Solar panels are devices that are made use of in converting energy found in sunlight into electrical energy which can then be used at home for different purposes. They are made using an assembly of light sensitive cells that do the attraction of rays of the sun. To ensure generation of optimum amounts of energy for residential or commerce oriented use, they are used with large systems of photovoltaic cells. They can also be referred to as photovoltaic cells or photovoltaic modules.
Well, what is the history of solar panels? Their invention was the brainchild of A. E. Becquerel who was a famous scholar of Physics from France. He, in 1839, after years of research and experimenting, came to the realization that energy from the sun, through conversion, could be used for activities needing electricity. He came up with just the idea but did not do the actual design of the photovoltaic module.
He however did not work on the practical bit of his ideas and it was another Physicist, Charles Fritts, who developed the ideas and came up with the initial design. He used a coating of gold on the semiconductor used in the panels to enhance absorption. The devices made at the time were inefficient, with approximately 1% of efficiency but were still in use nonetheless.
Perhaps the most important aspect of the solar panels lies in their construction. The cells that trap sunlight are made using special conducting materials known as semiconductors. As implied in their name, these materials are partial in their mode of conductivity, the most popular being silicon. When stricken by light, a given percentage is absorbed by the semiconductor which implies that the energy that was possessed by the light gets transferred to the silicon. This is the energy that is used as electricity.
Perhaps the other very important aspect is their installation. On purchase, they come with mounts, which are the accessories used to install them. Positioning depends in entirety on the availability of sunlight and avoiding of obstruction caused by shadows, and as such the device should be placed in places for increased efficiency.
The costs of photovoltaic modules differ from place to place depending on a variety of factors. These include the age of the panels, technology and their quality. With advancement in technology comes increase in quality and hence higher costs. Effectively, they last for about 20 to 25 years on average.
The features that make solar panels attractive to people rely on their dependence on the inexhaustible energy from the sun. The maintenance costs are also minimal because there are no extra expenses incurred. Similarly, they are clean energy sources that do not pollute the environment and consequently reduce degradation of the surroundings. Ease with which they can be accessed is the other vital characteristic that makes them attractive. In general, they are cheap and can be afforded by many people.
Solar panels are not entirely advantageous and have some setbacks. Quality modules are expensive on initial purchase and therefore are difficult to obtain. Their dependence on sunlight may have been advantage but the fact that sunlight is not available all the time e. G. At night and during certain seasons makes it a disadvantage. At such instances the reliability becomes dubious. In terms of efficiency of solar financing, absorption is only at 40%, with 60% going to waste. This implies that their output is far below what is expected.
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