The sun is a great source of alternative energy, we all agree on that, yes? The basic issue lies in the conversion process from raw energy to usable electricity.
Plants have perfected this process, known as photosynthesis, through evolution. Solar technology has come a long way. Nowadays solar panels are more efficient in converting the sun’s energy into usable electricity.
It is nowhere near the plants’ capabilities but we make do with what we have, right? Solar panels 101 tell us the basics about how the sun’s energy is converted into electricity through solar panels.
Solar panels essentially represent the mechanical, artificial, and analog process to the biological process that plants have perfected millions of years ago.
In relation to the length of time with which humans first started using electricity, the idea of using the sun’s immense energy to generate electricity has actually been around for quite some time now.
As a matter of fact, the first photovoltaic effect was actually produced sometime around 1840, although it took another fifty years or so before a working solar cell was actually created.
Twelve years after that, a man named Albert Einstein has finally provided a thorough explanation of how the process actually works. Prior to this, no one really knows how the process works.
In fact, Einstein won the 1921 Nobel Prize for his work.
Shortly after World War II ended, the first multijunction solar cells were created.
Basically, when photons, which are largely present in sunlight, hit the surface of the cells, the photons are absorbed by a semi-conductor.
The most common semi-conductor used in these cells is Silicon. The absorption process causes the electrons, which are subatomic particles that carry a negative electrical charge, to come loose from the atom.
As a result of this process, an electrical current is then produced. In simple terms, this is how the sun’s energy is converted into usable electricity.
The most basic issue with those silicon solar panel arrays is the fact that they are not as efficient as you would want them to be.
A CPV or Concentrated Photovoltaic solar cell array, however, has an efficiency rating of more than forty percent.
This basically means that two-fifths of the sunlight that hits the surface of these kinds of cells are converted into electrical current, far more efficient compared to conventional cells. The best thing about this is the fact that technology still continues to improve.
Not long from now, a CPV cell array will have a grid parity equal to today’s fossil-fueled power plants. This essentially means that a single grid of solar cells is capable of producing energy that is equal to the amount of energy produced by a fossil fuel setup.
This technology can be achieved by developing new solar cells that have multiple layers.
Each of these layers will capture a different portion of the light spectrum since sunlight is actually made up of a variety of colors that the naked human eye cannot possibly perceive.