Solar Panels – Solar energy is one of the most abundant energy sources in the world. Solar energy uses the heat from the sun’s rays to heat water, air and even fuels. Solar energy has many uses. Some solar power can be used as a supplement to regular electricity and can reduce household utility bills by 80 percent or more. However, how efficient they are at converting sunlight into electricity and storing that energy has been a mystery.
Solar Panel Efficiency – The efficiency of solar panels has been a mystery until recently. There has been a lot of research done on this topic but the results have been conflicting. Scientists now know that there are different types of panels that can change panel temperature by as much as five degrees and panel temperatures can be affected by the orientation of the solar cells.
The Type of Panel – One of the biggest mysteries in solar panels is what makes them more or less efficient. Scientists have identified only four main types of solar systems. They are the photoactive, photovoltaic, concentrating, and absorptive. They each have their own pros and cons which are influenced by a number of environmental factors.
Photovoltaic – Solar power from solar panels is made possible by using silicon in their construction. Silicon is a semiconductor so it is an effective semiconductor for creating electricity when exposed to sun light. It has been found to be most effective in operating at room temperature which is about noon. Scientists have been able to create solar panels that generate about forty percent efficiency.
Concentrating Solar Panels – They are usually made out of many different types of materials. In this case the most effective material they use is crystalline silicon. This crystalline is charged with a negative charge to make it an excellent absorber of heat from the sun. When sunlight hits the panels they are able to absorb the energy and convert it to electricity. These solar panels have a maximum output of about fifteen watts of electricity per watt of panel.
Absorptive Solar Panels – These solar panels work best in the daytime when the sun is shining on them. They work by concentrating the sun’s heat onto the silicon which in turn causes it to release energy. When sunlight hits the crystalline panels they release the energy and cause the semiconductor to release energy as electricity. This type of panel produces about seventy percent more electricity than photovoltaic cells.