How Solar Energy Works



Researchers and scientists have talked about environmental issues such as global warming for years. One common component of solutions is the usage of renewable forms of energy: solar power, wind energy, hydroelectricity. Solar power, in specific, has been researched for over a century and still has not provided more than a single percentage of the world’s electrical supply.

How does solar power even work? Without getting too complicated, here is a general rundown. First, solar cells have to be constructed. Solar cells are usually made out of special semiconducting materials with other materials to channel the flow of electricity. The first solar cell used selenium, and the most recent use various forms of crystalline silicon. These materials are covered with plain glass. This allows light to pass through, but blocks out other materials, such as rain and dust.

Once the cells are constructed, they are formed into large arrays. When you look at a solar plant, each glass screen can contain hundreds of individual cells all interconnected together. Then, when the sunlight hits the arrays, all of the cells absorb the photons found in the light. These photons shake up the atoms, releasing electrons. These electrons form electricity and flow amongst the cells. This energy can be used immediately as direct current power (DC) or be stored into rechargeable batteries. Alternatively, the power can be run through an AC-DC inverter, creating AC power similar to what is found in wall power sockets.

Advances in solar technology have increased the amount of current independent cells can create. This has made it more cost effective to have smaller companies install solar panels on their buildings to complement the power they draw from the local utilities. Solar power is getting cheap enough that some solar panel companies are offering to come install panels for large companies free on the condition they purchase electricity from them for a long amount of time. Usually, the cost is recouped long before the contract ends.

It is even easy to purchase and install power panels on individual’s homes. Net metering laws allow consumers to send excess energy to the power company and gain credits for it.

Long Beach solar panels provide Long Beach solar power, an alternative energy that can save homeowners money. Using Long Beach solar panels, homeowners can augment their current power supply using energy harnessed from the sun, reducing electrical bills.

 

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