essential to remember that it can make some kind of noise before choosing a certain location. Thus, this inverter actually turns DC energy into 120-volt (AC) power. It might be used to connect inverter directly to dedicated circuit breaker in electrical panel. It is also linked to the net meter and electricity production meter to let the power be consumed by electrical loads in operation. Power balance produced by solar electric system goes through electrical panels and out onto electric grid.
- Net meter. The received AC energy needs to be net metered. In other words, utility bills are lowered by reducing demand for power from the utility, when the solar array is generating electricity. When utility power turns offline, grid-tied systems shut off automatically.
Thus, such type of system possesses many benefits. It not only makes utility bills lower, but also reduces air pollution. However, solar panel cost is relatively high. The residential solar system will take at least $15,000.
Power sector in Nigeria
People of this country use various types of power. The application of renewableenergy in Nigeria would become very effective, taking constant problems with electricity into account. In fact, the population of the state keeps growing, as well as energy consumption. It leads to economic difficulties and environmental problems. However, renewable sources of power are not introduced on the proper level. The only ones, used nowadays, are hydropower and biomass. As for solar or wind energy, it is also deployed, but in the minuscule amount.
Overconsumption and lack of renewable energy have led to power crisis in Nigeria. Domestic plants have declined power generation. It's left many people without electricity. Solar energy in Nigeria is mostly used on urban territories, while rural ones sometimes have no access to electricity. Government is now aimed at larger solar power production. Moreover, considering the country’s geography, it has really good opportunities for this (as it is situated around equatorial sun-belt). That’s why Nigeria can get abundant sunshine during the year. The territory of Federal Capital has a daily horizontal solar radiation from the highest of 6.07/kwh/m2/d to the lowest of 4.42/kwh/m2/d during August only. Such level of radiation throughout the country is able to support enormous deployment of solar power infrastructures designed to feed primarily in to the regional power distribution entities.
Solar power's one of the best renewable resources, existing in the world. Many well-developed countries use it already. Nigeria faces great problems concerning electricity, while solar energy application is now widespread. Nevertheless, this state has very good chances to introduce it. The geographical position of Nigeria obtains the sun giving enough power all year round. By means of such renewable resource, many economic and industrial issues might be solved. Besides, it is very good for country’s environment, as it is already polluted because of oil/gas production. As the authorities are concerned about it, we may still expect some changes for the better in this sphere. Probably, more people will get access to this safe and clean type of energy.