Photovoltaic Panels Essay

1103 words - 4 pages

Photovoltaic PanelsPhotovoltaic panels, more commonly known as solar panels, are panels that are made up mostly of silicon that convert the energy given off by the sun into usable energy, such as electricity for homes. The word Photovoltaic means "light electricity." This is because light is changed into electricity. The first model for one of these panels was made in 1954. At first, they were just used for gathering electricity for space travel, but as time progressed, their usefulness and reliability was established. For the first twenty to twenty-five years of attaining one of these panels, one only has to make sure that it is clean enough to absorb the sunlight. Photovoltaic panels are a sensible source of alternative energy because they don't require much maintenance, are economically friendly, and use a renewable source of energy.When light hits the panel, it is absorbed by the silicon, which then releases electrons. The electrons are collected and turned into an electrical current, which is then stored or used to power electrical devices. Most photovoltaic panels consist of four to five layers: a protective top layer with electron-collecting circuitry, two specially treated silicon layers, a polymer bottom layer, and an optional frame for durability. The silicon works as a semiconductor, so when it is hit by photons (light energy), the silicon raises its electrons to a higher level, knocking some loose in the process. The top silicon layer is negatively charged (electron rich), and the bottom layer is positively charged (electron poor). In between these layers is an electric junction that allows a one-way flow of electrons from the back of the panel to the front. Electrical contacts on the top layer collect the electrons and route them to where they are needed as an electric current. The process ends when the electrons return to the bottom silicon layer. Photovoltaic panels are easy to maintain. They just need to be clean enough to expose the silicon to light in order for the energy to be harvested.Photovoltaic energy is great energy source that can beneficially be used in the future. This can see that clearly from its pros and cons. One positive point is that it does not pollute the environment. It does not emit greenhouse gases or cause noise disturbances. Photovoltaic panels use solar power that comes from the Sun, which is an unlimited energy source. It won't be exhausted like fossil fuels. It's a very dependable energy source. It can be used in many different situations, and even in places with extreme conditions such as Alaska. As long as there is light, it will function. Although the panels are expensive, they are less expensive then using generator energy, and it isn't necessary to buy fuel for them. The price for it is in a reasonable amount for modern technology, it can be afford by average people and easily distributed. Another very significant thing about photovoltaic panels is that they are extremely sizable and flexible. They...

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