Energy from the sun is called solar energy. Solar energy can be harnessed from the sun and used to generate electrical power in a number of ways.
One of the most popular ways is through the use of polyvoltaic PV devices or solar panels. A solar panel is a device that converts the light energy from the sun to electrical energy using polyvoltaic cells or PV cells – also called solar cells – which are connected in series or in parallel, and are usually covered in glass.
The PV cells absorb energy from the sun rays and convert it to DC current, which is then used to power home and offices appliances using a power inverter.
Solar panels are a major component of a solar energy system. They join a solar inverter – which they are connected to – a solar charge controller, and an inverter battery to deliver electric power to home appliances. A solar panel is rated by its output voltage and power, although the actual output voltage will vary from the nominal output voltage depending on the amount of sunlight.
So, a solar panel might generate more than the voltage it is said to have. Solar panels also have different power outputs, ranging from 10W to 320W. To generate the amount of electrical power to power appliances, you will have to connect a number of solar panels in series and parallel.
A two bedroom flat could require solar panels as many as 3 to 10. There is also the efficiency of a solar panel – how sensitive it is to light – which ranges from 7-20%. It is always advisable to mount the solar panel and tilt it in a direction that will allow it harness as much light from the sun as possible.
You could also install a solar tracker to your solar panel which will automatically tilt it towards the direction or angle where it can harness the highest amount of sunlight possible. The efficiency of a solar panel, however, decreases over time. Solar panels last long though, with a span of 25-30 years.
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Price of solar panels in Nigeria
When compared to fuel and diesel generators, solar panels are expensive per watt, although their recent popularity has seen them grow cheaper.
Their price range in Nigeria is around 10,000-90,000. Solar panels are basically of two types – Monocrystalline solar panels and Polycrystalline solar panels.
The price of a monocrystaline solar panel with output of 200W starts around 39,000 naira. For a polycrystalline solar panel with same output, the price starts around 43,000 naira.
Solar panels with power outputs of 10W cost around 6,000 naira. Solar panels can be gotten at leading online stores and leading solar power solutions retailers in Nigeria. Their price range are as follows:
10W – 6,000 Naira to 20,000 Naira
20W – 9,500 Naira to 20,000 Naira
30W – 14,500 Naira to 30,000 Naira
50W – 14,900 Naira to 35,000 Naira
60W – 25,500 Naira to 40,000 Naira
80W – 16,500 Naira to 45,000 Naira
100W – 20,000 Naira to 80,000 Naira
120W – 25,000 Naira to 90,000 Naira
130W – 27,000 Naira to 95,000 Naira
150W – 29,000 NGN to 80,000 NGN
200W – 39,000 NGN to 95,000 NGN
250W – 45,000 NGN to 150,000 NGN
300W – 62,000 NGN to 200,000 NGN
Power inverters are also required in a solar power system. Solar panels and batteries convert the Sun’s light energy to DC voltage. And, most home appliances run on AC voltage, therefore it is important to have a device which converts the DC voltage to the required AC voltage.
This is where a power inverter comes in. A power inverter converts the DC voltage of solar panels to the AC voltage needed by home/office appliances.
Inverters found in Nigeria convert DC voltage from a battery to 220V 50Hz AC voltage. A good quality inverter for a solar power system costs around 80,000 naira.
Read Also: Solar Energy Companies In Lagos
Another device needed for a solar power system is an inverter battery. Solar energy comes from the sun. Thus, during the night, or during a cloudy weather, little or no energy can be harnessed using solar panels.
There is, therefore, a need for a battery to store the energy gotten from the sun during the day, so that at night or during cloudy days the energy can be used to power appliances.
Batteries store energy in chemical form. Depending on the power requirement, one to ten batteries may be required for a solar power system.
If the solar power system is to be connected in an area with no grid connection i.e PHCN, more batteries may be required.
A sound inverter for a solar power system costs around 55,000 to 180,000 naira in Nigeria, depending on the capavity requirements and quality. The price of inverters in Nigeria are as follows:
12V / 100Ah – 55,500 Naira to 95,000 Naira
12V / 150Ah – 95,000 Naira to 130,000 Naira
12V / 200Ah – 105,000 NGN to 180,000 NGN
2V / 500 Ah – 90,000 NGN to 150,000 NGN
The last requirement in a solar power system is a solar charge controller. Solar panels are ccontinuously exposed to sunlight during the day, and there is a tendency for the inverter to overcharge during the day depending on the intensity of the sunlight.
Solar charge controllers ensure that solar power inverters are not overcharged. They do this by stabilizing the fluctuating input from the solar panels within limits that are safe enough to charge your battery/inverter. Charge controllers are a must for your solar power system if you install an inverter with it, and they will improve the lifespan of your battery.
Good inverters, however, come with built in charge controllers. Depending on quality, price controllers range in price of 5000 naira to 200,000 naira.
Because of the power situation in Nigeria, solar panels are becoming a popular neccesity. Despite being expensive to purchase, maintain and install, the fact that they use sunlight, which, unlike fuel generators, is a pollution-free source of power, makes them preferable.
They also have a relatively long lifespan. Solar panels are a very good way to generate electric power for the running of home and workplace appliances. We hope this article has been helpful. Let us know.IMPORTANT!: Follow us on Instagram @InfoGuideNigeria
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