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What is a Solar Generator?

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  • Written By: Hillary Flynn
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 07 December 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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A solar generator is a device that converts solar energy into electrical energy. This principle is called photovoltaic power. Since consumption of nonrenewable energy sources on earth such as petroleum, coal, natural gas, and propane has reached staggering amounts, alternative energy sources such as solar power are being utilized by more and more people. Some use solar generators to be earth friendly, some use them as an emergency resource during power outages, some use them to reduce home utility bills, and some use them as an off grid source of power in remote areas.

A solar generator is comprised of several parts. First, an apparatus to collect the solar energy, which is also known simply as sunlight, must be present. The common collector of light is called a solar panel, or photovoltaic cell, which is a delicately produced panel made with either crystalline silicon or amorphous silicon and other items that allow the solar panel to convert the sunlight to electricity. This panel is mounted strategically to capture the most sunlight possible by angling it in different ways.

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The next necessary component is something to store the collected energy in until it is ready to be used and so that energy is still available at night after the sun goes down. This is usually a deep cycle battery made for continuous use. The common voltage of such a battery is 12 volts. That means the solar panel should also be made to collect and produce 12 or more volts of electricity. The battery should also have a volt meter to measure the incoming and outgoing electricity.

Electricity is either alternating current (AC) or direct current (DC). The energy collected from the solar panels and distributed to the battery will be DC. Some appliances can be purchased to run on DC power. The solar generator will have a DC input with a shape that looks like a car lighter. However, most appliances use AC power so the solar generator will also have an inverter that converts the DC power to AC and should have standard AC power plug ins.

A solar generator may be so small that it can only power a couple of items at a time such as a laptop or TV. Or, it may be a large, advanced system that powers an entire building. Either way, using the free unlimited energy provided by the sun is a great way to spare the earth and save a few dollars at the same time.

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