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Solar Panels Explained : TECH BREAKDOWN!

February 19, 2018   |   By Liam Arthur Solar Panels Explained : TECH BREAKDOWN! - image Capture-179 on https://www.4wdsupacentre.com.au/news

We have all seen solar panels on products from small led torches all the way up to powering whole cities.

But what is a solar panel and how do they work?

Just like suntanning is your skin absorbing the uv rays of the sun, a solar panel or photovoltaic cell converts uv light (photons) into electricity by a clever reaction within a silicone panel.

 

Since it was first discovered in 1839 the photovoltaic effect has undergone dozens of massive improvements and developments to get us to the solar panels we know today. Until the 1950’s the technology wasn’t great enough to produce practical solar panels for powering things like communications satellites or spacecraft.

 

But changes in silicone production meant there is now a more affordable supply of high quality silicone.

Today there are a few different types of solar cell, the most affordable is polycrystalline, made up of a many smaller crystals of silicone, its appearance is flaky with blotchy or speckled blue colour, the efficiency of a polycrystalline panel is around 13% which means, 13% of the available sun’s rays hitting the panel can be converted to electricity.

The other main type of solar panel is a monocrystalline panel, these are easily identifiable by their dark and uniform blue colour. Monocrystalline panels are far more efficient and in certain conditions can be up to 30% efficiency, this means for equivalent power you don’t require as much surface area.

Solar Panels Explained : TECH BREAKDOWN! - image mg_9372 on https://www.4wdsupacentre.com.au/news

ALL models within the Adventure Kings 12v solar panel range take advantage of the higher efficiency monocrystalline panel technology for additional efficiency offering more bang for buck.

 

Despite the added costs associated with the production of monocrystalline panels, the Adventure Kings range are some of the most affordable monocrystalline panels available on the market.

All Solar panels output raw wattage, this means without some form of regulator to even out the voltage, you may end up with damaging voltage spikes when clouds pass over that can cause irreparable damage to your expensive 12v setup.

 

This phenomenon occurs inside a cars alternator, the output voltage would spike higher and lower, as your vehicle’s RPM’s increase and decrease, because of this there are many different voltage regulation circuits installed even on extremely old vehicles, with modern ‘smart’ alternators becoming standard equipment on many vehicles.

So for a top quality solar panel kit, you need to integrate into your setup some method of 12v power regulation. Nearly all Adventure Kings solar panel kits include an integrated voltage regulator, and with the Adventure Kings 110W Solar panel you can choose which style of voltage regulator will suit your setup the best.

When shopping for a solar voltage regulator for your 12v setup it’s easy to become overwhelmed with the choices and options presented to you. But when considering the most common styles you are looking at either a Pulse Width Modulator (PWM) regulator or the more modern and more efficient Multi Point Power Tracking (MPPT) regulator.

 

 

Both styles of regulator are efficient and affordable and can save you a lot of heartache by preventing damage to your 12v battery bank.

The most common style of regulator found on the market is the Pulse Width Modulator (PWM), these work by pulsating the power both on and off. The pulses are adjusted in duration to modify the amperage and voltage to give optimal battery charging. These devices often also include other circuit protection features, such as load sensing and current overload protection.

Solar Panels Explained : TECH BREAKDOWN! - image img_4733-1 on https://www.4wdsupacentre.com.au/news

With a Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) circuit, many essential requirements will be met, however, for enhanced power delivery even on overcast days, a Multi Point Power Tracking (MPPT) regulator will deliver up to 30% more power efficiency when compared to Pulse Width Modulation (PWM).

The Multi Point Power Tracking (MPPT) regulator works by sensing the voltage output from the solar panel and the voltage at the battery and calculating and adjusting the best possible output to the battery for optimum performance in any conditions.

Because of the constant voltage monitoring, Multi Point Power Tracking (MPPT) regulators offer superior performance for nearly any 12v power charging application.

Solar Panels Explained : TECH BREAKDOWN! - image img_4737-1 on https://www.4wdsupacentre.com.au/news

 

There are also dual battery DC to DC charging systems like the CTEK D250SA coupled with a CTEK Smartpass 120 have a direct solar panel input that automatically regulates the charge from the panel using an internal Multi Point Power Tracking (MPPT) regulator.

 

Within the massive range of 12v solar panels on offer by Adventure Kings it’s hard to look past the unbelievable value on offer. With many solar panels and solar panel kits on offer, there is power for everyone’s 12v setup whether you need 10w or 250w.

Get more power for your camping setup, with a solar panel kit from Adventure Kings solar panel setup!