Solar energy is a big deal for anyone in the energy business. It is also a big deal for all environmentalists who want to have solar energy replace other forms of energy. Solar energy is the use of the Sun’s heat or radiation to create energy in some way. What many people do not know is that there are many different types of solar energy, and new ones are being made. There is also new research into harnessing the power of the sun to replace other forms of energy.
Solar energy has been innovated recently and there are many different ways that they use the Sun’s energy. One way that most people know about is the use of solar panels, which uses panels that capture sunlight. What happens is when light strikes the cell, a certain portion of it is absorbed in a semiconductor. Silicon is most commonly used as a semiconductor. This means that the energy of the absorbed light is transferred to the semiconductor. The energy from it being absorbed knocks electrons loose, allowing them to flow freely, and thus creating energy. This is one that is a rather older form of solar energy, even dating back to the 1950’s.
There are also newer forms recently that have come out. One of the newer forms is by using mirrors. The mirrors direct the sunlight’s heat onto a pipe which transfers water into a steam powered engine. The heat from the sunlight evaporates the water into steam which then powers the engine and thus creates energy. Another form uses the mirrors in the same fashions that the steam powered form. It heats pipes that have salt flowing through them. The salt then melts into a molten form of it and it is used to power a generator. Some even use a single receiver and have mirrors directing a lot of sunlight at the one receiver.
One major drawback about solar energy is the size and space it takes for solar inverters. Google, the company, is offering $1 million to anyone who can shrink the solar inverter. These transfer the energy from the sun into usable electricity. Major research is going into finding better and smaller inverters.
All in all solar energy is one of the greatest things being innovated. It could help to be the end of major pollution and also an infinite source of power for humans. If there were better ways to make solar power a more accessible source of power and for more people to use it then everyone in the world would benefit, from saving money and from saving the environment.
- Are there any other forms of solar energy?
- What is the government doing to help with solar energy?
- What can people do to help get solar energy in their lives?