Renewable Source Of Solar Energy
This blog is about "How To Get Free Solar Power".
Is that the same as' how do you get free power? No, it is not.
The solar energy that can power your home, business or whatever industry you work in is free. However, electrical energy that is generated as electricity and used for lighting, general electrical power, environmental cooling or heating comes at a price.
Renewable solar energy technologies use the energy of light from the sun. The sun provides heat and light every day while it shines on your location and it come to you freely.
We use that free solar energy to make water hot and produce electricity. This article explains how to get free solar power from daylight.
You might argue that in the course of extracting that energy we need a process, method, system or technology and that isn't free. Below the process linking free sunlight and electricity is explained.
What Is The Source Of Solar Electricity?
Solar panels convert the sun's light in to usable solar energy. The process of transforming photons into direct current (DC volts) is the photovoltaic (PV) effect. The cells that make up the solar array consist of silicon N-type and P-type semiconductor material. The photons in sunlight collide with outer valence electrons of silicon atoms. The photons’ energy impact on the silicon cells excites the electrons enough to become unattached from their atoms.
The free electrons will flow through the material to produce electricity. Currently solar panels convert most of the visible light spectrum and about half of the ultraviolet and infrared light spectrum into usable solar energy. This is how you get free solar power.
The discovery of the science linking light and electricity comes from work done before Einstein but it was he whom explained the ‘photoelectric effect’.
How To Get Free Solar Power - Light Into Electricity
When a light source (that is electromagnetic radiation) illuminates a metallic surface, the surface can emit electrons. This same photoelectric effect happens within a silicon cell of a photovoltaic (PV) module.
Let me explain the photoelectric effect for a photoconductive metal separated from a collector metal. In an experiment the effect can be created using two separated plates in a vacuum chamber. Light is shone onto the photoconductive metal and electrons may be released.
When light shines on a photoconductive metal surface, some light is reflected and some gets absorbed. Released electrons from the energy of the absorbed light are attracted toward the collector. An ammeter wired to both the photoconductive and collector plates measures the current in the completed circuit.
The electrons will be emitted with a range of energies depending on properties of the photoconductive metal and light frequency.
The kinetic energy of the photon particle that bumps an electron free must exceed the electron’s binding energy. The electron’s binding energy is what holds the electron in the atom’s outer orbit. There is a minimum threshold photon energy level needed to bump the electron for each particular photoelectric material. Light photon energy relates to the light frequency.
Observations of photoconductive metal experimentally irradiated with light showed the following:
Solar Energy And Photo Electric Effect
The sun’s radiation has a continuous band of electromagnetic frequencies. Photons are small, localized bundles of light energy delivered within the electromagnetic radiation wave band. When a single light photon interacts on a photoconductive metal atom’s electron that electron is released from orbit.
During the interaction the photon’s energy transfers instantaneously across to the single electron and it is bumped free of the metal atom. When a high frequency photon arrives with excess energy bumps the electron it transfers greater kinetic energy to the electron.
Remember that the photon’s energy must be high enough to overcome the binding elastic energy of the atom structure. If the energy (or frequency) is too low, no electrons will be bumped free. For each photoconductive metal there is an electromagnetic threshold frequency for the incident radiation. There is no photoelectric effect below that light frequency.
So low-frequency light has less energy in its photons and will not trigger the photoelectric effect. That means, because each photon’s energy is below the electron minimum binding energy level, more photons have no effect. Adding intensity to the low-frequency light emissions won’t increase the photoelectron releases that make electricity. Light intensity is measured in lumens and is the delivered brightness.
The maximum kinetic energy (electron flow) is dependent on the frequency of the light rather than the amount or intensity of light. Illumination with twice as much light of the right frequency results in twice as many photons with the right kinetic energy causing more electrons being released.
Producing Electricity Directly From Sunlight
The measured electron flow is a function of the photon’s kinetic energy from it's radiant frequency. It must be slightly more than sufficient to free tightly bound electrons during the photon to electron impact. If a photon’s energy is just enough to free an electron with zero kinetic energy that electron will return to the electron gap.
Solar photovoltaic cells convert sunlight directly into electricity. This process of converting light (photons) to electricity (voltage) is called the photovoltaic (PV) effect. Solar cells are made of layered silicon semiconducting materials. The findings are similar to those explained by Einstein a hundred years ago.
When sunlight shines on these layered semiconductor materials, the photon energy bumps silicon electrons loose from their atoms. Free electrons flow through the material to produce DC electricity. So that is the starting point of how to get free solar power.
Solar PV cells are typically wired in series or combined end to end into convenient sized PV panels or modules. Usually a module is made into a flat plate structure of a convenient size for mounting on a collector frame. Several modules are mounted together in a flat PV array such that modules can be further connected in series or parallel to increase collected voltage.
Mounting Solar To Make Electricity
PV arrays are mounted onto a flat fixed plane (roof) or framing that face the panels perpendicularly towards the midday sun.
Alternatively, modules could be mounted within a tracking device that mechanically follows the sun across the sky on its typical path.
Tracking is more complex but allows modules to keep facing towards the most intense sunlight over the course of each day. The solar tracking mechanics are optimised for the earth’s annual rotation around the sun to maximise daily solar intensity.
Sufficient PV modules are connected together on a fixed roof or mounted as an array that can provide enough power for a household. Hundreds of PV arrays in a field can be interconnected for large commercial and industrial electrical applications. A large factory or shopping mall that operates during daylight could use this kind of solar PV application to reduce its operational electrical costs. This means there is a return on the solar investment and the savings are like getting paid for having solar panels.
If the commercial enterprise that owns the panels at the shopping centre produces excess electricity they could sell that extra power into the grid and effectively get paid for solar panels on their roof. How much do you get paid for solar energy that you get for free? That depends upon the feed-in tariff that the energy producer has negotiated with the electricity utility company.
Have You Enough Roof Space To Get Free Solar Power
A solar cell’s performance is measured by how efficiently it turns sunlight into electricity. The semiconductor materials that make up the cell absorb some incident sunlight but a lot of it is reflected. Only a portion of the sunlight shining on the cell generates electricity. Typical commercial solar PV cells have about 15%- 22% efficiency.
Remember that only certain photon energy frequencies will work to create electricity. Low solar PV panel efficiencies mean that larger solar arrays or tracking mechanisms are needed, and that means higher investment costs. That means a lesser number of the higher efficiency monocrystalline cells is needed on a roof than say the lower efficiency thin film solar cells to obtain the same electrical output. Either type of solar cell following the sun on a tracking mechanism will proportionately increase their electrical output.
Sometimes roof space for solar PV cells is limited or the roof plane orientation is not optimal. To compensate for space and achieve better financial returns the modules can be mounted on simple a tracking device. Owners of electricity based industries and large commercial buildings may find installing sophisticated tracking devices have positive financial paybacks.
Final Words About Free Solar Power
Innovation in solar cell manufacturing and component technology each improve solar efficiencies. The solar PV efficiency has improved significantly while the cost per kWp has fallen. Many of the cost improvements have come from manufacturing innovations in solar module assembly like thin film solar technology.
Product innovation helps solar adoption. Electrically interconnected thin film solar semiconductor cell materials can be applied to roofing tiles, building elements or infused into glazing. The infused solar PV technology offers the functionality, protection and durability of the replaced product but with electrical production capability.
Thin film technology applied to solar applications will also expand the places where PV generation will be installed. The future solar panels will convert more free energy into electricity as they become more efficient.
Click here to check out a solar panel kit on Amazon. You can buy a solar kit to help you start converting your free solar energy into electricity. Then get your solar system to start working for you.
- Struggling with the high cost of electricity, and
- want the right solar power option for you?
- Confirm that your solar quote price covers what you need.
This Checklist covers the things to consider when investing in a Solar PV system.
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