Solar Energy

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What is Solar Energy and how is it generated?

For Billions of years, the sun has produced energy. Solar energy is energy that is taken from the sun and converted into electrical energy. Energy that comes from the sun is in the form of solar radiation and it is also a renewable energy source. To generate solar energy, photons radiated from the run to the earth are collected and then converted into a usable format which is then delivered to an electronic device or an electric grid. To collect the energy from the sun and convert it into electricity, arrays of photovaltiac cells are used. An inverter is then used to change the electricity from the photovoltiac array into a format that could be used to power many devices and to make sure the voltage level is the same. Lastly, the power can be passed down to the electrical grid or straight to a home, business and any other place to use immediatly. Some systems have the ability to move the array of cells so they can stay in the best place to collect the most solar energy.

Solar Energy has many uses and all these uses are very important parts of our daily lives.Solar energy is used for things like heat and electricity. When solar energy is converted into heat energy, it can heat water or spaces like homes or buildings. You could even cook food with solar energy! One of the world's largest solar energy projects have are the solar farms in Sarnia and Sault Ste. Marie. They plan to produce enough electricity to power about 9000 homes. Did you know that solar cells provide the energy used to operate solar satellites that orbit the Earth? These solar satellites provide us with satellite tv, telephones, navigation, the weather, the internet, and so much more! The Solar one power station in California uses the sun's heat to make steam, and a generator that makes electricity.


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Solar Energy Diagram
















History of Solar Energy

People have used solar energy for centuries. As early as the 7th century B.C., people used magnifying glasses to focus the light of the sun into beams of light so hot that they would cause wood to catch on fire. In 1838, French Scientist Edmond Becquerel was the first to observe how light could be turned into energy. Becquerel soaked two metal plates in an electricity-coducting solution and when he exposed one of the plates to sunlight, he found that there was a small potential difference between the plates.


After Becquerl's discovery, many scientists began to explore into solar energy and started to invent things that work using solar energy. For example, in 1958 space programs began to build satellites with solar panels. The Vanguard I was the first satellite that used solar energy to produce electricity. Mirrors and glass were used to collect heat in ancient times, but the first houses to use solar heating were not built until 1955. Solar energy is actually older than fossil fuel technology too.Solar energy is becoming more popular and as usual technology is getting better so in the future, solar panels will most likely be used for electricity more.

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The Pros and Cons of Solar Energy
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Pros


  • Solar energy is a good source of energy for small devices. For example, calculators.
  • Solar panels have low maintenance and will last for a long, long time.
  • Solar energy does not need fuel and saves you money.
  • Solar energy is clean, renewable, and does not hurt the environment.
  • It doesn't contribute to global warming or acid rain.
  • Solar energy doesn't pollute the air with by giving off carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and mercury like other forms of energy generators.
  • If there is a power outage, it wouldn't affect you because solar energy works independantly.
  • Extra solar panels can be added on easily.
  • They work without making noises, doesn't give off any smell of any type, and has no moving parts.
  • Solar energy is helpful in isolated areas.

Cons

  • Solar cell efficiency is low, so a lot of photoelectric cells need to be used, which basically takes up a lot of areas of land.
  • Currently, solar energy is the most expensive energy source.
  • The amount of sun that hits the earth is not always constant.
  • Solar powered cars have a lower speed than regular cars.
  • Solar panels need big areas for installation in order to have a good level of efficiency.
  • The efficiency of the solar panels depend on the location of the sun.
  • The making of solar energy is influenced by the company of clouds or pollution found in the air.

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Solar Cells
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A solar cell is the device used to convert
sun energy straight into electricity. Solar cells are mostly made using silicon and contain photovoltaic cells. A solar cell has specially treated layers that make current when exposed to sunlight. The layers found on a solar cell are protective cover glass, an antireflecting coating to let light in and trap it, metal contact grid to collect electrons, a silicon layer to release electrons, another layer of silicon to absorb the electrons, and another metal contact grid to collect electrons at the bottom. Solar Modules are several cells connected together and Solar Arrays are several modules connected together. Solar Modules are also known as Solar Panels and because solar modules collect limited amounts of solar energy, they are connected together to make solar arrays. Solar modules and arrays have many uses like powering calculators, telephone booth lights, and even the International Space Station.















Why choose Solar Energy over any other type of power source?



external image solar_energy_pros_and_cons.jpg Solar energy has a very rich history and is very useful in remote areas. Many other forms of power generation are either releasing pollution or are not always constant. Solar energy is one type of renewable energy source that we all know won't be affected because the source of solar energy is the sun. Although solar energy is expensive, it'll be worth it because once solar panels are installed you won't need to worry about them working or not because the solar panels are independant. Solar energy is very environmentally friendly and does not contribute to green house gases, etc. Some sources of energy cause pollution or are very toxic but solar panels do not release any kind of pollution in the air. Solar panels also work quietly, they don't give off bad odors and they don't have any moving parts to them. Once the solar panels are installed, the modules start to produce energy and no maintenance is necessary.


Bibliography

external image solartowersize.jpgexternal image osakasolar.jpg The Future of Solar Energy Generation: Solar Towers!