If you have installed the right configuration of the solar PV system, then you must be enjoying the comfort of having smooth energy at your home.
But do you know that how many transitions, conversions, and distance it travels before reaching to your electrical appliances?
The solar energy experiences many conversions and the losses in your solar power system before giving the final output.
Although, the solar power received by the panel is much more than the energy we get as an output to run the electrical appliances.
The most of the energy in the solar power system is either gets lost as the conversion loss within the components or as a transfer loss through wires.
Take a simple example, when you speak, its intensity is maximum near your mouth and it fades away as the distance increases.
Similarly, when you throw a stone in the still water, the intensity of the ripples decrease with the increase in the circumference.
Both are the examples of transfer loss with the increase in distance.
The answer is simply NO, you cannot convert an equal amount of one form into the equal amount of the other form. These are the examples of the conversion loss.
No system is fully efficient, that is it can convert a certain percentage of the input energy into the usable energy and the remaining energy is lost in the surroundings.
We will discuss such types of losses in this post.
We all know that the basic solar power system consists of following components:
The energy from the solar panels reaches to the load and then to the batteries through the charge controller and then to the inverter. It suffers attenuation in each process, whenever it passes through each component. We are going to discuss the effect on the energy, when it passes through the above components.
Let’s take the case of each component one by one:
(1) Solar Panels (Conversion loss)
The basic function of the solar panel is to convert the sunlight into the DC electrical energy
Not all the sunlight falling on the panels is converted into the DC electrical energy, some fraction of it is either reflected back or gets dissipated as heat into the surroundings.
In noon time and the clear sky, a solar panel of area 1m2, lying flat on the earth’s surface receives around 1,000 watts of solar power.
It is able to convert a small percentage, say 15%, efficiency of solar panel, of the solar power into electrical power.
The remaining 85% of the energy is either reflected back or dissipated as heat into the surroundings.
This, I call as the conversion loss of the energy. You can see that out of 1000 Watts of solar energy only 15% that is 150 watts gets converted into DC electrical energy.
The solar charge controller protects the battery from getting overcharged.
(2) Battery (Conversion loss)
When you are not using energy from the solar panels to run your electrical appliances, the energy gets stored in the solar batteries in the form of chemical energy which later on can be utilized to run the appliances, when there is no sunlight or during night.
The battery provides energy by converting the stored chemical energy into DC electrical energy and there occurs a loss in this conversion.
If your battery is 85% efficient then it will convert 85% of its stored chemical energy into DC electrical energy.
(3) Inverter (Conversion loss)
The energy after getting converted into DC electrical energy by the solar panels is passed through the inverter.
The basic function of the inverter is to convert a DC electrical energy into AC electrical energy. This is a conversion of energy from one form into the other.
Suppose your inverter is 95% efficient, means that it is able to convert 95% of the input DC electrical energy into AC electrical energy.
It will convert those 150 watts of DC electrical energy into 95% of 150 or 142.5 watts of AC electrical energy.
Those 7.5 watts are lost as conversion loss into the system.
(4) Wires (Transfer loss)
The energy that we receive as the output and which runs our electrical appliances, needs a medium to travel from one point to the other point and this medium is provided through wires.
The different components of the solar power system are connected through copper wires. When the energy travels through a wire, some of it gets lost as a heat into the surroundings.
The longer is the distance between the solar panel and your electrical appliance, the more is the wastage of energy as heat.
Therefore, one should try to keep minimum or optimum distance and the right sizing of the wires between the various components and the electrical load.
If I say that the wire losses are 1% of the DC electrical energy that is 1% of 150 watts or 1.5 watts are lost as heat.
I can summarize the above explanation in two lines:
There is conversion loss within the components and the transfer loss, through the wire running between the components.
I can summarize the above explanation in two lines:
There is conversion loss within the components and the transfer loss through the wire running between the components.
The sum of the input energy and the sum of the output energy remains the same; it is usable energy that gets reduced with every conversion and while transferring from one component to the other.
So, if I quantify it in numbers;
It means that you are only able to use around 14% of the solar electricity to run your electrical appliances.
If you closely notice, then you can find that the major conversion loss occurs at the first stage when solar panel converts solar energy into DC electrical energy.
An increase in the efficiency of the solar panel can definitely boost the efficiency of your solar power system that will further enhance the feasibility of your solar system.
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