What are Solar Panels?
When talking about alternative sources of energy, solar panels are always a part of the conversation. However, most people would ask? This term can be a bit confusing.
So, what are solar panels? These are installations that are composed of many solar cells. These little cells absorb the solar rays in the atmosphere and then convert them to usable energy. The raw energy that the solar panels generate is then made usable through a conversion box that makes it safe for electrical equipment. Raw energy is not safe and usable for our electronic gadgets, even for those used for industrial purposes.
Maybe you’re asking again: what are solar panels and how does the sun affect its operation? The solar panel is dependent on the amount of sunlight available in a given time. This can also affect the output produced by the solar panel. A rainy weather will definitely reduce the energy for consumption. The same thing happens on an overcast day. The solar panel can still absorb sunlight in an overcast or rainy day. However, these won’t be enough to power the day-to-day activities even at home. This is one of the disadvantages of the solar panel. If the sun shines bright throughout the day, then you’d have an abundant source of power.
A single cell has a low output. When combined with a huge solar panel, this can provide ample energy to support a home. However, the output of a solar panel will also depend on the size, quality, and the number of the solar cells. What are solar panels and on what scale are they used? A usual solar panel has dozens of solar cells. Solar panels for home use are small in size. These are enough, however, to power the simple home appliances and give energy to be used for day-to-day activities. Industrial solar panels, on the other hand, are huge and have a very high output that can provide power to heavy duty machines. The solar cells that are in these industrial panels are expensive and compact. They have a bigger energy output compared to the common solar panels used at home, which makes them perfect for activities that require intensive power.
Different solar panel models and types can also yield different results. The output will depend on the model and the kind of power cells that these solar panels have. The cheapest solar panel won’t really have an efficient power supply. This being said, it is important to do a little investment and purchase solar panels with better quality. If you want to get better output, then it would be wise to spend on the solar panels and the equipment. However, you don’t have to purchase the most expensive solar panel available. Remember to stay within your budget. Focus on the performance and the durability of the solar panel.
Now, you can already answer the question on what are solar panels. You need not be confused since it’s just simple. The solar panel is an interesting and useful piece of equipment to many people and industries.
Fun Facts about Solar Energy
Kids of this generation have become more and more interested and curious about everything. Some are fascinated with the universe and space while others love exploring the natural environment. One of the most popular topics that kids love learning about is the sun and the energy it brings. Solar energy facts for kids have been one of the favorites. Especially nowadays, global warming seems to be very evident, making scientists believe that we should take care of our present sources of energy. Despite the fact that solar energy facts for kids may be found in the different science magazines, it is equally important for us to talk about this trending topic.
Let us start from the very beginning. The solar system is composed of several planets. It’s said that all planets, even before life was discovered, were all very hot and took a very long time to cool down. Amoeba and other single celled living organisms evolved into multi-celled organisms known to us as mammals, plants and reptiles. Of course, after millions of years, human beings have been the dominant species and have regulated the existence of all other living things. Many living things have gone to extinction but as the human population increased, there has been an even greater need for energy. At this point, humans have begun to look for energy sources and discovered oil. Because of this, the world has changed and it welcomed new technological advancements. But it’s not always good news. Burning of oil produces many risky residues that pose danger to our health. As a greater scope of problems is encountered, the more it has become a serious issue. This is when people started to look for more energy sources that are environment-friendly and clean. Here comes the use of solar energy.
But what is solar energy? Solar energy is defined as the energy coming from the sun. Below are some fun solar energy facts for kids.
- Solar energy as a renewable source. It still exists even at night!
- Environment-friendly. Solar energy does not produce carbon dioxide or other dirt emissions.
- Very useful. Used in heaters, powering cars, drying the clothes, powering fans, name it. Solar energy can provide it.
- Expensive. Some products made from this type of energy are usually expensive.
- Installed products. Having these products would mean lesser expenses.
- Business venture. If you were able to make a very good solar energy system, there is a probability that companies will purchase your invention. Now that’s a good inspiration for kids to study well and do well in school.
- Energy for life. With solar energy as your primary source of energy, you don’t need any other.
- Easy to operate. You don’t have to connect the solar panels to gas or power grids.
- Easy set-up. Remote areas can also benefit from easy solar energy set-ups.
- Slower speed. Cars with solar energy provide slower speed. Talk about safety.
- Minor repairs. This means longer life and lesser maintenance.
Indeed, caring for the environment is made more interesting with these solar energy facts for kids.
The Science behind how Solar Panels work.
Electricity is one of the most important, if not the most important utility men can’t live without. It has become an essential part of our lives. But nowadays, electricity charges have climbed continuously, making it such an expensive necessity. The good news is there are actually many sources of power that you can use as an alternative. These come from natural sources such as the wind energy generated by windmills or the most common of them all, heat energy from the sun. Electricity generated from the sun is called solar power. Sure, everyone knows that. But what most people are unaware of is how solar power works.
Whatever solar-powered device you’d like to use, all of them utilize the same concept to produce electricity. It’s almost similar to that of an outlet or batteries. In all cases, the power comes from the free flow of electrons in a circuit.
To fully be knowledgeable on how solar power works, let’s have some flashback from our high school chemistry. Pure silicon is known as the basic component in solar panels, same as that used in computers. Silicon, when bared of its impurities, becomes a perfect neutral surface for electron transmission. Silicon has eight electrons in its outer shell but carries only four to have a neutral state. This means that there is still some room for four more electrons. When one silicon atom connects to other silicon atoms, both will take on each other’s remaining electrons. This is a strong bond, resulting from years of combination in order to create a big piece of pure silicon. This pure silicon is then used to assemble solar panels.
This is where science becomes part of how solar power works. One should be aware that solar panels are made by the union of silicon with the other elements to create either negative or positive charges to generate electricity. An example of this process is if silicon combines with phosphorus. Since phosphorus has five electrons, it gains an additional electron aside from the eight electrons needed. That one electron cannot be left behind because it is bonded with the other phosphorus electrons. This means that the silicon-phosphorus plate is negatively charged. In order for these to produce electricity, silicon must also be combined to other elements. This would then create a positive charge. The two plates will be combined together with conductive wires between the two. The sunlight will send out energy particles called ‘photon’, which acts like a hammer in constant motion. Photons break the electrons present in the solar panels, thus generating electricity. This is how solar power works.
Solar panels have their pros and cons too. Same as other materials, it also has its own set of weaknesses. They may appear big but they generate only a little amount of electricity relative to other sources. The bigger the item that needs solar power, the greater the number of solar cells it would need. One factor that lessens the life of solar panels is infrared waves. But overall, it’s still a good alternative and a great way to help save the environment.