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Just recently, my Girl Scout troop came over to my house to learn about solar. We are a troop of Cadettes and learning about solar helped us earn an interest project badge. And so my father and I taught them some basics about solar panels.
First we went onto the roof where the panels were installed. "The orientation of the panels is important," my father said. To be extremely efficient, the panels must be perpendicular to the sun. In our area, that means that they should be facing towards the south and raised at latitude (I will explain this in more detail in another post).
After the roof, we went to see the inverters. Although it was late afternoon and the sun was low in the sky, we could see that the inverters were still producing power.
Next, we went inside to look at data. My troop looked at some graphs. Click here for the link to the installation from my house. The first graph on the upper left shows temperature compared to power generated. "TmpAmb" is the air temperature; "TmpMdul" is the panel temperature; and "Insolation" is the amount of solar radiation received, which is measured in watts per square meter. Anything that is measured in watts per unit area is a measure of power density. The second chart, to the right of the first, shows the total amount of kilowatt hours generated, a measure of energy. The bottom chart displays the energy yielded by the North String vs. the South String. Each "string" of solar panels has its own inverter. Our house has two strings: the North String and the South String.
After all of this, my troop found that solar power was demystified. If this post has helped demystify solar, then it has done its job.
ALSO! To any troops in the greater Pasadena area: if you think that learning more about solar would be cool (which it is) and want to be taught by us, just contact me by posting a comment below. We would love to teach you and your troop!
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