Ean GoodguySeptember 7, 201812880
Solar panels get energy from the sun. This energy, in the form of heat and light, sustains all life on Earth, drives the Earth's climate and weather and is predominately responsible for the class of resources collectively identified as renewable energy. Solar energy also broadly relates to technologies that use sunlight. The applications are various and date back millennia. The Greeks, Native Americans, and Chinese warmed their structures by orienting them to the sun.
In Europe, farmers applied elaborate field orientation and thermal mass to enhance crop yields during the Little Ice Age. Modern solar technologies proceed to harness the sun to produce water heating, daylighting and even flight. Solar power generally describes technologies that convert sunlight into electricity and in some cases thermal or mechanical power.
In 1866, the French engineer Auguste Mouchout, fortunately, powered a steam engine with sunlight. This is the earliest known example of a solar-powered mechanical design. Over the next 50 years, inventors such as John Ericsson, Charles Tellier, and Frank Shuman advanced solar powered devices for irrigation, refrigeration, and locomotion.
The descendants of these early developments are concentrating solar power plants. The modern age of solar power appeared in 1954 when researchers at Bell Laboratories developed a photovoltaic cell proficient in effectively converting light into electricity. This breakthrough signaled a fundamental change in how energy is produced. Since then solar cells efficiencies have increased from 6% to 15% with experimental cells reaching capabilities over 40%. Prices, on the other hand, have declined from $300 per watt to less than $3 per watt. The utilization of solar energy and solar power traverses from traditional technologies that contribute food, heat, and light to power which is uniquely modern. The diversity of design and the long history of solar energy are manifest in a wide assortment of applications.
Many technologies utilize solar energy. Some classes of solar technology are active, passive, direct and indirect. Active solar systems use electrical and mechanical elements such as tracking mechanisms, pumps, and fans to prepare sunlight into usable outputs such as heating, lighting or electricity. Passive solar systems use non-mechanical techniques of controlling, converting and distributing sunlight into usable products such as heating, lighting, cooling or ventilation. These techniques comprise of selecting materials with favorable thermal properties, designing spaces that naturally circulate air, and referencing the area of a building to the sun. Direct solar generally regards to technologies or effects that involve a single conversion of sunlight which results in a useful manner of energy. Indirect solar refers typically to technologies or effects that involves multiple transformations of sunlight which occur in a usable form of energy.
A solar cell or photovoltaic cell is a mechanism that converts light into electricity using the photovoltaic effect. Until recently, their use has been limited because of high production costs. One cost-effective method has been in very low-power designs such as calculators with LCDs. Different uses are in remote applications such as roadside emergency telephones, remote sensing, cathodic protection of pipelines, and bound "off grid" home power applications.
A third application has been in powering orbiting satellites and spacecraft.
Solar panels can be attached to each house or building to take benefit of the incoming electromagnetic radiation from the sun. The solar panels should be mounted perpendicular to the arc of the sun to optimize utility. The simplest way to use this electricity is by attaching the solar panels to a grid tie inverter. However, these solar panels may also be applied to charge batteries or other energy storage device. Solar panels generate more power during summer months because they receive more sunlight. The total best power of installed PV is around 6,000 MW as of the end of 2006.
Installed PV is projected to increase to over 9,000 MW in 2007. It's 2018 now, can you imagine the output level?
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