Solar Energy- By: Kara F.

Solar radiation that reaches Earth can be transferred into a renewable energy through solar panels. Scientifically known as photovoltaic cells, they are able to turn sunlight into usable energy without causing any damage to the environment. They were first made in 1954 by Bell Telephone researchers. Each cell can range from 0.5 to 4 inches across. They are joined by other cells to create a module which is further connected to form an array. The photovoltaic cells are then grouped onto panels that can power electricity to a small home or an area up to as large as several acres. Sunlight’s photons are absorbed by the panels, and electrons are dislodged. Next, the electrons flow to the surface carrying a negative charge, thus, creating an imbalance of charge on the cell. When two cell’s surfaces meet, electricity flows. Photovoltaic cells generate direct current which is usually used for smaller loads of electronic equipment. When they are used for commercial application or for electric utilities using electric grids, it is converted into alternating currents. Many panels are then put into a Solar Power Plant where they are used to power turbines, generators, engines, and other large devices that require a lot of energy. The largest plant on Earth is in California, which consists of 80 megawatts. Solar panels can also be used to directly heat water for space heating in homes, offices, and other buildings. Even though solar panels are much better for the environment than fossil fuels, they are only 10% efficient in converting sunlight. They are being further researched to increase to 20% efficiency, and are hoped to be placed in deserts in the future; for the Gobi desert alone could provide almost all of the planet’s electricity. One of the problems with solar panels though, is that they only work well in frequently sunny areas. In addition, fog and clouds can also damage their performance.

Discussion Questions:

1) What are the benefits of solar panels? What are the downsides?

2) Why are solar panels so important?

Article Link:

http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/kids/energy.cfm?page=solar_home-basics

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~ by Student Entry on January 24, 2010.

7 Responses to “Solar Energy- By: Kara F.”

  1. This article was so great because it was so factual. The benefits of solar panels are that they are able to turn sunlight into energy. Solar panels are so important because they can directly heat water and heat houses, buildings, and offices. Very well written Kara great job! 🙂

  2. Good job Kara! It was very informative. But the benifits of solar panels is that it saves energy and your bill will go down. But you can’t have solar panels if you live in a dark/cloudy area. So if you would want it but live in a dark area, it would be useless. Also, they’re really really expensive! They are so important to Earth because they save energy. Good Job!!!

  3. Nice Job Kara! I really like this artical because it is so informative. I learned something new, thanks!:) Keep up the good work!

  4. Solar Panels save energy. They will lower bills. If we all use solar panels instead of lighting we will have to pay less. These can help us. They can because they will also make less pollution. It makes us go green. I noticed people are starting to use solar panels in streets for the lights. I think they should keep that going.

  5. The benefits of having solar panels are that they can power so many different things. But while they power many things, they only 10% efficient in converting sunlight, this is really the only downside of solar panels. Solar panels are so important because they are good for the environment. Instead of using so much electrisity to power things, what is powered is powered naturally. Great article Kara!! I learned a lot from your article!

  6. This was a great article. Solar panels have so many benefits. For example, they turn sunlight into usable energy without damaging the environment. They can also power just about anything (for example, traffic lights). However, there are also some downsides to using solar panels. Solar panels only work areas that are almost always sunny. They also only convert 10% of the sunlight that hits them into energy. Solar panels are very important because they make energy without hurting the environment. If they are in places like the Gobi desert, we could use all that energy to power the world. We wouldn’t have to depend on fossil fuels anymore.

  7. Solar Panels, in my opinion, are one of the greatest invention ever. The provide energy without damaging the envoirment. Also they are great because the sun shines so high in the sky, providing energy to power thousands of homes. There is a theroy that if you put a thousand solar panels in the very hot desert you will have enough power to power every home in the world. Which is why they are so important. The downside is that it cannot be powered at night. Also it is 10% efficent at converting sunlight. I believe this article is truly great because it teaches you about solar panels, which could change the way energy is used entirley. Thank you for posting this article!

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