How does solar power work?
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How does solar power work?How does solar power work?

Because there are many options for harnessing energy from the sun, solar power can work in a variety of ways. The most common one is through the use of photovoltaic (PV) technology, which directly transforms sunlight into electricity. It does so through the use of solar or PV cells.

A solar panel is made up of modules of these solar cells. When exposed to the photons found within sunlight, some electrons of the solar cells are knocked loose. These loose electrons create an electrical current which can be harnessed for electrical needs.

Another way that solar power works is through the use of solar thermal collectors, which capture heat from the sun.

Solar thermal collectors are classified into three groups; low-, medium- , and high-temperature collectors. Low temperature collectors are flat plates typically used to heat swimming pools. Medium-temperature collectors are flat plates used to generate hot water for residential and commercial use. High temperature collectors are used mostly for electric power production; they collect sunlight by using mirrors or lenses.

The sun is actually the indirect cause of many other forms of renewable energy as well, including biofuel, wind power, and hydropower.

How does solar power work at night?

The fact that solar panels can only gather sunlight during the day is often touted as a major drawback to solar power. However, it is possible to draw the power off into a battery source for later use. In fact, this is the way outdoor solar lights work-- they draw energy during the day to power nighttime illumination.

How does solar power work towards a better environment?

Solar power provides eco-friendly energy by not producing any harmful emissions or hazardous waste. In addition to that, it is a renewable resource. In fact, it is more self-replenishing than even other renewable energy options. There is nothing the human species could do right now to exhaust it.

Wind turbines are another renewable energy source known for being very loud. Installation of this big machinery frightens animals away. This audio disruption is called, “noise pollution” and its negative effects on ecosystems has been researched and documented.

Solar technology, on the other hand, is silent to use.

The production of biofuels is another renewable energy option. It involves transforming recently deceased biological material, called biomass, into a useable fuel. Currently, corn is used in the United States to create ethanol. This puts fuel and food in direct competition.

The use of solar power creates no such competition. In fact, there is no need to process the sunlight into a useable fuel. The rays from the sun hit the earth regardless of whether or not we use it. There is no need to grow sunlight or treat it with chemicals. The only processing necessary can be done with simple solar cells, which are built into solar technology.

Fossil fuels are currently used for most of the world population’s energy needs. On top of their bad effects on the environment, such as greenhouse gases, they are a finite resource. It is easy to see why using any renewable energy option would be a wiser and safer alternative. However, solar power does stand out among even these wiser choices because of the extra advantages it provides for the environment.