The St. Regis Nursing home in Massena, New York is going green. The nursing home facility recently installed solar panels with the aid of grant funds.
Installation of the solar panels took about 6 days to finish. The panels are three feet by five feet, and they reduce the amount of electricity the nursing home needs to operate each day. Experts are estimating that the solar panels could save the nursing home as much as $2,000 each year.
In all, the nursing home has 48 solar panels that help lessen the facility’s consumption of fossil fuels. Before the panels could be installed a shade analysis was conducted. Half of the cost of the solar panels was covered by a grant from the New York Power Authority. In approximately ten years’ time, the panels will have paid for themselves. The panels are designed to last for approximately 50 years.
How Solar Panels Work
Photovoltaic Effect is the term used to describe the process of converting sunlight into usable electrical energy.
Solar panels work by collecting radiation from the sun and then actively converting that energy into electricity. Each solar panel is made up of many individual solar cells. As each of the cells is exposed to sunlight, energy is converted into a usable source of electrical energy.
Energy is generated each time a photon strikes the surface of the panel and allows electrons to be pushed out of orbit and released. When electrical fields in the cells pull free electrons into a directional current, the metal contacts in solar cells are able to generate electricity.
Not all solar panels have the same energy conversion potential. The more solar cells in a panel, the better it can produce electricity. Higher quality cells can also improve the total electrical output of the entire solar panel.