What are solar panels?
Solar panel refers to a panel designed to absorb the sun's rays as a source of energy for generating electricity or heating.
A photovoltaic (in short PV) module is a packaged, connected assembly of typically 6×10 solar cells. Solar Photovoltaic panels constitute the solar array of a photovoltaic system that generates and supplies solar electricity in commercial and residential applications. Each module is rated by its DC output power under standard test conditions, and typically ranges from 100 to 365 watts. The efficiency of a module determines the area of a module given the same rated output – an 8% efficient 230 watt module will have twice the area of a 16% efficient 230 watt module. There are a few solar panels available that are exceeding 19% efficiency. A single solar module can produce only a limited amount of power; most installations contain multiple modules. A photovoltaic system typically includes a panel or an array of solar modules, a solar inverter, and sometimes a battery and/or solar tracker and interconnection wiring.
The price of solar power, together with batteries for storage, has continued to fall so that in many countries it is cheaper than ordinary fossil fuel electricity from the grid (there is "grid parity"). For example in 2015, an average home in Europe or the US could use around 3,000 kilowatt-hour (kWh) in electricity each year. Twelve 280 watt solar PV modules (each generating 250 kWh annually) would generate at least 3,000 kWh each year, even in a cloudy country like the UK. An example market price would be about £8,000 in the UK, $12,000 in the US, or €10,000 in the Eurozone in 2015, which is certain to continually fall, allowing permanent energy independence for each household. Most governments have feed-in tariff systems that allow homeowner to sell surplus energy back into the grid, and make a future profit on their investment.
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