How to Convert Solar Energy into Electrical Energy

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How to convert solar energy into electrical energy
How to convert solar energy into electrical energy

Solar energy

How to Convert Solar Energy into Electrical Energy, from the sun has many benefits, the most important of which is the generation of heat, the formation of chemical reactions, in addition to generating electricity, as solar energy is a renewable energy as it is not polluting the environment, and it is constantly renewed unlike fossil fuels, natural gas and petroleum, so modern technology has been used to generate electricity from solar energy Where it can be relied upon to meet the world’s needs in the future if used in appropriate ways.

How to Convert Solar Energy into Electrical Energy

The sun radiates approximately 3,846 x 1026 watts of energy distributed over the surface of the earth in the form of light or other radiation, and the transmitted energy is utilized by collecting the radiant light, and converting it directly into heat or electricity through photoelectric conversion. [3] Photoelectric conversion is the ability of a material to throw electrons when light is radiated onto it, as this process is used in solar cells. [4]

Solar cells

Solar cells are known as a tool for converting solar energy into electrical energy, through the photoelectric conversion process. The principle of solar cells can be summarized as follows: [4]

  • The solar cell contains silicon, a semiconductor material that possesses some properties of metals, and some properties of insulating materials, as the energy is transferred from the photons – particles of sunlight – to the electrons of the silicon atoms in the solar cell when the photons collide with it. The last silicon orbital leading to the formation of an electrical imbalance in the solar cell.
  • The electrical imbalance in the solar cell can be solved due to the internal formation of the silicon atom, since when the silicon atoms are arranged inside the solar cell in a sealed manner, two types of silicon are formed:
  • Silicon atoms are of the type N: n = negative silicon atoms, which are negatively charged silicon atoms because they contain additional electrons.
  • Silicon atoms of the type B: silicon atoms are positive (in English: p = positive), which are positively charged silicon atoms to lose electrons, and leave holes in place of them.
  • The negative electrons from the N-type silicon are transferred to the holes in the B-type silicon to fill the holes, which makes the B-type silicon negatively charged, and the N-type silicon is positively charged, thus generating a magnetic field in the solar cell.
  • When photons release electrons from silicon atoms, the generated magnetic field pushes these electrons into a uniform path, which creates an electric current.

Types of solar cells

The sun is an effective and low-cost source of energy production. Therefore, many types of solar panels have been manufactured with different and varied technologies to generate, use and store solar energy, and these types include: [5]

  1. Monocrystalline solar panels: These panels are characterized by high efficiency compared to other panels, as they produce more amounts of energy, although they take less space, but their cost is very high.
  2. Crystal solar panels: These panels are cheaper than monocrystalline solar panels, but their efficiency is lower and their lifespan is shorter.
  3. Thin-film solar cells: These cells are easy to manufacture, and are very low in price, but their life span is short and their efficiency is the least compared to other solar panels.
  4. Amorphous silicon solar cells: These cells are used as a source of power for small calculators, as they are cheap in price, but their efficiency is very low.
  5. Biological solar cells: These cells simulate the natural photosynthesis process, except that they are still under study and have not been applied in reality.
  6. Cadmium telluride solar cells: These cells help to produce energy using a small amount of water, but they use carbon harmful to human health if it is inhaled or ingested.
  7. Concentrated photovoltaics: These cells generate energy in the same way that they are used in conventional photovoltaic systems, but they have the advantage of being the most efficient.

Applications to solar cells

The advances in the field of solar cells have made it possible to have many applications on them, including: [6]

  1. Street lights: Where sunlight is used during the day and cell batteries are charged, to power the lights at night.
  2. Refrigerators for medicines and vaccines: This technology is provided to enable health care workers in remote areas that do not have electricity to give medicines to those who need them. Ovens: where these ovens reflect the solar rays, to be used in cooking food.
  3. Cell phone chargers: They are charged through exposure to the sun for several hours, as they can then charge many devices with electricity.
  4. Painting: By using lightweight photovoltaic solar cells, it is possible to paint homes or cars, where the part exposed to solar radiation produces energy.
  5. Tents: The tents contain photovoltaic solar cells that enable them to produce electrical energy, to supply the tent at night with energy to light it and be able to charge small electrical appliances.
  6. Backpacks: Where these bags are provided with solar cells that are charged from the sun’s rays while walking, and this energy is used by charging cellular devices, cameras, and others.

Uses of solar energy

Solar energy can be converted into other forms of energy such as chemical energy and thermal energy. [7]

Converting solar energy into chemical energy

Solar energy can be converted into chemical energy through the process of photosynthesis in plants, as plant leaves absorb solar rays in order to build simple sugars and store energy, which helps their growth, as when a person eats the plant, chemical energy is transferred. Stored from the plant to its body, as it provides it with energy to carry out all its life processes such as growth, movement, breathing, speaking, and others. [7]

Converting solar energy into thermal energy

It is possible to take advantage of the heat of the sun’s rays by coating the surfaces to be heated in dark colors or black, to increase the surface’s absorption of solar rays, and this method is used in countries that have low temperatures, and the process of converting solar energy into energy is also used There is a lot of heat in the solar heating device – the solar heater -, as the solar heating device traps the sun’s energy, and the water in the tubes absorbs the heat and thus is heated. [7]

Resources

  1. www.britannica.com
  2. www.nationalgeographic.com
  3. www.physics.org
  4. www.asme.org

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