Solar cells are a piece of equipment in the form of a delicate plate or wafer generally made of silica (glass) that readily converts light into electrical voltage by way of the photoelectric effect. This device was founded on the discovery by a gentleman named Alexandre – Edmond Becquerel who figured out that a particular number of materials launched electrons when hit by rays of light, producing an electrical current. The very first solar cells were compiled by a man named Charles Fritts at some time in the 1880s. These prototype cells made of selenium converted less than 1% of the total light into electricity. Two people; James Clerk Maxwell and Ernst Werner von Siemens, founder of the huge electronics and telecommunications company “Siemens”, realized the importance of the finding. After the work of Russell Ohl during the 1940s, Calvin Fuller, Gerald Pearson and Daryl Chapin made the first silicon based solar cell in 1954.
There are currently several technologies, including at least 14 photovoltaic cell varieties, like polycrystalline, thin film, monocrystalline and amorphous cells. Concentrated Solar Power also appeared in various types. The leading application form of solar cells considered to be ground-breaking was using them as a back – up energy source for the Vanguard satellite back in 1958. These solar cells kept on transmitting for more than a year after the chemical battery was completely depleted. This operation of using solar cells was deemed to be a complete success and was used in several American and Soviet satellites. Utilizing solar power in this way had become the understood power source by the late 1960s and continues to this day.
After modifying the feed-in tariffs for the Renewable Energy Sources Act, Germany has become the major solar energy objective worldwide. Then Spain became the biggest PV market after 2007 after it adopted the tariff structure of Germany. Spain installed half of the photovoltaic power systems all over the globe, accounting for about 45%. Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) photovoltaics are still quite new, and employ sunlight concentrated onto photovoltaic surfaces using a type of mirror for electrical power production enhancement. Solar concentrators of different types can be used. These are usually mounted on solar tracking systems to keep the focal point on the modules as the sun travels overhead. Tracking systems can boost the output of flat panel solar modules by 20% during the winter and as much as a significant 50% during summer.
Like wind, river current and ocean wave generation devices, solar energy is considered a renewable resource. This means that this source will continue to be available into the far distant future, or until the Sun ceases to exist. As we all should know by now, petroleum is used in so many more products in addition to being our primary source of fuel; and none of us know for sure when our planet will be depleted of its stores of petroleum. So wouldn’t it be great to realize that we will be totally armed and ready so to speak, with alternative energy sources to move the human machine full steam ahead.
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