Solar Energy is the wave of the future. Its use has increased tremendously over the last decade. It is used in many different places and seems to be replacing the traditional methods of obtaining energy at an astounding rate. It’s really no wonder why we would embrace the concept of Solar Energy. There are various ways this energy is used and even more way in which it has benefited today’s society. Solar energy stands alone in its own class of sun powered energy. However, there are many diverse way as to how it can be used. Solar energy is the cleanest power generating systems today. It is not harsh on our environment making it a safe and wise choice. There is no pollution, noise, or hazardous waste as a result of this conversion of the sun’s energy. The electricity created is clean, reliable, and renewable. The use of Solar Energy also decreases our dependence on fossil fuel and other energy sources much less friendly on our environment by reducing greenhouse gases. Solar power systems are cost efficient and provide it’s users with fixed energy costs. As the use for this “clean energy” increases so does the development opportunities and local jobs.
The use of heat and light simultaneously obtained from the sun is a brilliant and beneficial asset to us on many different levels. Solar energy has propelled our economy and has driven us further into the future. It’s no wonder why we are relying more and more on this type of energy.
How we use Solar Energy
In order to utilize the sun’s energy, there must be some type of conversion for channeling. This device is called Photovoltaic (PV devices). It can also be referred to as “solar cells” which transform sunlight into direct electricity. These PV cells are individually grouped into sections which are used in a vast array of applications sometimes ranging from small single cells that are capable of charging small watches, to larger, more complex systems that are capable of powering homes and even expanding to power plants that may cover many acres of land. Photovoltaic is a method used to generate electricity through solar radiation while transforming direct electricity by using semiconductors which display photovoltaic effect. This power generation uses solar powered panels consisting of numerous solar cells of photovoltaic material. There are several materials used to make photovoltaics including copper indium gallium, polycrystalline silicon, cadmium telluride, monocrystalline silicon, and selenide/sulfide. As the demand for renewable energy increases, the development of photovoltaic systems and solar cells made astounding advancement over the past few years.
Photovoltaic systems or PV’s rely on solar panels in order to change light from the sun into usable electricity. “This system is made up of one or more photovoltaic (PV) panels, a DC/AC power converter (also known as an inverter), a racking system that holds the solar panels, electrical interconnections, and mounting for other components. Optionally it may include a maximum power point tracker (MPPT), battery system and charger, solar tracker, energy management software, solar concentrators or other equipment”. A compact PV system would provide enough energy for one consumer, or even to an isolated device similar to a small weather instrument of lamp. Larger PV systems connected on a grid can provide enough energy for a large number of consumers. This electricity can be used directly, stored, combined with other generators fed through a small grid (called a hybrid plant), can be either stored, used directly (island/standalone plant), or fed into a large electricity grid powered by central plants. These systems are specifically designed to guarantee that the best (highest) energy yield for a given investment in obtained.
Solar photovoltaics are one type of sustainable energy source used to convert sunlight into electricity. “By the end of 2011, a total of 67.4 GW had