What Is The Secret Behind Solar Panels?
March 15, 2019
You might’ve heard the words geothermal, hyrdopower, biomass, wind prsolar, and asked yourself: what are they? Simply put, they’re a group of renewable energy resources known as clean energy. These sources of energy expel zero emissions, unlike coal or oil, and are just as efficient and in most cases more efficient than their fossil fuel counterparts.
One of the most well-known source of renewable energy greets us every day when it shines its light over our hills, mountains and valleys: the sun. But how can an enormous ball of plasma give us energy 93 million miles away?
In two words: nuclear fusion. The sun releases energy in the form of photons. Those photons travel about 8 minutes in space before finally falling on our planet. Solar energy is “raining down” on us, and the invention of solar panels are built specifically to capture this precious energy source.
How Do Solar Panels Work?
Basically, solar panels contain atoms with electrons. When photons finally reach us and collide with the solar panels, the photons take a giant whack at the atoms and free them of their electrons. The aftermath of a photon’s grand slam generates electricity.
As you can imagine, this has been a boon to our quality of life. Per tonne of materials mined for nuclear and fossil fuels pale in comparison to the lifetime energy yield solar and wind give by as much as 100 times. Solar panels pay back the energy used to create them within the first year or two, only sweetened with decades of a serviceable lifespan.
Solar energy has only increased in use by the average citizen. As prices for solar panels decrease, and their yield and efficiency increase, more citizens opt for commercial solar panel installation as much as 20 percent a year in the past 15 years. And why not? Even now with 1.3 million solar installations, the United States is seeing a cumulative capacity of 40 gigawatts. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, 164 homes could easily be powered by at least 1 megawatt. In other words, 40 gigawatts can power 6,560,000 homes just in the U.S. Solar energy is raining down on us so much that in a single day, we’re receiving 10,000 times more energy than we currently use. The sun is just giving us 120,000 terawatts in a single day, who wouldn’t want to take advantage of a commercial solar panel installation? The sun isn’t even being compensated!