As Technology evolves new terminology emerges, along with it comes a need to learn more about new concepts that get introduced almost daily. There is but another dilemma too, mostly a term gets thrown about in articles and media, it becomes common and general but little is known of its working or technical meaning. One such terminology is “Solar Energy”, the general public knows what the term means, energy produced by using sunlight, but not everyone knows how such energy is produced.
Solar means of the sun, any thing of or from the sun is termed solar. Energy means, the ability to do something. So, the ability to do something with the help of sunlight is Solar Energy. The core thesis of this article is the general know how of harvesting and using Solar Energy.
Usually, a Photovoltaic (PV) Cell is employed to harvest the sunlight to produce electricity. The PV Cell or tile uses a negative and a positive slice of silicone, fitted under thin glass sheets, to produce electric current. The protons from the sunlight hit the PV Cell they knock off the neutrons from the silicon. Small wires that are attached to the silicon plates then catch these free neutrons, theses wires when connected to a circuit then produce electric current. The construction of PV Cell is such that it has no moving parts, requires no oil changes or repairs etc. and it has a long life of approximately 40 years.
Most PV systems are made up of individual square cells approximately measuring 4 by 4 inches. Solely such cells produce very little energy so they are grouped together into modules. Such modules can then be grouped into large panels, encased in plastic or glass coating to be protected from the environment, weather and natural elements. These panels are then either used individually or in groups to produce electricity for house and/or businesses. Usually, these panels are attached to the existing grids provided by the electric companies, installed in most houses and businesses. Thus making the house or business hybrid.
There are three types of PV Cells:
• Single-Crystal Cells are made in shape of long cylinders of and than sliced into round or hexagonal wafers. This type of cell is the most expensive to make but its efficiency is the most also.
• Polycrystalline Cells are made of molten silicone into pieces or thin sheets which are then sliced into squares. This kind of cell is although less expensive to create but it is also not very efficiency is lower too.
• Amorphous Silicon (a-Si) employs a totally different approach. It is made by spraying silicon directly onto the glass or metal surface, making the whole module into a single step. But this is the least expensive and the least effective of all cell varieties.
It is a fact that the usage of solar energy produces no pollution, meaning it leaves behind no Carbon Footprints. It is the most probable, popular and viable future of energy generation. All of the earth’s fossil fuel reserves can be matched, energy production wise, by harvesting 20 straight days of sunlight all over the world. It is true that the production of PV cells is expensive and invasive but once a cell is produced its life span is up to 40- 60 years. All in all solar energy is the way to go for the benefit of all humanity and the protection and survival of the earth’s atmosphere. It is also very cheap and useful for the consumer too.