The sun is a storehouse of clean energy, and the earth receives a huge amount of it every day. Technology can now harness solar energy, tapping into the most inexhaustible supply of power that we know today. Following years of research and innovation, solar panels have evolved into a convenient and economically viable way of harnessing energy from the sun.
How Solar Panels Harness the Sun’s Energy
A solar panel is comprised of a number of solar modules, which in turn are made of several solar cells. A solar cell has the ability to catch sunlight and convert it into electricity. Sunlight essentially contains zillions of photons that have energy. A solar cell converts these photons into a flow of electrons to create an electric current.
These solar cells are quite small and each of them can generate very little electricity. So, a number of them are put together to form a larger unit known as a solar module. A solar panel consists of many modules.
Since a solar panel generates electricity from sunlight, the process is referred to as photovoltaics, as “photo” means light in Greek and “voltaic” refers to electricity pioneer Alessandro Volta, after whom the word “volt” became a measure of an electric unit.
Other Ways of Harnessing Solar Energy
Solar panels have become popular for generating solar energy for residential and commercials purposes. Other technologies for harnessing solar energy include the following:
Solar Thermal Collectors: A black material is used to cover the surface that receives direct sunlight. A series of tubes run through the body of the collector. These absorb radiation and use it to heat water in the tubes.
SHC Technology: SHC stands for solar heating and cooling and is used for maintaining comfortable temperature conditions in larger commercial buildings. Solar air heating units are mounted on the walls, but with a gap for air to pass through. The heated air is supplied through ducts to the building’s HVAC system.