Solar energy is one of the most important sources of renewable energy available today. I counted more information about the sun’s energy.
How many times have you ever wondered about what works and how solar energy? In previous articles we have already talked about the solar panels, solar thermal and solar photovoltaics.
HOW DOES SOLAR ENERGY WORK?
There are two main ways of using solar energy, as heat source for solar thermal systems, the other as a source of electricity for solar photovoltaic systems. We will focus on this last application.
In principle the way in which the sunlight to convert into electricity is captured is by solar or photovoltaic panels.
These panels are formed by groups of calls solar cells that are responsible for transforming light energy (photons) into electrical energy (electrons).
These cells are connected together as a series circuit in order to increase the output voltage of electricity, or whether it will be 12 volts or 24. While several networks are connected parallel circuit to increase the capacity of electricity production you can provide the panel.
As the electric current type provided by solar panels is direct current, often an investor and / or power converter is used to convert the direct current into alternating current, which is what we usually use in our homes, jobs and businesses.
When we speak in Erenovable new discoveries or advances in science we usually refer to the discovery and development of new and better materials for manufacturing a solar cell.
A solar cell basically works as follows: the photons coming from solar radiation, impact the surface of the cell, where they are absorbed into semiconductor materials such as silicon. Photons hitting the freeing electrons from the atoms to which they belonged. Thus the electrons begin to flow through the material and thus produce electricity.
This basic operation is repeated whatever the material used in the solar cell , provided of course have conductive properties and light absorbing.
The solar cells are solar panels currently available on the market are made from silicon, very abundant in the planet semiconductor material, but also difficult to extract and synthesize, whereupon the resulting solar panels are usually expensive, heavy and difficult install.
For this reason scientists worldwide work continuously to find new materials that result in cheaper solar panels, efficient, lightweight, thin and able to have as many applications as to be able to be packaged in a spray.
So we see that working in the manufacture of solar cells with materials such as copper, indium, gallium and selenium and even germanium. The latter gives the best results in efficiency but are expensive to manufacture, with which its use is restricted to entities such as NASA. It also made calls double or triple junction cells, which use several additions, thin layer, use technology or dye-sensitized dye-sensitized solar cell, hybrid materials and nanotechnology.
ADVANTAGES OF SOLAR ENERGY
Energy presents a number of very obvious advantages over other types of energy, such as that which comes from fossil fuels. Solar energy is a renewable energy that uses the energy provided by the sun. The sun is an inexhaustible source of energy, so its energy production is cyclical and never ends. Solar energy is also clean energy. In fact, it is considered one of the cleanest energy sources.
To produce solar energy need not spend natural resources and not make any chemical or combustion process. Emits virtually no greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, it does not contribute to climate change and greenhouse ol not have the problem of storage of pollutants. Also, it does not produce noise pollution, not cause odors or fumes, etc.
Solar panels require a significant outlay, but they have a very long shelf life and require little maintenance costs. A solar panel has a lifespan of about 30-35 years. There are different types of solar panels that can be fitted with different objectives and different scales.
For example, photovoltaic solar energy is used to create electricity, solar thermal energy produces heat, while thermal generating heat and electricity on a larger scale. No doubt also that solar energy is a step forward for self-sufficiency, something that all humans should aspire. For example, the use of solar panels could be very useful in remote areas and disadvantaged where not reach the usual wiring.
DISADVANTAGES OF SOLAR ENERGY
It is true that, as we have seen, solar energy has many advantages, it also has some less positive aspects or still to be polished. On one hand, solar energy requires high initial investment.
Reduced price though, solar panels and facilities to harness energy from the sun are quite expensive, although manufacturers say are amortized over 10 years.
Moreover, in many places self-sufficiency rates by solar energy are also very high, so you get profitability seems complicated.
Moreover, it is a kind of energy that depends on the weather or time of year where we are, that is, does not produce the same amount of energy regularly, although they can be stored for use during periods of increased scarcity of sunlight. Moreover, there is the landscape impact caused by solar panels, especially large-scale installations.
Notable, finally, many suitable sites for installation of solar energy are places arid and desert, usually far removed from civilization or places of energy consumption, so you need to transport such large infrastructure power.
In any case, the disadvantages are correctable and are much less important than its advantages. A pity that, for now, does not exploit or a small part of what this energy can bring us.
SOLAR ENERGY PRESENT AND FUTURE
The great challenge of the future is in organic solar cells , which are cells that are made based on organic polymers, such as certain types of plastic, which has the same driving properties than silicon but can be “printed” or ” paid “on almost any type of material.
The compounds of organic solar cells are cheaper to manufacture, lighter and easier to install. The great disadvantage of it that have not yet reached the level of conversion efficiency with silicon panels. Although we continually see that scientists manage to increase this level of efficiency, this occurs at the moment in controlled laboratory settings and there is still enough to reach shopping destination.