A solar cell is a device that converts the energy of sunlight directly into electrical energy by the photovoltaic impact. At times the term solar cell is reserved for devices intended especially to capture power from sunlight such as solar panels and solar cells, even though the term photovoltaic cell is utilised when the light source is unspecified.
The term “photo” derives from the Greek word for “light,” and the term “voltaic” comes from the word “volt” which means “electrical force.” A “cell” is a modest receptacle or container containing electrodes which create power.
Thus, a photovoltaic cell is a container that creates electric force, through light.
Whereas a solar cell can generate electrical energy from any light source, its intended use is the collection of solar power from the sun.
How a Solar Cell Works
The solar cell works as follows:
Photons (which are particles of light in sun rays) hit the surface of the solar cell and are absorbed a semiconductor, such as silicon.
These photons (bits of sunlight) knock electrons loose from the atoms inside the semiconductor.
The photons then push the electrons along, leaving a “gap” in the atom. An additional electron is then pulled from an adjacent atom to fill the gap. And so an electrical flow is generated.
The simplicity of this is that one atom has an additional electron, and the other atom is missing one. This is referred to as a “difference in potential.” Nature, wanting to remain balanced, tries to even items out by pulling another electron from the neighboring atom.
A solar panel is comprised of a group of solar cells which are linked together to generate the desired amount of electrical energy.
A group of solar cells linked together can also be referred to as a “module.” Thus the terms “solar panel,” and “solar module,” are synonymous to each and every other, and basically mean the precise identical factor.
“Solar panel” is the a lot more common term, and “solar module” is the technical term.
1 can use solar panels individually or one can link a number of together in order to generate more electrical energy. When a group of solar panels are linked together, it is named a “solar array”. The much more solar panels are included in a solar array, the far more power they generate.
Solar Power is a clean and practically unlimited source of power. I say “practically unlimited” due to the fact the sun itself won’t last forever. But we won’t have to be concerned about that for the subsequent few billion years.
Considering that solar power is a clean energy source which has been about for decades, one might wonder why its not used more. The answer to this lies partially in the price of producing solar panels, as well as in the efficiency of the solar panels.
We are at present in the second generation of solar panel technologies and verging on the third. A lot has changed considering that the initial generation. Solar panels a are becoming a viable source of clean energy.
The solar cells of earlier occasions had been comparatively big and bulky compared to our present models. In view of the quantity of power and material necessary to produce them, and the amount of energy they actually created, it was a lot more pricey to use solar energy than to use fossil fuels. The only exception was in areas where little or no fossil fuels were available, such as in space.
With the second-generation solar cells, we attempted to tackle this exact dilemma. We attempted boost manufacturing techniques so as to minimize the costs, supplies and power necessary for the production of solar cells.
Lately, key advances have been created in the production of solar cells, which have decreased production expenses.
One contribution in this region was the development of strategies to coat glass or ceramic materials with very thin layers of semi-conductive substances. This made it feasible to produce solar panels making use of only a fraction of the semi-conductive material that was required earlier. The production of solar panels making use of this second-generation technology is referred to as “Thin Film Technology.”
Third-generation solar energy technologies are presently becoming researched and developed. The objective is to boost the power of solar cells even further (even though keeping production costs to a minimal) in which case thirty to sixty percent of the sunlight hitting the panels will be converted into electricity. (At present, solar panels convert only about twenty percent.)
But regardless of third generation solar technologies, the second-generation solar cell is efficient adequate to make solar technologies viable – and a host of new solar-powered merchandise have hit the consumer marketplace.
Solar-powered calculators have been in use for a even though now, we’ve all noticed them. We have even observed a few other novelty devices. But only in the last couple of years have solar devices come into significant and practical use.
The last two years in certain have seen a virtual explosion of solar devices hitting the marketplace. Solar flashlights (I’ve often wandered what use they had been), solar-powered radios, and, lately, solar battery chargers.
One can also now find a wide range of portable solar chargers and panels, which are lightweight and effortless to transport, however capable of providing a decent quantity of power in even the most remote places. Solar chargers are becoming a regular portion of wilderness survival kits and emergency preparedness kits.
All of this is a result of the developments in solar cell technologies, and the coming of the Solar Age.
Anna is the webmaster of Portable Solar Chargers, which is devoted to helping individuals find the right portable solar power devices to suit their wants, and Living Clean, where you can locate additional information about living in a much less toxic world.
Locate More Solar Cell Articles