How Does Solar Energy Turn Into Electricity – Solar power is the key to a clean energy future. Every day, the sun provides more energy than we need to power everything on earth. That’s why we invest heavily in solar plants and why we offer solar products to our customers in Australia.
Solar energy saves money. As utility costs continue to rise, solar energy efficiency is higher than ever. There’s nothing like watching the counter tick down and knowing you’re making savings. With GREENWAVE SOLAR solar panels, the benefits continue to accumulate. The future has never been brighter.
How Does Solar Energy Turn Into Electricity
Solar energy is the usable energy generated by the sun in the form of light or heat. Solar energy is collected in a number of ways, the most common being with photovoltaic solar panels, which convert sunlight into useful electricity. In addition to using photovoltaics to generate electricity, solar energy is often used in heating systems to heat indoor spaces or pumps. Home and commercial owners can install solar hot water systems and design their homes with passive solar heating to make the most of the sun’s energy with solar technology. Solar energy is a renewable resource, meaning much of it is freely available and we don’t need to mine coal or recycle other toxic energy sources to keep the lights on.
A Glimpse Into How Solar Panels Work
A solar panel (also known as a solar module) consists of a layer of silicon cells, a metal frame, a glass housing, and silicon wires that carry the electrical current. Silicon is a non-metallic material with conductive properties that allow it to absorb and convert sunlight into useful light. When light hits a silicon cell, it causes electrons in the silicon to move, providing a flow of electrical current. This is known as the “photovoltaic effect” and describes the overall performance of solar panel technology.
The generation of electricity with solar panels comes down to this photovoltaic effect. It was first discovered in 1839 by Edmond Becquerel and can be seen as a property of certain materials (known as semiconductors) that allows them to create an electric current when exposed to sunlight.
Solar energy is a clean, cheap and renewable energy source that can be used anywhere in the world; any place where sunlight reaches the earth’s surface is a potential place to generate solar energy. And since solar energy comes from the sun, it is an unlimited source of energy. Renewable energy technologies generate electricity from limited resources. Compare, for example, the generation of electricity from renewable resources with that from fossil fuels. Oil, gas, and coal take hundreds of thousands of years to form, so every time one of these materials is burned to create fire, the final material gets a little closer to depletion . The use of renewable resources – such as wind, solar and hydraulic – to generate electricity does not exhaust the resource. There will always be sunlight to shine on the Earth, and after the conversion of sunlight into light, there is still an infinite amount of sunlight to be converted into light in the future. This makes solar energy an inherently renewable energy. We all know that solar photovoltaic (PV) panels convert the sun into electricity, but few people know the exact science behind the process. This week on the blog we’ll get into the little science behind sleep. It may sound complicated, but it all boils down to the photovoltaic effect; the ability of matter to emit electrons when bathed in light.
Before we get to the molecular level, let’s take a high-level look at the basic flow of light generation:
How Does Solar Energy Work?
Now that we understand the basics of solar electricity generation and flow, let’s delve into the science behind a solar PV panel.
Photovoltaic solar panels are made up of very small photovoltaic cells, meaning their photovoltaic cells can convert sunlight into electricity. These cells are semiconductor materials, mainly silicon, a material that can conduct electricity while maintaining the electrical conductivity needed to create an electric field.
When sunlight strikes the semiconductor in a photovoltaic solar cell (step 1 of our high-level overview), the light’s energy in the form of photons is absorbed, striking a series of electrons which move freely through the cell. A solar cell is basically designed with positively and negatively charged semiconductors placed together to create an electric field (see image to the left for illustration). This electric field forces the moving electrons to flow in one direction: toward the moving metal plates lining the cell. This flow is known as power current, and the power current determines how much electricity each cell can produce. Once the free electrons hit the metal plates, the current will be directed into the wires, allowing the electrons to flow as they would have another source of electricity generation (step 2 of our process).
As the solar panel generates electrical current, the energy travels through a series of wires to the inverter (see step 3 above). While solar panels generate direct current (DC) electricity, most electricity consumers need direct current (AC) electricity to power their homes. The job of a transformer is to convert electricity from direct current to alternating current, making it available for everyday use.
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Once the electricity is converted into a usable mode (AC power), it is sent from the transformer to the electrical panel (also called the circuit breaker) [step 4] and distributed throughout the house as needed. Electricity is now available to power solar-powered lighting, appliances and other electronic devices.
Any electricity not consumed by the switch box is sent to the grid through the meter (our final step as described above). An electricity meter measures the flow of electricity from the grid to your property and back. When your solar power system produces more electricity than you use on site, this meter runs in the background and you are billed for the excess electricity generated by the grid system. When you use more electricity than your solar panel generates, it pulls extra electricity from the grid through this meter, making it efficient. Unless you’re going completely off-grid with a storage solution, you’re going to need to draw some power from the grid, especially at night when you’re awake. However, much of this grid capacity will be offset by excess solar energy produced throughout the day and during off-peak hours.
While the details behind solar power are highly scientific, it doesn’t take a scientist to tell the benefits a solar installation can bring to a business or homeowner. An experienced solar developer can walk you through these benefits and help you figure out if a solar solution is right for your business.
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Sunlight is made up of photons or particles of solar energy. These photons have different energy values corresponding to different wavelengths of the solar spectrum.
A photovoltaic cell is made of a semiconductor material. When photons strike a photovoltaic cell, they can be reflected from the cell, pass through the cell, or be absorbed by the semiconductor material. Only the captured photographs provide energy to generate electricity. When the semiconductor material receives enough sunlight (solar energy), electrons are removed from the material’s atoms. Special surface treatment of the material during manufacture makes the front face of the cell more likely to shift, or
The transfer of electrons, each negatively charged, to the front of the cell creates an electrical charge imbalance between the front and back surfaces of the cell. This imbalance, in turn, creates a voltage across the negative and positive terminals of the battery. The electrical wires in the cell attract electrons. When wires are electrically connected to an external load, such as a battery, electricity flows in the circuit.
The efficiency with which photovoltaic cells convert sunlight into electricity varies depending on the type of semiconductor material and the technology of the photovoltaic cells. The efficiency of commercially available PV modules averaged less than 10% in the mid-1980s, increasing to around 15% in 2015 and now approaching 20% for off-road modules. Experimental PV cells and PV cells for niche products such as space satellites have achieved almost 50% efficiency.
What Exactly Is Solar Energy And How Does It Work?
Photovoltaic cells are the basic element of a photovoltaic system. Individual cells can vary in size from about 0.5 inches to about 4 inches in diameter. However, one cell produces only 1 or 2 watts, which is enough electricity for small applications such as energy calculators or
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