Solar modules essentially work like a car battery charger, except instead of plugging it into the wall, you put it out directly in the sun. How do solar modules work, and why should you consider an off grid power systems?
Converting Sunlight to Electricity
Photo-Voltaic or solar cells convert sunlight directly to electricity within wafer thin cells. Light "particles" called photons actually bounce electrons across a barrier, creating an electrical current.
Cells are sealed within a tough resin between a tempered glass front and plastic or foil backing, and then framed in aluminum rail. There are many sizes and brands of solar modules for off grid solar power systems, at similar prices, specifications, and claims.
New brands come each year, many as good as, but none better than, the proven reliable brands listed in the next pages. Considering cost and length of module lifetime and warranty, we stock the longest tested and most respected brands.
Direct Sunshine with no shadows is absolutely necessary for full power. Partial power is produced on overcast days, but any shadows falling directly on a solar module will reduce power, regardless of what some advertisements claim.
First used over 50 years ago for space satellites, modules of that vintage still operate unless the glass has been broken or water has entered the seals. Life expectancy of solar modules is over 30 years. Most photovoltaic modules come with a 20 to 25 year warranty on power output and may last a lifetime. We have original Backwoods customers from the late 70's still using the panels purchased from us.
The amount of power a solar array produces depends on the number of modules you use and the number of daily sunshine hours in your climate. Overcast days with only half normal brightness give half of normal power. Some climates allow much more power in summer than winter. Solar modules for off grid solar systems can easily be added to your array to increase power as your needs grow. Modules are rated by watts, volts, and amps. The Watt rating is the best indicator of the charging you get and is what you will see on your meter during ideal sun conditions. When it comes to durability and quality, look no further than Backwoods Solar for the best selection of solar modules.