Solar energy

Solar energy is a renewable energy type converted into usable electricity. The photovoltaic effect initiates a flow of the electric current in the silicon to produce clean solar energy.

Solar energy is an infinite, renewable, and clean energy source. Solar energy uses the sunlight to supply electricity, heat, hot water, air-conditioning for homes and businesses. One of the obstacles to using sun energy more has been the solar panels installation cost. Now with the technological improvements, the cost of switching to solar systems is rapidly going down making the solar systems more available. This tendency is beneficial for fossil fuel emission reduction.

Solar energy is a limitless and clean power source coming from the sun, the most abundant energy source on the planet. The total amount of solar energy reaching the Earth each moment is over 10,000 times more than it is necessary for the planet. Photovoltaic solar panels converting the sunlight into usable electricity are the most common technique to capture solar energy. In 1955, the efficiency of the first solar panels was about 4%, the new technologies have made it possible to reach the efficiency of 15-20%. Solar energy is becoming a more common solution for households and enterprises in different parts of the world for climate change and fossil fuel dependence reduction. 

 

Technologies to develop solar energy:

  • Photovoltaic systems

  • Solar water heating

  • Sun heat generation for electricity production

  • Passive solar

 

Photovoltaic effect

Electricity generation from solar panels became possible due to the “photovoltaic effect” discovered in 1839 by Edmond Becquerel. A solar panel consists of silicon cells, a semiconductor allowing to create an electric current when absorbing the sun radiation. Sun starts the silicon motion and electric current flows. A solar inverter uses direct current (DC) electricity to create alternating (AC) electricity. 

 

Advantages of using solar energy

  • Reducing carbon footprint. Silicon is non-toxic and solar energy does not produce carbon emission with the exception of the panels production phase helping the planet reduce the climate change effects.

  • Renewable energy. Solar energy is available infinitely. Enough photons are generated every hour for the global provisions for the whole year. 

  • Reducing electricity bills. After installing the solar technologies the electricity obtained from them is free.

  • Low maintenance. Solar panels only require to be cleaned sometimes, the inverter should be changed only once in 5-10 years. Other than that most solar energy systems do not require any additional expenses and have a warranty for 20-25 years. 

  • Additional value to the building. A home generating its electricity is definitely more attractive to potential buyers. 

  • Various applications. Solar energy technology has become a great solution for electricity generation in the regions without access to the energy grid and even for space satellite power. 

  • Improvements in solar technologies. Constant innovations in the solar power industry make the technology more effective, reduce the installation cost each year, and very soon may multiply the results achieved. 

 

Disadvantages of using solar energy.

  • The initial cost of the solar system. Even though the prices are constantly reducing, still many cannot afford them so far. 

  • Weather dependency. The amount of energy produced depends on the sunlight and cannot be collected effectively on rainy, cloudy days, in winter, and at night. 

Suitability. Solar panels will not work effectively for every building and their usefulness is worth to be checked in advance. A flat north-facing roof with the trees or other buildings creating shadows will probably be not such a good place for the solar panels.