Solar power is probably the cleanest, most viable form of renewable energy available today.
Solar panels convert light into electricity using arrays of solar cells (also called photo-voltaic cells). This electricity can then be used to power appliances in your home, or if you include a grid tie system you can actually sell unused electricity back to the grid.
Photo-voltaic tiles take the place of ordinary roof tiles and can be perfectly blended to fit the look of the outside of your house. Solar Energy has several advantages to the environment since it is clean, renewable (unlike gas, oil and coal) and sustainable. Governments are beginning to offer grants to assist in paying for photo-voltaic roof tiles, which should help making solar power more widely available in the near future.
Solar Panel uses
Solar panels currently make up only a very small portion of the world’s electricity production, mainly held back by the relatively high cost of purchase and installation. They have become routine in certain applications, such as powering devices in deserts and other remote areas. Many yachts and land-vehicles use them to charge on-board batteries away from grid power.
Incentive programs offering financial incentives like the ability to sell excess electricity back to the public grid have greatly accelerated the pace of solar power in some countries like Spain, Germany, Japan and the United States. Even with these incentives however, the start-up costs associated with solar electric panels can be quite substantial.
How Solar Panels work
Solar panels work by converting photons (light) into electrons (electricity). Photo-voltaic (PV) cells are made of special materials called semiconductors (such as silicon), consisting of a large-area p-n junction diode. When light strikes the cell, a certain portion of it is absorbed within the semiconductor material. This means that the energy of the absorbed light is transferred to the semiconductor. This energy knocks electrons loose, allowing them to flow freely, thus creating current (electricity). This current, together with the cell’s voltage (which is a result of its built-in electric field or fields), defines the power (or wattage) that the solar cell can produce.