Westmoor has gone solar!
Westmoor Park received a grant to pay for this $15,000 project from the Connecticut Green Bank through Energize CT’s Clean Energy Communities Program. After more than a year of effort by many different individuals working within the Town, the park now produces some of the electrical power it uses each year.
The panels were installed on the south facing roof of one of the barns, after park funds were used to pay for the installation of a new roof. The 14-panel system is 4.69 kW (DC) and is expected to produce about 6,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity annually. This represents about two-thirds (66%) of the electrical power used annually by the barn and outbuildings, with an annual savings of about $1,000 in electrical costs.
To see what the panels are doing today click here.
How a Photovoltaic panel works
From 90 million miles away the sun emits waves of energy that take about 10 minutes to reach the Earth. Part of the energy traveling from the sun is in the form of visible light which contains tiny particles of energy called photons. When the sunlight hits a solar panel, the material inside the panel - usually silicon- absorbs the photons. At the atomic level, the photons excite the electrons inside the silicon until they begin to dart around and break away, forming an electrical current. Copper wiring inside the panel serves to direct the electrical current out of the panel and into a device called an inverter. The inverter changes the direct electrical current (DC) produced by the panel into an alternating electrical current (AC) which we can use in our homes. From the inverter the electrical current flows through wires into the breaker box where it becomes available for use through the electrical outlets/plugs in the building the panel is connected to. Whenever the Solar Panel produces more electricity than is being used at its location, the extra goes back out the wires to the electrical grid where it becomes available for another customer to use.
Other Fun Facts about Solar Energy
- The earth receives about 1,366 watts of direct solar radiation per square meter every day.
- The first photovoltaic panel was developed by Bell Laboratories in 1954.
- The largest solar power plant in the world is in the Mojave Desert in California, covering 1,000 acres.