Solar Energy: Here Are A Few Essential Things You Must Know Before Building Solar Panels

Solar Energy: Here Are A Few Essential Things You Must Know Before Building Solar Panels

So, you think it’s time to make your own solar energy generator to cut bills or have a non polluting energy source for your home. Before you begin you need to know how it works.

Solar energy is made by rays of sun that reach earth in just a few minutes after they leave the Sun’s surface covering the distance of 93 million miles in a few minutes. After all, light travels with the speed of light. The atmosphere absorbs most of this energy and one third of the sunlight is reflected back into space. What remains is what we can use to create energy.

Did you know that the biggest solar battery on our planet is Earth itself? It absorbs about 174,000 billion kilowatts (kW) from the Sun every 60 minutes? All in all, by now you should know that the light produced on one square meter during a cloudless summer afternoon, is generating about 1000 watts.

Unfortunately, most of this energy is wasted. The energy that does not go to waste gives birth to the winds and sustains life. Plants use it to generate oxygen, animals and human beings need it to strengthen their organisms.

However, we have reached that moment in our evolution where we can harvest more energy from the Sun. You must know that the types of solar energy are direct or indirect, active or passive.

Direct solar energy is created when sunlight is striking a solar cell directly and electricity is generated immediately. It directly transforms, without any other process.

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On the other hand, indirect solar energy needs one more step to change sunlight into useable energy. It’s the case of hydroelectric generators and wind generators, transforming solar-caused wind, rain and other climatic interactions into power.

We can change sunlight into some other type of energy by:

Solar thermal processes: Sun energy is changed into heat. During this process, the sun’s heat is absorbed by solar panels which then heat water which can be used to heat buildings. The solar panels are often placed on the roof or somewhere where they have more sunlight, and are introduced afterwards into a system of tubes called "thermal collectors" to the heating source.

Photovoltaic processes: Unlike the solar thermal systems, through this process, photovoltaic cells absorb the sun’s light and not its warmth, so sunlight is changed into electricity. They are viewed as the future of power generating technologies and are often silicon-based pieces of material. Solar panels are built of many of such cells, put together.