Solar Power In Depth
solar power is one of the most promising forms of alternative and renewable energy and ways of going green, as the sun outputs immense amounts of energy. In fact, the energy the sun gives off in just one second could power a large nation for almost a year. If just a miniscule amount of the sun’s energy could be harnessed for useful purposes, the human race would be set for eternity, or at least until the sun goes out.
The primary way that sunlight is converted in to energy, mainly electricity, is through the employment of solar cells. These devices, also known as photovoltatic cells, utilize the photoelectric effect as their method of conversion. Albert Einstein won his Nobel Prize for describing this effect, in which matter emits electrons after absorbing electromagnetic radiation, which includes light from the sun. The electrons released can be harnessed as usable energy, and this is the property that makes solar power possible.
Individual solar cells
can be used to power relatively small devices, like calculators, but for larger applications, photovoltaic modules are required, which are comprised of several solar cells linked together. In Europe, several photovoltaic power stations have been built to collect large amounts of energy, and additional, greater stations are planned for the future. Currently, the amount of power generated is proportional to the number and size of photovoltaic modules employed.
Scientists are working to find ways to make solar panels more efficient, as then less area will be required to generate the same amount of power. Ideally, when enough research is conducted, solar cells will reach an efficiency great enough to supply all of our power. The vast majority of the sun’s energy is wasted, so it is important that we find a way to take advantage of some portion of it. Imagine a world where our cars, homes, and businesses are powered exclusively by the sun. Now that’s clean and green energy.
The author works with Green Experience
, a blog centered around green environmental issues
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