Developments In Solar Cells And Panels
First observed in 1839, the photodiode is the mode for operation utilized in all photovoltaic devices for the transduction in light energy. Concentrated Photovoltaics (CPV) directly converts solar power into electrical power through a process called the photovoltaic effect. The idea is solar energy hits a charged cell freeing electrons which remain trapped between the two oppositely charged (+/-) cells bouncing around until pulled by a metal attractant in a one way direction in current flow.
Initial solar cell (photovoltaic cell) technology was inefficient and crude. However, developments in theories and new building materials are providing more efficient, less expensive methods for solar cell construction. As the prohibitive costs continue to decline, solar cell buying and utilization will increase.
Size in the panels is shrinking, as well. Power harnessing which used to take a few miles of solar panels will soon be only a few hundred yards as solar panels get smaller. Newer materials and advances in technological are enabling compact panel designs while increasing efficiency.
A byproduct, sometimes unwanted, from the photovoltaic process is heat energy. Mounting for solar panels is done so as to allow for their cooling down via airflow optimization. Ground mounts or roof mounting can be employed depending upon the mount, as well as the size of the panel. Smaller mounts are available for RV’s and there’s even mini mounts available for solar power loving motorcycle riders.
Dual layered, wafer thin silicon pieces which conduct a charge are a solar power cell type called crystalline cells. These include cell phone chargers, lanterns and bike lamps which use crystalline cells to generate electricity. The cells also store energy for later use and last about 22 years. Currently, the energy life for solar cells is between 20-25 years but through more stable material construction this will increase as well.
Another silicon solar cell type is the amorphous cell. Basically, these are very thin, multiple silicon alloy layers made by vapor deposits. The amphorphous cells are able to absorb many different light wavelengths producing great power from a lighter cell. Another advantage for amphorphous silicon cells over their crystalline cell counterparts, is they don’t break as easily. This makes amphorphous silicon cells more travel friendly and a better option for mailing.
Different construction materials and light types for solar cells are currently being developed. Night-time solar panel power will be facilitated by collaborative infrared cell usage. Clear solar panels are just around the bend. Ultraviolet solar panels will be able to collect the UV spectrum while allowing typical light through. Glass panes may soon be replaced with clear UV solar panels. Imagine the savings on your electric bill if all your windows were solar panels. What a tremendous savings in power costs!
Solar energy is power. Power to lower your utilities, as well as damage to the environment. A renewable energy source which is clean and kind allowing more people to live a greener lifestyle. In this era of renewed environmental awareness, solar energy and solar cells are two methods for change we should all consider.