What I learn from TedEd about Solar renewable energy...
It would help if you have an idea of the following term: Watts, Current, Silicone, Atoms, Electrons, Photons, Circuit, Volts.
Have you ever wondered how solar energy works? Keep on reading …
First off how much solar power the earth intercepts from the solar system? Well, I don’t know the exact amount but I think it is a lot for sure
Can we (the nation) someday solely or maybe 90% rely on solar energy to power our home and other things we have? Maybe or maybe not but I think it can be done.
How does solar panels convert solar energy to electrical energy?
Solar panels are made from smaller solar units call solar cells. The most common solar cells are made from silicone which is a semiconductor that is the second most abundant element on earth.
In a solar cell, crystalline silicon is sandwiching together between conductive layers. Each silicon atom is connected to its neighbors by 4 strong bonds (points) creating a mesh keep the electrons in place so no current (electricity) can flow. We also know that a silicon cell is using 2 different layers of silicon.
- N-type silicon: this type has extra electrons
- T-type silicon: this one has extra spaces for electrons called holes ( Don’t laugh - extra electrons and extra holes smh anyway back to it) where the two types of silicon meet (p/n junction). Electrons can wander off across the p/n junction leaving a positive charge on one side and a negative side on the other side.
So how all of these make sense?
You can think of it light as the flow of tiny particles called photons to come from the sun. When one of these photons hit silicon cells with enough energy, it can knock out electrons from its bonds and therefore leaving a hole in the mesh. The negatively charged electrons and the location of the positive charge hole are now free to move around. Because of the electric field at the p/n junction, the negatively charged electron and the location of the positive charge can only go one-way. The electron is drawn on the N side while the hole is drawn to the P side. (Stay with me)
The mobile electrons are collected by thin metal fingers at the top of the cells and they flow to an external circuit doing electrical work like powering light bulbs before returning to the conductive aluminum sheet on the back. Each silicon cell can only put out half of the volts and when string together form a module, you can get more power. An amount of 12 voltaic cells is enough to charge a cell phone. However to power a home hmmm we will need more than that - like a ton of it… It will take many modules to do the work (losing you yet !)
Electrons are the only moving part in a cell and they are all going back where they came from. This means, there is no waste and no wearing down or worn out (hence renewable energy). This process makes solar cells durable and can live for decades.
So why are we so reluctant to go after a technology like that and adopt it? (this is where you come in and drop your thought)
This is what I think:
- Our political folks have to do something - pass the law or provide funding to get the ball rolling
- We need to put a stop on those lobbyists to leave people in congress alone to do something.
- Physical and logistical challenge (the sun does not come up everywhere - Alaska lol)
So if we leave bullets 1 and 2 alone… and work with bullet number 3 for a moment…
The physical and logistical challenges are the biggest challenges by far. Think about it for a moment… if you live in Alaska, would that make sense to you while you can spend 7 months out of the year with no sunlight? Or even if you live in Seattle where it is cloudy all the time, solar energy does not ring a bell for you. However, if you are in Florida, California and other sunny States, you said to bring it on suckers … The solar system is what I want.
This all means, we will need to store and move Solar energy from the sunny States to other States. also, the efficiency of the cells is another challenge as well. If you get a cell that is reflective (reflect the sunlight) instead of absorbing it, then your shit is out of luck because you won’t capture any energy from the sun and therefore no energy to use later. Further, if floating electrons fall back into a hole before going through the circuit, well … the photon energy is gone - lost.
The most efficient solar cell by far according to “nanalyze https://www.nanalyze.com/2019/04/most-efficient-solar-cell/ ” which was made by a company named novasolix claims 45% efficiency is within reach. Only 45% of efficiency … “smh” that is less than 50% “lmao” …
If this company can only convert 45% of energy capture from the sun to electrical and made available for us to use, then we seem to be far from that dream. Some commercial companies to date stated they can only convert 15% to 20% efficiency. It is not a lot but I say it is something and let’s build on that. These same commercial companies are what bring us the beautiful solar backpacks that are currently available from bellabydesignllc htts://www.bellabydesignllc.com that are affordable and not breaking the bank. So if you do your part and start using the technology, these companies will invest more and go after better efficiency of capturing these energies from the sun to get us on renewable energy sometimes before our generation disappear (when we all dead ..)
So… with all these challenges, could it be still possible to become energy independent and rely on solar energy to power our home? I think so, we just need to get deep into it and make it happen. Once we get deeper into it, the technology will be better and better, the price will fall and efficiency will grow to a better percentage. Once we break 70%, we will be golden and say by to these carbon crazy companies that are polluting our air.
We need funding to start the project and lots of space to build solar farm so we can compete with electricity from the grid (we must say they are so far reliable “lol” I don’t even think where the power come from when I flip the light switch on). Anyway, some developing countries in the Carribean, Africa, and other places on the planet that have 99% sunny days and not have access to an electrical grid are the best place for solar energy options at the moment. Also, that technology is already a win for them. It is cheaper and safer. So let’s start there ...Help you to go to sleep cold ... am I "lol"