What is Solar Energy?| History, Future, and Advantages of Solar Energy

The Light and Heat that comes from the sun in the form of radiation is called Solar Energy, with the help of today’s modern technologies it is possible to convert Sun Energy into Electrical Energy. So in Today’s article, we will talk about various topics of Solar Energy like the History of Solar Energy, the Basics of Solar Energy, Solar Panels, and lots more. So stay tuned for complete information and knowledge of Solar Energy.

Solar Energy
Solar Panels Placed in Field

History of Solar Energy

Solar energy first came into discovery by French Physicist Edmond Becquerel.  He discovered the photovoltaic effect in 1839. The process in which electric current is produced in a photovoltaic cell when exposed to light or radiant energy is known as the photovoltaic effect. This is the first attempt of discovering solar power.

Solar Panels in rooftop of Newyork
World’s First Solar Panels on the Rooftop of Building in NewYork

Then comes the remarkable year 1883, In this year American inventor Charles Fritts invented the world’s first Solar cells by coating Selenium (SE) with a very thin layer of Gold (AU). His Gold coated selenium cell produces an electric current of continuous and constant force. Though the intensity and impact of the current are very low in today’s comparison but back in 1883 this invention grabbed the attention of different people and scientists around the world.

Solar Energy

After that,  experiments on solar cells continued for many years, then in the year, 1950 Bell Laboratories create a solar cell that was made up of Silicon instead of Selenium.  This cell proved more efficient than the Selenium-based cell. The efficiency of Silicon-based cells is 6 percent as compared to 2 percent of Selenium cells. The silicon-based Bell’s Solar cell was considered the first device which converts solar energy into electrical energy.

What is Solar Energy?

The most abundant source of energy on earth is solar energy. Solar radiation is light – also known as electromagnetic radiation emitted by the sun. It nourishes the plants we use for food and fuel and manages the wind and weather of the earth. But unfortunately, the earth absorbs nearly 70% of the solar power reaching its surface I.e. more than 173 thousand terawatts. This is ten thousand times more than the energy used by the total trees and plants of the earth. The huge amount of sun rays that strike the earth’s surface in an hour and a half is enough to handle the entire world’s energy use for a full year. So it is possible that one day the world will completely rely on sun energy.

Solar Energy
How Can We Harness Solar Energy

Solar energy can be harnessed by collecting the energy coming in the form of radiation and then turning it into electricity using solar cells. There are 4 different ways to harness solar energy using Photovoltaic panels commonly known as Solar Panels, Solar thermal, Natural Photosynthesis (BioFuels), and Artificial Photosynthesis. Additionally, solar power is a key solution in combating the current climate crisis, and global warming, and reducing our dependence on fossil fuels like coal, diesel, etc.

How Does Solar Power System Works

Solar power works by converting energy from the sun into electrical energy either through Photovoltaic panels commonly known as solar panels or through mirrors. This energy can be used to generate electricity or be stored in batteries or thermal storage. Let’s take a deeper dive:

How do Solar Panels convert Solar Power to Electrical Energy?

We get a solar panel by combining many solar cells, However, the common solar cell is silicon-based. A semiconductor is the second most abundant element on earth. So in a Solar cell, crystalline silicon is sandwiched between conductive layers, and each silicon atom is connected to its neighbors by four strong bonds, which keep electrons in a place. A silicon solar cell uses 2 different layers of silicon. N-type silicon has extra electrons and P-type silicon has extra spaces called holes. So when the two types of silicons meet electrons start moving around the PN Junction leaving a positive charge on one side and a negative on the other.

Working of Solar Panels

The sun rays (Photons) strike this silicon cell with enough energy so that it can knock down an electron from its bond, leaving a hole. The negatively charged electron and location of the positively charged hole are now free to move around. But because of the electric field at PN Junction, they’ll only go one way.

As a result, the electron is moving to the N side, while the hole is moving to the P side. This continues as long as sunlight shines on the solar cell. Finally connecting a wire between the top metal electrode and the bottom metal electrodes provides a pathway for electrons to move towards the holes. So the flow of electrons is an electric current.

One solar cell produces several watts of power, it is sufficient to run a mobile charger or a calculator but to use solar energy in much higher energy-consuming appliances like toasters, air conditioners,s, etc we need to understand the principle of power management. We will discuss this in another article.

Solar Park or Solar Field

What are Solar Parks and Solar Fields

A large area of land containing interconnected solar panels positioned together over many acres is known as Solar Parks and Solar Fields. The Solar park is used to harvest large amounts of solar energy at the same time.

Advantages of Sun Energy
  • Sun energy is a clean source of energy
  • It is a renewable and infinite energy source for five billion years.
  • Burning Fossil Fuels like Coal, Petrol, etc for energy create a lot of harmful greenhouse gases but solar Panels do not create any harmful greenhouse gases, Additionally, the carbon footprint of solar panels is quite small.
  • Solar power works even on a cloudy day because solar power requires only some level of daylight in order to harness the sun’s energy.
  • The rate at which solar panels generate electricity does vary depending on the amount of direct sunlight and the quality, size, number, and location of panels in use.
How much solar power United Kingdom Generates

The United Kingdom is the 7 largest producer of solar power after China, the USA, Japan, Germany, India, and Italy. The current highest peak of solar electricity generation recorded by the Electricity National Control Centre is 9680MW on 20 April 2020; this is enough to boil water in five million boiling kettles.

TAU Island

What is TAU ISLAND? How Solar Energy had Changed the life of the people of Tau Island?

Tau Island is an island with a population of about 790 people. Residents of Tau Island use fossil fuels for electricity generation. But In 2016 A clean energy company Tesla and Solar city teamed up together with a single aim of making Tau island a 100% solar-powered island.In the course of one year, 5,328 solar panels and 60 Tesla Power packs to store energy was set up on this island. Now the island is not dependent on diesel generators for its energy source. It costs $8 million dollars to run this whole island on Sun energy.

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