Solar Power

Basics:

  • This is a completely renewable source of energy.
  • It works via the photovoltaic effect which is exhibited by certain semi-conductor particles.
  • Most solar cells are highly purified wafers of silicon with traces of other elements that allow it to function as semiconductors to produce electricity.
    • A typical solar cell has a thickness ranging from less than a human hair to the thickness of a sheet of paper.
  • A solar panel is just a panel upon which many solar cells are wired together to produce electricity from sunlight.

Photovoltaic effect:

  • When photons agitate the particles within semi-conductors these particles ionise.
  • The resultant charged particles are conducted onto metal strips which are joined to each other across a component or other to generate a current.
  • It releases a direct current which can be changed into AC using a power inverter.
    • A rectifier can be used to convert AC current back into DC current.

Products which can use solar power:

  • These include torches, digital watches and even satellites.

Advantages:

  • Solar power is a renewable resource.
  • Solar power is non-polluting.
  • The energy and heat from the sun is free.
  • Solar cells require very little maintenance because they have no moving parts:
    • Unless said solar cell was mounted on a panel that rotates as the sun moves across the sky.
  • Solar cells can last a lifetime.

Disadvantages:

  • Solar cells are very expensive to make.
  • Solar cells have a rather low efficiency.
  • Solar cells cannot produce electricity when there is no sunlight.
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