Solar energy has been around as long as our earth has existed. Our ancestors benefitted from the powerful nuclear reactor for many uses. From maintaining physical health from vitamin D to heating homes to drying clothes, the sun has benefitted civilizations abundantly. Our modern and tech smart generation had been able to harness solar energy into useful electric energy. Given that our generation consumes electricity as the main form of energy, the sun has emerged as one of the most preferred sources of alternative energies. The conversion from the sun’s raw heat and radiation energies to useful electricities occurs here on earth as researchers have invented mechanisms to do just that.
Solar panels are the main converters of the energy from the sun to electricity. These panels are equipped with special technology that allows them to do so. These panels are made of solar cells, also known as PV (Photovoltaic) cells which are able to convert light energy directly into usable electricity. Initially, this type of technology was developed for use on satellites which could not run on electricity derived from earth. However, after realizing the usefulness of these panels, the technology is now used on earth. These cells work by using the smallest particles in the universe, electrons.
The beauty of solar generated electricity is in its simplicity and safety which make it one of the most preferred methods of generating alternative energy. A PV cell is made of mostly silicon and other semiconducting materials coated with antireflective substances, and then are are put in between two electrical contacts. This set up allows optimal generation of electricity. All this is then protected by a sheet of glass. When the panel is struck by light, it is absorbed.
The energy is powerful enough to knock loose electrons on the atoms of the semiconductor, changing it from positive charge on one side to negative charge on the other. This difference of charge is the basis of conduction of an electric current. This current is run through a converter which is able to capture the electrical current into an electrical circuit. PV panels then generate direct current which cannot be used in homes or offices as is. Before it is usable, it must be changed into AC (alternating current) through an inverter. There are feedback mechanisms that go along with regulating the generation of energy. Sometimes, when a home or office is generating more electricity than their use demands, it is possible for them to contribute the left over units to the national grid.
Many homes and offices have realized the many benefits of installing solar panels on the roofs. In the long run, they tend to generate a great deal of savings on the electricity bill. However, the high initial costs of installing the solar panels are the major holdbacks for many who are considering having these installed. With time, it is expected that the technological costs that go into making these panels will go down. This then is going to be responsible for lowering the initial costs of these panels.