Having dished out plenty of solar power info, I got to think whether or not the majority of people are even unaware of the brains behind the project, the Solar Panel? Whatever the metaphor, lets familiarize us with the photovoltaic physical workings of this super hero enigma.
How They Do And What They Do?
As mentioned, the principles of photovoltaic physics are used to convert the energy of the sun in to electricity rather than just heat. Now the impressive scientific stuff has been duly noted, let me paint a much simpler picture.
Solar cells are not made using pure silicon but instead have impurities added to it. Why? Because pure silicon crystals are non reactive in a stable state, which is not good as the electrons need some form of instability to be productive. So in this context some impurities must be required.
The 2 different kinds of silicon are layered in sheets that have electrical connections on either side, one of which will generally give up the electrons and the other accepts them. This movement of electrons is further initiated in to traveling in circuit to produce energy when sunlight hits the silicon panel. No noise, no movement, no muss no fuss quite frankly. Maintenance is a doddle if ever required too. And thanks to numerous and constant engineering advances, efficiencies are on the rise and costs are going down. Those living in areas far from the power grid find it more economically viable to use solar rather than the high expenses of wiring up their homes.
And that’s good because?
Well, how about the fact that it can be generated and used at the same point for one? You don’t lose a lot of the energy as you would from other sources which lose huge quantities of energy as heat. Although you will have seen power plant style fields of mass solar energy generators. Solar panels are great for domestic uses as at least it contribute to your existing grid supply. Every little helps right? Aside from standard solar panels, you can even find roof shingles that have photovoltaic capacity that can replace existing roof shingles without requiring separate solar panels!
But, in the interest of fairness, you do have to know that solar energy would have to be stored so that it can run throughout the sun-less hours too. There are lots of ways to do this though, some of the most common being
1. Store in batteries.
2. Heat can be stored in thermal mass for electricity generation later.
3. Some can even use the electricity during sunshine hours to pump water uphill, which runs back downhill through a turbine to generate electricity.
Just think about it, even if you aren’t the wacky-white-haired genius himself, it doesn’t take much to realize that the abundance of energy given off by the sun can and should be put to brilliant use.