Welcome back my fellow learners. Today we are going to learn about solar panels and why they should be the wave of the future.
Every hour our sun shines down onto Mother Earth, more than enough energy is provided to meet global energy requirements for the whole entire year. Solar energy is technology which harness the sun's rays, and make it more user friendly. Today, this technology provides less than a tenth of one percent of the entire global energy demand.
Most people are familiar with photovoltaic cells, or solar panels. As they are usually seen on such things as rooftops, spacecraft, and even calculators. The cells are created from a semiconductor material similar to those in computer chips. When direct sunlight hits the cells, it knocks off electrons from their atoms. As these go through the cell, they in turn produce electricity.
On a larger scales, solar thermal power plants use numerous methods to harness the sun's energy as a source of heat. This is used to boil water to power steam turbines which produces electricity in a similar fashion as coal and nuclear power plants.
With one method, troughs of U-shaped mirrors point sunlight onto a pipe of oil which runs through the center. This then boils water to produce electricity. Another way uses mirrors to point the sun's rays to a collector tower, where a receiver stands. Molten salt which flows through this is heated to power a generator.
Other methods are static. For instance, large windows installed on the sunny side of a structure allow sunlight to heat materials on floors and walls. These then release the heat in the night to ensure a building is kept warm. Similarly, plates on a roof will heat liquid found in tubes which supply hot water to a house.
Solar energy is an inexhaustible fuel source, which is pollution and mainly noise free. The technology is extremely versatile. For instance, solar cells produce energy for the likes of satellites orbiting the Earth, and cabins located deep within the mountains, as easily as they power buildings and cars.