The sun produces enough energy every second to provide all of the electricity used in the world more than 100 trillion times over.
Unfortunately, we can’t harvest all of this energy, but we have developed methods to collect some of it and turn it into electricity that we can use. But how does solar power work?
In this article, we’ll be breaking down solar energy, how it’s used to generate electricity, and whether you should invest in solar power. Keep reading to learn more.
What Is Solar Energy?
Solar energy is the energy that we use from the sun’s light. The sun produces energy in a process called fusion.
When protons, or hydrogen nuclei, collide with each other at very high temperatures and pressures, they can stick together to form a nucleus of helium. This process gives off lots of energy and releases that energy as light.
When the light from the sun reaches us here on Earth, we can collect that energy and convert it into electricity to power our homes and businesses.
How Does Solar Power Work?
Solar panels convert energy from the sun into electricity. These use photovoltaic cells, which is a combination of the Greek word for light (photo) and the word voltage, which is named after the physicist Alessandro Volta.
Photovoltaic cells consist of two layers of silicon that are treated or doped, in different ways. The top layer is doped with phosphorous, giving it extra electrons. The bottom layer is doped with boron, giving it fewer electrons.
When light from the sun, called a photon, hits an atom, it can give off an electron. Normally, the electron goes in a random direction, so it can’t be used as electricity.
However, since the doped layers of silicon have opposite charges, they produce a magnetic field that pushes the electrons in the same direction. It is these electrons that become the electricity you use.
Should I invest in Solar Energy?
Investing in solar energy can be a good way to save money. One way they save money is through net metering. Normally, when you use electricity, a meter keeps track of how much you use, and the power company reads the meter.
If you generate more electricity with solar panels than you use, the meter can read less than it previously did. In some places, the power company gives credit back into your account for this situation.
In addition to using solar panels for your home or business, there are portable solar generators that can provide backup power in case your electricity goes out. To find out more, check out these solar generator reviews.