The concept of harnessing the energy of the sun is a well-known concept that has been around since humans set foot on Earth.
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What is a solar panel?
Solar energy starts with the sun and it can be used to extract light from the Sun, which has a configuration of energy particles called photons, into electrical energy that can be used to power electrical loads. Solar panels are also known as photovoltaic panels.
Solar panels have ample applications that can be capitalised on at very economical terms, including external power systems for booths, telecommunications equipment, remote sensing, and obviously, power generation for residential and commercial solar power systems.
In this article, we discuss the Who Invented The Solar Panel? history, technology, and benefits of solar panels.
The Invention of The Solar Panel
Perhaps the most notable invention dates back to 1839, by a 19-year-old Frenchman named Edmund Becquerel. He discovered the so-called photovoltaic effect, the underlying scientific process behind solar cells while conducting experiments on a pair of metal electrodes. In the following decades, pioneering scientists refined the process, and in 1923 Albert Einstein was awarded the Nobel Prize for his theory explaining the photoelectric effect.
History of The Solar Panel
The transformation of solar energy traces its history back more than a century. In those early days, to generate steam in those days people usually used solar energy conventionally, which could then be used to power machines. But it will be necessary to wait for Edmund Becquerel to discover the “photovoltaic effect”, which will allow the conversion of sunlight into solar electricity. In the late 19th century to be precise in 1893, Becquerel’s discovery catalyzes Charles Fritz’s invention of the first true solar cell, which is mechanised by coating a selenium sheet with a thin layer of gold. Solar panels as we know them today started from these humble beginnings.
Russel Ohl an American scientist patented the first silicon solar cell in 1941. Solar panels are used for the first time on a space satellite. The first solar panel was probably built into a new calculator in the 1970s.
In a global world, solar panels are used for various applications. Therefore, they are also used to power households and commercial buildings.
How do Solar Panels Work?
In solar panels, photovoltaic cells are there that change sunlight into electricity.
There is a layer of silicon which is a semiconductor material and photovoltaic cells are sandwiched between those layers. Each layer has distinct electronic properties that are activated when they collide with photons from sunlight, which generate an electric field. This is called the photoelectric effect – it provides the amount of energy required to generate electricity.
Solar panels generate continuous current. This is then converted by an inverter into alternating current, which can be fed back to the national grid or used by homes or businesses that connect solar panels.
How does the weather affect solar energy?
If we talk about the some of drawbacks of solar panels then the weather is an elephant in the room. Weather conditions impact negatively in terms of the potential of solar panel in producing electricity.
The ideal conditions for generating solar energy are of course clear, sunny days. But like most electronic devices, solar panels are actually more efficient in cold weather compared to warm weather. This allows the panels to generate more power at the same time. As the temperature increases, the voltage produced by the panel decreases, and so does the amount of electrical energy produced.
The Benefits of Solar Panels
For many applications, using solar panels is a very convenient way to generate electricity. Remote homes and villas benefit greatly from solar systems. No more costly installation of utility poles and connection to the mains grid from the nearest access point. Solar power systems can be cheaper and, if properly maintained, can provide power for more than three years.
As global climate change begins, it becomes even more important that we do what we can to reduce the pressure that greenhouse gas emissions are putting on the atmosphere. Solar panels possess no mobile parts and require little maintenance. They are sturdy and can last for decades if properly cared for.
The benefit of solar panels and solar power is that with a one-time initial installation cost, it can generate electricity for the remainder of the system’s lifetime for almost two decades, depending on the system quality. For owners of grid-connected solar systems, the benefits begin the moment the system comes online, potentially eliminating monthly electricity bills or, most importantly, additional income for owners in the system returned from the utility. How? If you use less energy than your solar system produces, this excess energy can be sold to your utility company, sometimes at an exorbitant price!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q.1 Do solar panels work at night?
A- While solar panels will still work on cloudy days, they will not work at night. The reason is simple: solar panels work according to a scientific principle called the photovoltaic effect, where solar cells are activated by sunlight and generate electricity.
Q.2 Can solar panels work without direct sunlight?
A- Solar panels generate electricity from photons in natural light rather than sunlight itself, so panels do not need to be installed in direct sunlight to work.
Q.3 How many hours can a solar panel last?
A- If you look at the big yellow area, you’ll see that it gets about 6000 watts of power per day on average. So even if the average day lasts exactly 12 hours, the energy you actually get from the panel is about 5-6 hours of full sunlight per day.
Q.4 How many years can the solar panel be used?
A – around 25 to 30 years old
But the solar panels that generate this energy won’t last forever. The industry standard lifespan is around 25 to 30 years, which means some panels installed at the start of the current boom will be removed soon.
In the End, I hope you know much more about Who Invented The Solar Panel? If you today explore something new then share with your friends also. And do comment in the comment box.