How does solar energy work? Sunlight is required to be converted into usable energy form so as to be used by energy-consuming appliances. The ways of converting sun-rays depends on what you need. For example, to dry your clothes you need only direct sunlight. But to power satellites, a storage mechanism along with sunlight is required. And to power cars, their hybrid batteries need to be charged by sun-rays.
The most common method of using solar energy is to store them in photovoltaic cells. This method was first used in U.S. space satellites in 1950s. The cells are made from silicon. When sunlight enters the cells, it causes the electrons to move about. The electrons then move towards the front side of the solar panels. This causes an imbalance of the electrons between the front and back side of the panels. On joining the two surfaces, a conductor is formed, just like a wire, and current begins to flow. The individual solar cells are arranged together in a PV module and the modules are grouped together to form an array. This current is used to charge cells and this energy is used to light lamps, tube lights and also to drive cars now. The current can also be used to run appliances.
Another method of using solar energy is to direct the solar rays to a convergence point using a curved reflector and then make a current flowing system like a photo cell and store energy. This method is now used in India and U.S.
Solar energy is available all around the world and is a free energy source with little or no pollution contribution. Its conversion to usable forms of energy has become possible in recent years and more and more advanced and optimized methods are available to us to harness its full potential.
The sun may rescue us all in the energy crisis now we are facing.
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