Renewable Energy Solutions
Sunlight is an inexhaustible energy source. The sun’s rays provide the Earth with all of its power, warming it and driving life-sustaining processes like photosynthesis. However, most solar panels are not able to capture enough sunlight to generate electricity on their own because they can only absorb a small range of the light spectrum. Fortunately, there is a way to convert sunlight into electricity that does not require any fuel or toxic chemicals: photovoltaic cells! Read on for more information about how these work and how we can use solar panels pv as renewable energy solutions.
The first thing to understand is that a photovoltaic cell, also called a solar cell, works similarly to the way plant cells produce energy. Plants derive their energy from sunlight during photosynthesis and turn it into chemical potential energy in the form of glucose through an organic process. Solar cells use much more sophisticated materials than plants do but work on exactly the same principle: they absorb light particles (photons), which excite electrons out of their molecular shells so they can flow along conducting material as electric current when connected by wires to other similar devices.
This process of converting light into electricity is called the photovoltaic effect. It was first observed by Alexandre-Edmond Becquerel in 1839, who also discovered that selenium could produce an electric current when exposed to light. Later on it would be correctly attributed to Albert Einstein for his explanation through quantum theory back in 1905. For this work he won a Nobel Prize and solidified his place as one of history’s greatest scientists!
Solar cells are made out of semiconductor materials like silicon or gallium arsenide which have highly organized crystal structures with both metallic and nonmetallic properties. Pure crystalline silicon can absorb many different wavelengths but has very poor electrical conductivity because its atoms are locked up tightly inside rigid bonds and do not interact with each other. To make it more conductive, silicon is usually doped with a small percentage of another element like phosphorus or boron to create p-type (positive) and n-type (negative) semiconductors which can carry current by themselves as free electrons in the former case and electron holes called “holes” in the latter. These are known as intrinsic semiconductors because they have these properties already even without exposure to light; that’s why we don’t need sunlight for photovoltaic cells!