■ How Do Solar Panels Work? Step By Step Guide.
➤ The earth Intercepts A lot of solar power 173 thousand terawatts that’s 10000 times more power than the planet’s population uses so is it possible that one day the world could be completely reliant on solar energy to answer that question we first need to examine
➤How solar panels convert solar energy to electrical energy solar panels are made up of smaller units called the solar cell the most common solar cells are made of Silicon semiconductor that is the second most abundant element on Earth in a solar cell is Crystalline silicon is sandwiched between conductive layers each silicon atom is connected to its neighbors by four strong bonds
➤ which keeps the electrons in place so no current can flow here is the key silicon solar cell uses two different layers of silicon an n-type has extra electrons and p-type silicon has extra spaces for electrons hole where there two types of silicon meet electrons can wander across the p/n junction leaving a positive charge on one side and creating a negative charge on another side You can think of light as the flow of tiny particles called photons shooting out from the sun
➤ when one of these Photon strikes the Silicon cell with enough energy it can knock an electron from its Bond leaving a whole the negatively charged electron and location of the positively charged whole are now free to move around but because of the electric field at the PN junction they only go one way the electron is drawn N-side while the hole is drawn to the P-side the mobile electron is collected by thin metal fingers at the top of the cell from there they will flow through an external circuit doing electrical work like powering a lightbulb
➤ Before returning through the conductive aluminum sheet on the back each silicon cell only puts out half a volt but you can string them together in modules to get more power
➤ Twelve photovoltaic cells are enough to charge a cellphone while it takes many modules to power entire house electrons are the only moving parts in a solar cell and they all go back where they came from there is nothing to get worn out or used up so solar cell can last for decades so.
■ what’s stopping us from being completely reliant on solar power?
➤ There are political factors at play not mentioned businesses that lobby to maintain the status quo but for now, let’s focus on the physical and logistical challenges, and the most obvious of those is that solar energy is unevenly distributed across the planet some areas are sunnier than others it’s also inconsistent less solar energy is available on cloudy days or at night so a total reliance would require
➤ Efficient ways to get electricity from sunny spots to cloudy ones and effective storage of energy the efficiency of the cell itself is a challenge too if sunlight is reflected instead of absorbed or if dislodged electrons fall back into a hole before going through the circuit that photon’s energy is lost
➤ The most efficient solar cell yet still only converts 46% of the available sunlight to electricity and most commercial systems are currently 15 to 20% efficient in spite of these limitations it actually would be possible to power the entire world with today’s solar technology
➤ We need the funding to build the infrastructure and a good deal of space estimates range from tens to hundreds of thousands of square miles which seems like a lot but the Sahara desert alone is over 3 million square miles in area
➤ Meanwhile, solar cells are getting better, and cheaper and are competing with electricity from the grid, and innovations like floating solar farms may change the landscape entirely through experiments aside there the fact that over a billion people don’t have access to a reliable electric grid, especially in developing countries many of which are sunny so in places like that solar energy is already much cheaper and safer than available alternatives like kerosene for saying Finland or Seattle, though effective solar energy may still be a little way off.