In the 1800s, solar energy was first used. As a source of power for the home, solar energy hasn't proliferated as it has with calculators and wristwatches. The use of solar power experienced fits and starts in the last century, especially whenever the U.S. experienced oil crises or embargos. But its proliferation has not yet been accomplished, mainly due to its cost.
Here in the 21st century, renewable energy has once again become a hot topic. Steps are needed to save our planet, including using fewer fossil fuels. Since the sun is an abundant energy source, we need only to harness a portion of its solar power to meet our present energy demands. In fact, if just 4 percent of the earth's entire desert area contained solar panels, it would supply all of the electricity the world needs.
By utilizing solar panels, it is possible to tap into the sun's energy source. To fully comprehend how solar panels work requires a background in chemistry. In layman's terms, however, each panel is a collection of photovoltaic (PV) cells. The inner content of each PV cell is highly-purified silicon.
Silicon acts both as an insulator as well as a metal. The PV cells create solar power by converting sunlight to electricity. When sunlight hits the panel, electrons are dislodged. This creates an electrical current that can be used or stored. Storing excess power is a problem with solar energy because the sun does not shine all the time and PV cells do not store power. The solution is deep cycle rechargable batteries, which can store power harnessed from the sun.
PV cells perform the electric conversion silently and without pollution, and the solar panels do not emit any radiation. Solar power is generated with no moving parts; therefore, the panels require no maintenance. Each of the 14 types of PV cells is made of some kind of silicon.
It is now most common to use solar panels as a supplemental energy source for utility customers, rather than as their sole energy source. Solar panels can be built right into your building's roof or its windows. Facades and canopies are also suitable applications.
New kinds of solar panels are now being researched. The goals are increased effectiveness in harnessing solar power, as well as reducing its cost. When that time comes, we can take advantage of all the power the sun has to offer.