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The Conversion of Solar Energy into Electric Power

BY: Haripriya Munipalli | Category: Technology | Submitted: 2013-07-31 03:41:11
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Article Summary: "The efficiency of the conversion of photovoltaic cell is the measure of solar energy transformed into electrical energy through the photovoltaic device. The research involves improvement of conversion efficiency..."

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Solar energy is observed as a great power source that can be utilized in various areas like commercial, government, industrial and domestic purposes. The power generated through solar energy is used for pumping water in most of the African villages. The solar power will help the weather stations in Antarctic regions and also power the satellites functioning in the space. The solar energy functions by converting the energy of the sun into another form of energy called electricity. This conversion is performed by photovoltaic cells.

Sun is considered as a power plant present in the sky that provides sufficient energy to satisfy the power necessities of the world. The energy of the sun does not give out any carbon-dioxide, it is free of cost and the energy source will not get finished. The solar technology that is taught in the schools explains that silicon crystals are used to generate electricity from the sun rays. The solar energy is potentially converted into electricity by silicon. Silicon is very expensive. Recently, the materials like copper, indium, selenide and gallium are used for solar technology. These materials are found to be cheaper and smaller while they are not as efficient as silicon. A little quantity of the total electricity in the United States is contributed by solar energy. This is because, solar energy is expensive than coal, which is cheaper.

How will a solar cell convert solar energy into electricity?
The solar panels are prepared using solar cells. The solar cell is a semiconductor disk made of silicon. The solar cells are connected to one another by a wire and are united in a circuit in a solar panel. Many numbers of solar cells accumulate in a large area which works to provide sufficient power. The light that falls on the semiconductor will get transformed into electricity which travels through the circuit. The power production in the solar cells will stop when the light is not present.

The chemical bonds between the silicon atoms of the crystal are formed by the electron sharing among the atoms of the crystal. The sunlight will be absorbed and the electrons forming the bond will get excited and reach a higher energy state to move freely. These free electrons will start moving in the crystal and form an electric current that flows from the crystal. The solar plant will capture the light energy and the chemical bond is altered to generate fuel from the sunlight.

Efficiency of solar cells
There are two types of solar photovoltaic efficiency. They are solar cell efficiency and solar panel efficiency. The efficiency of solar panel is found to be lower than that of solar cells as there is some space between the cells. The covering with glass will reflect the sunlight to some extent and hence the efficiency of solar panel is reduced.

The measure of power that is available for the solar panels is equal to the light quantity that touches it. As more light reaches the panel more power is generated from it. If the solar panels are not aligned properly then they cannot concentrate several light rays.

The normal crystalline silicon cell will have the capacity to convert 22 to 23 percent of light energy into electricity. The power efficiency of the typical rooftop solar panels will be around 15 percent to 18 percent. The solar panels that are arranged on the satellites are found to have the capacity of generating around 50 percent of the solar energy into power.

The total power production from solar energy in 2004 in the United States was about one thousandth of the entire consumption in the country. Therefore, the technology has to improve and many more research studies have to be done to discover some non-expensive and convenient ways of using solar energy for the power generation.

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