solar panel with high rise building behind

How do solar panels work?

Solar energy is obtained by turning the sun’s energy into electricity. This electricity can be used for your home or business. The sun releases packets of energy called photons, which can be used in remote places and even in space.

Today solar energy can be used for multiple things like heat for making hot water, heating up building and cooking, generate electricity with solar cells. It also can be used for drying clothes, and by plants for photosynthesis.

Solar Panels rely on light from the sun, not heat. If the climate is extremely hot, solar panels are usually less efficient. They convert sunlight into DC electricity. When photons touch the silicon cell in the solar panel, the electrons are released creating energy.

Solar Panels are made up of interconnected cells that together form a circuit. They come in various sizes, styles and they have different purposes. A single solar module only produces a limited amount of power, and that’s the reason why most installations contain multiple modules.

Photovoltaic System

The typical photovoltaic system includes:

  • Array of photovoltaic modules
  • Inverter
  • Battery pack for storage
  • Interconnection wiring
  • Solar tracking mechanism (optional)

The most common use of solar panels is solar water heating systems. The price of this type of renewable energy in many countries is cheaper than the ordinary fossil fuel electricity.

In Malaysia, the government has several strategies to encourage the use and growth of renewable energy as sunshine is abundant all year round in the country. The demand for solar energy has risen more and more each year as consumers and businesses learn more about the benefits not only for the environment but also to the economy.

According to the Sustainable Energy Development Authority of Malaysia (SEDA) the market for solar energy has growth much more than any other renewable energy technology. Around 95% of the applications were for less than 72kWp, showing the acceptance of this type of energy from the general consumer.

Malaysia is the world’s third-largest producer of PV cells and modules putting the country in a good position to benefit from the growing solar power usage worldwide.
Shopping for solar used to be a long and complicated process, now it is easy and you can request free quotations. There are hundreds of solar companies in Malaysia, so find the one that is right for you.

As you can see there are many reasons why homeowners go solar, with the most common ones being:

  • Improving the environment
  • Cutting energy costs

But they are other benefits as well:

  • Renewable Energy Source: It can be used in all areas of the world and is available every day. Solar energy cannot run out, we will have access to this energy as long as we have the sun.
  • Diverse Applications: With solar power you can produce electricity or heat. So you can produce electricity in areas without access to energy grid.
  • Low Maintenance Cost: Solar energy systems don´t require a lot of maintenance, you just have to keep them clean. But you should only clean the panels a couple of times a year. You can hire cleaning companies or you can do it yourself. The majority of solar panel manufacturers will give you a 20 to 25 years warranty. The only part of the solar system that need to be changed every 5 to 10 years is the inverter. So after the initial cost, you can expect very little spending on maintenance.

No matter what your motivations are for going solar, just remember to do your research and contact at least two solar power companies to get the best deal. Remember solar power is expensive but your investment can return in seven to eight years, plus studies show that houses with solar panel systems have higher property values and sell more quickly.

As people learn and become more educated about the benefits of solar power, the demand for this type of energy will increase. Keep in mind that the sun is a near-infinite source of energy. So, use it to the fullest to save the environment and money at the same time!

solar panels

Solar Cells 101: Plan to install solar panel system but don’t know the types of solar cells?

Plan to install a solar panel system?

Unsure of which is the suitable for solar panel for you?

In general, there are three types of solar panels available on the market today: monocrystalline, polycrystalline and thin film. In the later part of the article, we will further expound on each three.

As for solar energy, currently there are two kinds, one is solar thermal and the other solar photovoltaic. Solar thermal harnesses electricity through receiving heat for the sun, which as the latter directly converts the sunlight from the sun into electricity. Solar PV (photovoltaic) is currently experiencing an exponential growth and is becoming the fasting growing energy source in the world since 2016.

For the purpose of this article, Solar PV should take the center stage in order to shed some light to readers as what are basics to solar photovoltaic system as it is gaining popularity in the renewable energy world. (Hopefully, at the end of your read, we will be able to convince you why Solar PV is the best solution for your electricity concerns.)

The Three Types of Solar Cells

In a nutshell, multiple solar cells combined together to form solar panels. In another words, solar panels combined the cells and direct all of that to energy output, which as solar cells contain all the parts necessary to convert sunlight to electricity.

Just remember, when one mentioned polycrystalline solar panel, it would mean the panel is made out of many polycrystalline solar panels arranged together.

There are definitely more than the mentioned three types solar cells in the world today, but we will explore on the most common three as it is still the most popular three in the fast-growing world today, it is still relevant and it is the most common types available in Asia especially in Malaysia.


Mono Crystalline Solar Cell (Mono-SI)

Consisting of silicon crystal within the cell, high purity of silicon, and known for its uniform dark look with rounded edges, making it the most sensitive cell. With high efficiency rate that can reach up to 20% (for the newest ones), Monocrystalline solar cells can work under even dim light.

Mono crystalline solar panels do not take up a lot of space due to its high efficiency and it is known to have the longest lifespan, however, it is also the most expensive among all types of solar cells.

Polycrystalline Solar Cell (Poly-SI)

Made by melting raw silicon, poured into squared mold, Polycrystalline does not required the Czochralski process that monocrystalline solar cell goes through. Polycrystalline cells have the speckled blue look, some referred it as “sporty look”, this solar cell is capable of converting up to 15% of the incident light into electricity and offers a moderate sensitivity rate.

When compared to the monocrystalline solar cell, the polycrystalline solar power system is slightly less efficient. Also, polycrystalline cells have lower heat tolerance than mono cells. Under high temperature, polycrystalline solar panels may perform lower due to the heavy heat.

Polycrystalline cells have a shorter lifespan than monocrystalline cells.

Why then some still preferred Polycrystalline solar cells for their solar systems? Because they are so much more affordable and there are lesser silicon waste in Polycrystalline solar panels.

Thin Film (Amorphous) Solar Cell (TFSC)

The thin film solar cells are at times referred to as a solar film. They are manufactured using amorphous silicon, rather than silicone crystals. They feature a black color and are capable of converting 10% of incident light to electricity.

Even though they convert the least amount of incident light into electricity and they take up a lot of space compared to other solar cells, thin film solar cells are the most affordable ones available on the market and can take on a great amount of heat.

Malaysia Solar Trends

What we know for sure is that electricity cost is constantly on the rise and solar energy in Malaysia is also on the rise, making it timely to invest in solar system. Picking the right kind of solar system for your business or organization may not be easy, as it requires a great deal of assessment. From our experience, many clients in Malaysia tend to choose Monocrystalline cells or Polycrystalline solar cells for their solar systems after weight all the advantages and disadvantages.

Yes, we do provide consultation and we do provide Solar PV solutions to commercial and industrial properties. Feel free to contact us, Solarvest for more questions, advice and recommendation. Let us help you save your electricity cost and become a clean energy company or organization.

renewable energy

The Changing Tide of Solar Energy

Renewable energy became the buzzword of the 21st Century as more and more nations saw the urgency to combat pollution and global warming. Of all renewables, solar energy becomes one of the growing trends as tech company giants like Apple and Google, automobile companies like Tesla, Nissan and Bentley all heavily invested in solar energy.

With China being the largest installer of solar photovoltaics (PV), solar energy is seen to be better energy source as is both practical and more cost-effective than fossil fuels for both the commercial and residential. In Malaysia alone, more and more organizations are jumping on to the solar bandwagon, as the nation strives to become world’s second largest PV producer by 2020.

As electricity cost in the country continues to rise, many are turning to solar energy as an alternative and cost-effective energy. There are more uses for solar energy than one realized. For example, it can serve as a handy portable charger, allowing you to charge your devices anywhere as long as there is sunlight. With solar as an alternative energy, it will help the country save a lot of money that initially went to conventional energy consumption.

Below shows why everyone should consider turning to solar energy system as the alternative energy source.

Benefits of installing in Solar PV system

  1. It is inexhaustible. The sun is a free and inexhaustible source of energy. The sunlight cannot be monopolized by anyone nor does it run out of sun rays no matter how much solar PV takes in from it. Unlike fossil fuels where it is non-renewable and release greenhouse gas, solar PV convert sunlight into electricity with needing to burn anything. Therefore, it also makes solar energy a clean energy.
  2. It is economical. Solar energy helps reduce electricity bills. As was mentioned, the sun is free, there is no cost for excavation or transportation that often incurred when relying on fossil fuels. In Malaysia, companies could to sell their surplus energy to government-linked electricity company, TNB.
  3. It is sustainable. The lifespan for solar PV panels can last beyond 25 years and has low maintenance and operating cost because the system was built to sustain through years and decades.
  4. It paves the way for more technology advancement. Solar energy does not merely solve the climate change issue but it also opens a new avenue for the world to rethink power and electricity. Within Malaysia, the growing industry of Solar is constantly seeing improvement in their systems.

Around the world, we can see a constantly competition in improvement the solar technology, from self-cleaning panels, to the battle for higher efficiency, to recently, where triboelectric nanogenerator (TENG) was added to solar technology, where it is now possible for a solar panel to generate electricity from raindrops (it is yet to be commercialized).

Simply put, the introduction of solar technology is also opening new and better inventions into a nation.


It is important to point out that solar powered electricity is not inferior to fossil fueled electricity, as solar power too can be used to generate a variety of appliances from households to industrials.

While it may seem to be a Herculean task to transformed a nation that is driven by fossil energy to solar powered one; and it may seem to be a massive financial commitment in the short term, but in the long term, the country as a whole will yield much more in return both financially, culturally and environmentally.

With solar energy trending and gaining popularity, we are seeing the skepticism of the public decreases as more are being educated on renewable energy and climate change. Rooftop panels, car park panels and solar forms are some of the Solar PV projects that are rapidly in Malaysia.

With TNB (Tenaga National Berhad) too has been heavily involved in some of the large-scale solar projects (LSS) in Malaysia, it is a clear indication that solar energy is here to stay and expand.

solar panel with high rise building behind

Solar Energy Can Improve Nation’s Well-Being

With the recent allocation of RM260.8 billion in the 2017 Budget for operating and development expenditure, the government has such implementation to protect the people’s wellbeing and the environment, which is in line with the Islamic point of view on the concept of self protection (hifdz al-nafs) and protection of environment (hifdz al-bi’ah).

This programme aims to enhance the resources of the lower-income group located in northern Peninsular Malaysia which allows them to reduce power usage and generate income by selling surplus electricity.

In line with the services offered by Solarvest, which aims to produce cleaner and affordable alternatives available, the company ensures customers the installation of solar PV system will save power consumption while enjoying effective energy conversions. Solarvest also conducts a unique mounting method that reduces roof leaks.

solar panel with sunset view

Solar Power is Now the Cheapest Form of Energy in Almost 60 Countries

Solar power has been verified as the cheapest source of new energy in lower-income countries, allowing corporations and governments to prioritize it compared to coal and gas for renewable sources.

According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) in 2016, the average price of solar energy in almost 60 countries dropped to US$1.65 million per megawatt while placed first is the wind at US$1.66 million per megawatt. The cost of solar power depends on the availability of sunshine, energy contracts that are in place and government subsidies, since it is still not the cheapest source around the world.

The service has been expanding due to its dropping costs of equipment, growing investment and business corporations like Solarvest that provides top-notch installation proves on the solar PV system. Solarvest, the leader in the Malaysian solar power business offers full-service on small scale to large-scale projects.

willmill wind power

BMI Research: Malaysia in World’s Top Three for Renewable Energy Investment

Malaysia is among the top three global investment destinations for renewable energy, according to BMI Research. This can be attributed to several factors, including a favourable economic and politically stable business climate, in addition to a “buoyant macroeconomic outlook” as well as potential growth in the renewable energies industries, especially wind and solar power.

With that in mind, the country’s renewable energy sector has been growing rapidly, building a solid platform on which its renewable energy players can thrive.

Equipped with a passion for renewable energy sources, Solarvest is unwavering in its commitment to championing a unique business that is environmentally friendly. To this end, the company has the distinction of being among the pioneering batch of grid-tiered solar power installation experts, earning certifications from SEDA, ISPQ and GCPV.


solar panel at residential rooftop

Malaysia, Well Positioned to Attract More Solar Investments

Malaysia has progressed significantly in the solar PV industry over the past decade which has, in turn, resulted in the promising growth of new businesses and jobs. In 2016 alone, the country attracted seven solar manufacturing projects and 83 renewable energy projects in the solar industry worth RM1.77 billion and RM0.65 billion respectively.

To reinforce a comprehensive solar ecosystem, the solar PV industry requires adequate support by a strong supply chain. This is where hi-tech and established solar players can play an integral role.

As a leading name in the industry, Solarvest has the knowledge, experience and expertise to take on this challenge confidently.

solar panel at garden

Malaysia Poised to be Leader in Solar Industry

Despite solar PV being a relatively new source of growth in Malaysia, the country has been making strides in the solar industry in recent years. Among others, it is the world’s third largest manufacturer of PV cells and modules, has the largest thin film manufacturing site and is one of the top exporters of solar panels to the United States.

In a bid to continue on this upward trajectory toward transforming Malaysia into a “hub for solar manufacturing and services as well as an efficient energy generator in expanding economic growth, energy scrutiny and sustainable development”, the country is planning to roll out the Malaysian Solar PV Roadmap 2030 at the end of the year.

As a top high-income yielding solar PV system installation brand in the country specialising in large-scale solar farming in the country, Solarvest is dedicated to being at the forefront of the industry to help you get the most of the solar energy.

Panda Green Energy completes first panda-shaped PV power plant

Panda Green Energy Completes First Panda-Shaped PV Power Plant

China-based renewable energy developer and owner Panda Green Energy Group (PGEG), formerly United Photovoltaics said it had completed and grid-connected the first panda-shaped PV power plant in Datong County, Shanxi Province, China.

The 50MW plant also includes a youth activity centre dedicated by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to promoting youth participation in sustainable development. PGEG has teamed with UNDP to build panda-shaped PV power plant in China and other parts of the world, notably the ancient network of trade routes by sea and overland from China to Europe, such as the Silk Road.

This first panda-shaped PV power plant is expected to generate electricity equivalent to the reduction of approximately 60,000 tons of carbon dioxide emission each year.

Sadly, actual pictures of the plant (at time of posting) were not available on PGEG’s website, due it being upgraded and amended due to the recent name change.


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Electric Generation chart by source

Wind and Solar to ‘Dominate’ Future of Electricity by 2040

Renewable energy is indeed the future, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s latest report, which forecasts technologies such as wind and solar to “dominate” the future of electricity by 2040, making up 48% of the world’s installed capacity and 34% of electricity generation.

“This year’s report suggests that the greening of the world’s electricity system is unstoppable, thanks to rapidly falling costs for solar and wind power, and a growing role for batteries, including those in electric vehicles, in balancing supply and demand,” said Seb Henbest, lead author of NEO 2017 at BNEF.

Renewable energy-generated electricity will rise 169% by 2040, and reach 74% penetration in Germany, 38% in the US, 55% in China and 49% in India.

BNEF’s New Energy Outlook (NEO) predicts US$7.4 trillion to be invested in new renewable energy plants by 2040 also; which is 72% of the US$10.2 trillion that is projected to be spent on new power generation worldwide. Of that investment, solar takes US$2.8 trillion and sees a fourfold increase in capacity.

China and India account for 28% and 11% of all investment in power generation by 2040. Asia Pacific sees almost as much investment in generation as the rest of the world combined. Of this, just under a third goes to wind and solar each, 18% to nuclear and 10% to coal and gas.

Solar Specifics

The NEO details how the levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) from solar PV, which is now almost of quarter of what it was in 2009, is set to drop another 66% by 2040. By then, US$1 is expected to buy 2.3 times as much solar energy than it does today; which is significant as utility-scale solar prices have recently fallen below US$1/Watt according to GTM Research.

Furthermore, solar is already on par with coal prices in the US, Australia, Germany, Spain and Italy. By 2021, BNEF forecast that this trend will permeate into China, India, Mexico, Brazil and the UK.

On the residential side, by 2040, rooftop PV will account for as much as 24% of electricity in Australia, 20% in Brazil, 15% in Germany, 12% in Japan and 5% in both the US and India.

At the same time, utility-scale renewable energy plants will continue to grow, further reducing the need for existing coal and natural gas plants. In fact, BNEF forecast coal use in Europe will fall by 87% in Europe by 2040 and 51% in the US. However, coal will continue to grow in China by a fifth over the next decade, but is expected to reach its peak in 2026.

Global emissions too are projected to peak in 2026, but be 4% lower in 2040 than they were in 2016.

“One of the big questions for the future of electricity systems is how large amounts of variable wind and solar generation can be accommodated, and yet keep the lights on at all times,” the report reads. “Sceptics worry about ultra-cheap renewables depressing power prices and squeezing out base-load coal, gas and nuclear plants.”

Energy Storage

In order to support the increased amount of variable renewable power on the grid, energy storage – both in the form of utility-scale and small-scale battery systems – will have a big part to play in smoothing out the peaks and troughs in supply.

BNEF expects the lithium-ion battery market for energy storage to be worth at least US$239 billion between now and 2040. Utility-scale batteries will be increasingly competitive with natural gas to provide system flexibility at times of peak demand. Small-scale residential and non-residential battery systems will account for 57% of storage worldwide by 2040.

“NEO reflects the understanding our team has built up over more than a decade of how technology costs and system dynamics have evolved, and are evolving,” said Jon Moore, chief executive of BNEF. “This year’s NEO shows an even more dramatic low-carbon transition than we have projected in previous years, with steeper drops in wind and solar costs and faster growth for storage.”