Solar panels seem pretty simple, right?
They just gather the sunlight and turn it into electricity solar cells. A moment or two goes by and you start to realize that you might not understand.
Then you start to think about how the panel actually makes that process happen. It gets a little more complex than the simple transfer of light to electricity. It’s an important thing to understand, though, and we’re going to help explain it today.
So, how do the best solar cells turn sunlight into storable power? Let’s take a look.
Photovoltaics and Sunshine
Photovoltaics are the most common type of solar panel. Whether you’ve got a legitimate solar panel on your roof or you’re using a solar-powered device of some kind, odds are that you’re using photovoltaics.
The smaller unit of this technology is called a photovoltaic cell. The beauty of photovoltaics is that they convert sunlight into electricity without the use of any mechanical system.
Instead, the surface of the cell attracts and absorbs the sunlight. Sunlight transfers through the multiple layers of the cell and interacts with semiconductors.
These semiconductors allow electrons to flow. The channel provided by the semiconductors sends the harnessed photons into a small circuit. As they move, some of the photons shed electrons, generating a small electrical discharge.
When the photovoltaic cell connects to positive and negative electrodes, the circuit is created and allows the electrical current to exist.
Home Solar Energy Systems
The electricity harnessed in the photovoltaic cell isn’t ready for use quite yet.
As it’s gathered and sent through the circuit of the solar cell, the energy has a direct current. Homes utilize alternate current electricity, so you need to purchase an inverter.
The inverter takes direct current (DC) energy and inverts it into alternate current (AC) energy. Interestingly, most appliances and devices require that energy to be inverted back into direct current.
The reason electricity needs to be inverted is that direct currents are more difficult to adjust and manipulate for various needs. Most of the products that require electricity have unique needs when it comes to voltage. Your television, for example, might need a different voltage than your cell phone charger.
It’s expensive and difficult to manipulate direct current to those particular voltages. Alternate current, on the other hand, is much more malleable.
Different Types of Solar Cells
We think of solar energy in terms of solar panels most of the time. The same technology is used in millions of devices in our everyday lives, though.
The beauty of photovoltaic cells is that they’re incredibly small. They manipulate the presence of photons and electrons in an extremely reliable way, and that process occurs on a very tiny scale.
That also means that you can transplant this technology to just about anything, so long as there’s room for a small inverter. That’s why you get solar cells on watches, toys, and more.
Some of these cells work better than others. A cell used for portable solar power is going to work a lot better than the one on your watch. The Jackery 500 is a great example of a solar battery with a high-quality cell.
It’s important to note that solar power works just as well as any other kind of power so long as you have enough of it.
A solar battery can be very useful in a number of situations. Individuals who do a lot of camping or live off of the electrical grid can enjoy free energy for a long time.
You simply need sunshine. Relying on solar batteries is difficult when there are a lot of clouds or you live in a place without a lot of direct sunlight. That said, most places offer enough sunlight to charge your solar battery at some point during the day.
You can then store that energy and use it whenever you need to. Depending on the quality of your battery, you might have enough power to run your computer over the course of the full workday.
As you scale your solar energy consumption up with panels, batteries, and other solar applications, you might find that you can generate enough power for your entire house.
The Potential of The Solar Industry
Solar power is an entirely renewable source of energy. If we were to harness solar power to the best of our abilities, humanity could power itself in an entirely sustainable way.
Many individuals and companies are starting to take this approach. It’s not the dominant source of energy, though. Even though experts say we’re tumbling toward irreversible climate change, we still rely heavily on fossil fuels.
The carbon emissions of fossil fuels are one thing, but a massive contributor to climate change is the number of emissions used simply to transport our fossil fuels. Sunlight, on the other hand, speeds into our atmosphere free of charge.
Using a solar battery does good for the environment but your wallet might be the first thing that sees improvements.
An investment in the best solar cells will pay for itself. This is especially true if you’re making the change to your home’s energy system. Solar panels have a long lifespan and will continue to provide power for decades.
Their productivity decreases with time, but each ounce of energy that your panels harness takes a little bit off of your electricity bill. Over the course of a few years, you’ll find that the cost of installation gets repaid.
After that, you’re saving money every single day. You also get a more intimate understanding of where your power comes from and how to fine-tune your relationship with your home and energy usage.
Want to Learn More About Renewable Energy?
We hope our look at the best solar cells was useful to you. There’s a lot more to learn about solar energy and different types of Renewable Energy , though. We’re here to help you learn more.
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