Every day the sun is shining and giving the Earth warmth and light. The energy from this sunlight is not detrimental for the environment, and it is free to have all the time. For a long time scientists have wanted to create something that could use this light and energy to create electricity. In 1941 Russell Ohl was credited for the invention of the solar panel after he created the silicon solar cell. Many of the early solar panels engineered did not create very much energy, “The earliest solar cells and panels that were created were extremely inefficient and the energy conversation received from the sun stood under 1%” (“Who invented”).
All forms of light contain energy. One common way people notice this energy is when light creates heat. An example of this is the hot Phoenix summers, when the bright sun heats up every surface it touches. However, light doesn’t only give off energy in this way, “…when light hits certain materials the energy turns into an electrical current instead, which we then can harness for power” (Locke). With this idea in mind, scientists needed to create a certain material to capture light and turn it into electricity. The oldest form of a solar panel used large crystals made out of silicon to produce electricity when exposed to light. Silicon is able to produce electricity because of the way its electrons react to the exposure of light, “Silicon can do this because the electrons in the crystal get up and move when exposed to light instead of just jiggling in place to make heat” (Locke). Newer materials have proven to use smaller cheaper crystals to create electricity. This includes a material known as copper-indium-gallium-selenide which has been used in the last decade. All these new materials may be cheaper and weigh less, but they don’t generate quite as much electricity as the classic silicon solar cells. Scientists have continued to try and make solar panels more affordable and efficient. They took an enormous step in this direction by using copper instead of silver for the grid on the solar panels, “Silver costs about $2000 per kilogram, while copper can be had for $10 per kilogram” (Locke). Even with these advantages, solar energy is still five times more expensive than electricity coming from coal power plants. Many scientists and political leaders are excited about solar energy. Many questions remain about the viability of solar energy in the competitive energy marketplace.
Electricity is very important in the continually advancing technical society many people live in today. This electricity creates a huge advantage, but generating it can be harmful to the environment. Solar energy is a very viable option to help with pollution free energy creation. Solar panels are better for the environment compared to gas or coal power plants and they are starting to become a more accepted way of getting electricity.
Solar energy produces clean energy with little to no pollution. Solar panels make energy from light, “When light hits certain materials the energy turns into an electrical current instead which can be harnessed for power” (Locke). This energy can be used effectively to power almost anything from cars to satellites. This energy comes at no cost in affecting the environment, “While generating electricity from sunlight, solar panels produce virtually no pollution, whereas burning fossil fuels releases large quantities of toxic gases into the atmosphere” (“Why are Solar Panels Necessary”). The sun is a renewable resource, making solar