How Do Solar Panels Work

The 19th century, or famously called the industrial revolution, gave birth to so many things that advanced science and technology. Inventions are everywhere, and every single day, people are trying to pave their way in making something better than those that they had at the present. It symbolized an era of movement and a time of great change. Indeed, the people succeeded in making their present our better future. But as Newton said, “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”.

We see the benefits; internet, transportation, medicine, research, infrastructures and so much more. At what cost? We may seem to be delighted with all these products of modern technology but something is paying in our behalf, and that is the environment. Because of the coal mines and coal factories in the 19th century the carbon dioxide level of the earth rose every single year and it is still growing as of today. We see its effects right around us; increasing global temperature, less crops, extreme weather conditions and new breed of diseases.  Is it worth it?

Environmentalism

Due to the present pressing issue of the environment, a new brand of philosophy was born. Environmentalism is a philosophy that advocates the idea of protecting the environment. It is a social movement that pushes and influences people to protect the environment. The government is not unaware. They know what is happening to planet earth that is why they all made a move. They drove themselves in creating national programs that would help protect the environment like the Kyoto Protocol. The United Nations with the cooperation of its member countries implemented laws that helped the environment in all ways possible. One of these movements was the search for renewable energy source.

Ever since the 19th century the people were using coal for power. This developed into power plants that supplies electricity to homes and infrastructures. But the effects were killing the planet slowly. In the process of boiling water to produce steam, the bi product, in the form of heat goes to the surroundings and stays there; like a pressure being built every single day. Today, the government is utilizing all possible power sources they could get their hands on, like sea wave energy, aero and hydro power plants but the most popular is the use of solar panels.

Solar panels are devices that collect the power of the sun and transform it into electrical energy. The electric power is then stored in a battery. Many households and establishments are using solar power already. They are trying to make an investment and save money in the long run.

How do solar panels work?

So how do solar panels work?Solar panels gather the sunlight in what we call solar cells. The solar cells are capable of transforming photons, or light energy, into electricity. It is usually connected to an external battery to store the energy. These external batteries are being charged by the electricity coming from the solar cells.

How do solar panels work?Thisprocessis called the photovoltaic effect. The energy coming from the photons transfer energy into the atomic structure of the solar panels causing the electrons to move rapidly and escape their electron orbit. Once these electrons move through a conductor, electricity is produced. Actually, moving electrons is electricity in itself. This idea was first observed by AE Bequerel, he found out that two metals that are soaked in acidic or basic solutions will release electrons once the metals are hit with sunlight. The solutions, whether acidic or basic, causes the sunlight to create an atomic energy transfer that moves the electrons out of their orbits.

These moving electrons flow through the conductors and to the external battery system to be stored and used for different purposes. It is not that easy to make solar panels. The materials itself are special semiconductors and non-magnetic elements. The electrical connections are not that simple too. They are usually connected in series, parallel or both. Series connections sums up the voltage output of each solar panel to produce the desired voltage, while parallel connections amplifies the efficiency of each solar panel for  them to work longer. The combination of the two circuit types are integrated on the panel itself that is usually made of wafer-based crystalline silicon. These panels produced direct current or what we call DC, so the users must also integrate an electronic transformer to transform DC to AC, or alternative current since most if not all appliances work using AC.

Asking ourselves how do solar panels work makes us think how people could have produced such king of technology. Well it made others think too, but they did something about it, these people are the ones responsible for manufacturing solar panels en masse. Solar panels are already being distributed for how many years now. Many buildings and households are already using this technology in order to save electricity in their respective properties. Many buildings attach their solar panels on the roof in order to maximize the sunlight being produced by the sun. Other facilities integrate the solar panels in mechanical towers that move towards the direction of the sun for the same purpose of maximizing sunlight. There are many famous facilities that use solar panels like the white house, the Eiffel Tower, Taj Mahal, The Vatican, and Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

Satellites also use solar panels. Since satellites are in outer space, the amount of sunlight being produced is almost enough to power these machines once converted to electric power.

The next time we as ourselves “how do solar panels work?” we might as well ask ourselves “what can we do?” The movement towards a greener future does not only lie with the government. It should be a joint movement of the government and the people. We should help because we are also affected by this problem we are facing. No one is not affected, not animals nor plants. All living things are affected by the degradation of the environment.

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