Learning About Solar in Steps

As I have approached many people about how to teach kids how solar power works I discover more that adults also need some answers.

One of the main questions I get about everything from home solar panels to solar garden lights and water pumps is "how long can solar power run my lights, pump, home, etc."

There are a variety of answers depending on your own situation, for instance what type of battery storage are you using if any? For the solar garden lights you have a battery in the light that recharges during the sun hours of the day and discharges at night to power the light. After several cloudy days the lights do dim. However, if there was more energy storage or another battery, the light would last longer.

When it comes to other things like a solar home system, solar powered water pumps, and portable solar battery chargers there are some variables. However energy storage in batteries is still important to how your solar powered panels serve you.

Everything comes in steps. For years we just knew that electricity would be there when we plugged into the wall socket, the wire was run to a house or business and we really never thought of how energy was produced unless you worked for the power company. With new and improved energies we are entering an era where we are not only moving to energy that is more environmentally friendly, but we are also becoming our own power stations. Many more questions are being asked from the general public about providing their own energy than ever before. This is also a great opportunity for us all to become more aware and independent when it comes to our energy use. Everyone has a chance to participate in this.

What makes a solar panel work? Photo voltaic Solar panels are made up of material that is called semi conductors. When light strikes the panel part of the light is absorbed into the semiconductor and the energy knocks the electrons loose allowing them to flow freely. The electric field forces the electrons that are flowing freely to move in a certain direction. The metal contacts that are placed at the top of the cell allow us to draw off that current for use in our homes and businesses.

Now if we stop here you should be thinking that when the sun is not out we would not be able to use solar energy. That is where the batteries or power storage come in.

On really sunny days you will get a lot of energy. Sometimes more than you currently need, so a storage container or a battery or batteries must be used. The simplest storage for energy is the power grid. What you don't need someone else does. This is called net metering; you sell your excess electricity back to the power company. Then when you need power you get it from them.

Battery storage is another more expensive way to store solar power but if you are not connected to the power grid it is the way you will need to go. What kind and how many batteries you will need will depend on your individual situation. These are the very basics of solar power and you can count on this information to change as solar panels are rapidly becoming more efficient. Just a few years ago they only used the red rays of the sun. More recently panels are now using the other colors (think rainbow).

In step 2 we can talk more about companion energies to solar and the types of solar panels available.

Anpa Wi is a site that offers portable solar battery chargers, solar panels for the home and business, solar garden lights and water fountains, solar robot kits, a downloadable book for beginners to learn about solar energy, environmentally friendly computer parts, environmentally friendly cleaners and other green energy products. For more information please come see us at http://www.anpawi.com.


  1. hi.thanks for shedding light on such critical matters. it was really inspiring. will be looking up for more updates on the post.

    Solar power kits

  2. That's an explicit post. You're writing is something very understandable. Yup, adults should understand too. You did not fail on that one while I read your post. If you could write about inverters like sunteams solar inverters for home that would be great! It's kinda related to solar panels.