The 12v Solar Panel: A Primer In Solar Technology

by Owner on January 22, 2011

With the advent of affordable solar technology, many people are choosing to harness the power of the sun. The rising cost of fossil fuels, and increased concern over the ramifications of carbon emissions, has spurred the solar industry into a boom. One of the most popular applications of home solar technology is the 12v solar panel. Available in a variety of wattages, from 5 to 140 watts, 12v solar panels are often the most effective means of creating a home or portable solar system.

When first choosing to apply solar technology to your home or lifestyle, it’s important to consider your needs. The 12v solar panel is popular among boat and RV enthusiasts to power 12v devices, like laptop computers, cell phones and small kitchen appliances. Smaller devices require less wattage, making these 12v solar panels smaller in size and more affordable.

For larger electrical applications, like lighting and general home power, more wattage is needed. These 12v solar panels tend to be more expensive, because they are larger or require smaller panels to be strung together in a system. Regardless of size, most 12v solar panels are connected to a large battery, which banks the stored electricity for use when the sun is no longer available.

The 12v solar panel is made from stringing together a number of solar cells, also called photovoltaic cells. These thin cells convert sunlight into electric energy and when linked together, funnel this energy out of the panel and into the battery or device connected to it.

There are two basic forms of solar cells, silicon crystal and amorphous. Silicon crystal solar cells, made from both single crystal and multiple crystal structures, harness the most efficiency from the sun. Most affordable 12v solar panels are created from multiple silicon crystal structures. Single silicon crystal solar cells tend to be more efficient but, due to their manufacturing process, are more costly.

A growing trend in 12v solar panel technology is the application of amorphous solar cells to create portable solar panels. Due to their flexible structure, amorphous solar cells can be linked together and placed on fabric backings that can be rolled up and stored easily. Many manufacturers are applying 12v solar panel technology to the needs of people on the go, making portable solar panels for the charging of cell phones, laptops and other devices like camping equipment.

As the demand for more efficient technologies continues to grow, just as in years past, it is predicted that the cost of the 12v solar panel will continue to decline. Additionally, as the solar industry continues to make advancements, it is expected that more efficient, highly advanced technologies will become available. Be sure to thoroughly research the appropriate 12v solar panel for your needs, to ensure that your solar system will be cost efficient and effective.

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