How is Solar Energy Produced?
You may ask how is solar energy produced when you are considering adding solar components to your home. When you consider other power sources, it's logical to ask how is solar energy produced. After all, with oil or coal or water there is a complex system involved in creating energy.
Oil must be refined and converted into a fuel that can then be used to produce energy. Coal is the same and both leave a carbon footprint on the environment as the various processes involved in turning a fossil fuel into energy have the potential for pollution.
How is Solar Energy Produced vs Fossil Fuel Energy Production
Oil is the main source of energy production in the U.S. today. This previous fossil fuel is found in great supplies in various locations of the globe.
Accessing the oil is the first place where problems can arise. There are public outcries in some areas when oil drilling is proposed. Oil rigs are not aesthetically pleasing but the danger is not in appearance but in the potential for damage.
Oil spills can be an unsightly problem or an environmental catastrophe. When oil spills into streams and oceans, wildlife quickly dies and the oil makes its way to the shorelines killing plant life.
Water is polluted and even coral reefs are damaged. Because of the dangers of drilling oil many countries import oil but there is risk there as well as the supply lines can be cut in war or natural disaster.
Coal mining has improved somewhat as the old method of strip mining that destroyed the land have been outlawed in most states. Coal mining is dangerous work underground where cave-ins or explosions from pockets of gas are always a potential workday hazard for miners.
When energy is produced by fossil fuels it is a process involving many steps. Oil must not only be taken out of the earth but must also be transported in trucks and by ship.
That adds another level of environmental hazard and potential for spills. Refineries that process the oil into gasoline for vehicles were built many years ago. The environmental hazards and huge costs of building refineries has resulted in aging refineries that are not being replace by new installations.
A Comparison - How is Solar Energy Produced
Solar energy does not have to be produced. It does not rely on taking one natural resource and processing it into a different form. Solar energy only need to be collected and stored.
This is why it's known as clean energy. The only processing involved in ">how solar energy is produced is in the manufacture of photovoltaic panels and in products designed to use solar energy.
Solar panels are built with a semi conductive material such as silicon. This material has electrons in it. When photons from the sun's rays hit that panel, the electrons absorb the energy. The photons absorbed by electrons become conduction electrons.
If the photons are strong the panel will carry an electric charge through to a circuit it is attached to. That's why solar energy is best used in areas where sunny days are common. Clouds or storms keep strong photons from reaching the solar panel.
Location is a huge factor in the use of solar panels. The panels must fact the sun in order to absorb the maximum solar energy. Anything that interferes with this, such as shade of any kind, reduces the amount of energy produced.
When learn how solar energy is produced there are two factors that can limit the power of a solar panel. If the cell is not capturing photons effectively or if the panel's electrons release the power as heat this will interfere with the amount of energy stored.
Not only can you build your own solar panels but you can also build a solar generator for less than $300. Parts are readily available and this is a great power solution if you live in an area with rolling blackout as a solar power generator can provide back power.
It's also good for use in a rustic vacation cabin where power outages happen every time it storms and can be used on boats or for tent campers.
A home made power generator is another answer to how is solar energy produced. Plans for these generators have been very popular with those who expect the grid to crash or believe the reports of dire disasters to come.
Such a generator can power your computer or TV and keep the lights on when commercial power lines are down. For emergency use, this generator will produce energy when connect to only one or two 8"x24" solar panels on your roof.
The answer to how is solar energy produced is a simple one. Solar energy needs only to be captured. The sun does all the work and if we catch and store the sun's rays we can convert that readily to usable energy.
The may be done by purchasing an array of photovoltaic panels and professional converters that send the power into our home. It can also be accomplished on a smaller level by building your own solar panel and generator to provide backup or emergency power.