Myths and Facts About Solar Energy

31 August 2021 Posted by vmotta Going Solar

Today let’s talk about solar energy, benefits and how is work 

Solar energy is a renewable energy, obtained from the use of electromagnetic radiation from the sun.

There are many myths and truths about solar energy and how we can take advantage of it in our homes and offices

Here’s a list of pros and cons of solar energy

Pros

  • Available to extract anywhere
  • It’s clean and doesn’t require expensive conversions of any former resource into electricity.
  • Energy can be stored for efficient use later on.
  • It’s not only clean energy it’s also a silent energy compared to other renewable resources.
  • No constant maintenance is required, solar energy is an automatic process once it is installed.
  • People who use solar energy, at least in America, are benefited from federal tax reductions fees by the government.
  • Solar energy is used to power space technology like the 15-year-old Mars Rover (If NASA is using it, it must be efficient.)
  • Abundant and renewable.
  • Reduces significant electrical costs from your bill.

Cons

  • Requires an investment to install.
  • It’s an intermittent source of energy depending on the weather conditions of each day. 
  • Requires space to place solar panels, that’s why traditionally, they are placed on rooftop

What is a panel?

The panels are the translucent blue or black display most people are familiar with. These panels contain small units in them, called solar cells or photovoltaic cells. These cells are manufactured from silicon, which also serves as an efficient semiconductor.

The silicon is the one that absorbs the photons (the particle attributed to light and electromagnetic radiation). The color is due to the type of silicon or polycrystalline used, alongside the anti-reflective coating that allows a heightened absorbing capacity.

Benefits of Solar Energy

Solar energy technology has existed since the 19th century and has only been improving over the years. Solar cells meet their current aesthetics by assembling them into panels, hence their name. This form of energy is clean and safe for the environment. It produces no noise, it’s efficient, modern, and easy to use.

The most efficient way to place them in commercial infrastructures or residential homes is through the roof. Light can be absorbed and converted in real-time or, it can be stored to be used later and even redistributed elsewhere.

Schematic representation of a solar cell, showing the n-type and p-type layers, with a close-up view of the depletion zone around the junction between the n-type and p-type layers.

How a Solar Cell Works

A solar cell is made of two types of semiconductors, called p-type and n-type silicon. The p-type silicon is produced by adding atoms.  Because boron has one less electron than is required to form the bonds with the surrounding silicon atoms, an electron vacancy or “hole” is created.

The n-type silicon is made by including atoms that have one more electron in their outer level than does silicon, such as phosphorus. Phosphorus has five electrons in its outer energy level, not four. It bonds with its silicon neighbor atoms, but one electron is not involved in bonding. Instead, it is free to move inside the silicon structure.

A solar cell consists of a layer of p-type silicon placed next to a layer of n-type silicon (Fig. 1). In the n-type layer, there is an excess of electrons, and in the p-type layer, there is an excess of positively charged holes (which are vacancies due to the lack of valence electrons). 

When sunlight strikes a solar cell, electrons in the silicon are ejected, which results in the formation of “holes”—the vacancies left behind by the escaping electrons. If this happens in the electric field, the field will move electrons to the n-type layer and holes to the p-type layer. If you connect the n-type and p-type layers with a metallic wire, the electrons will travel from the n-type layer to the p-type layer by crossing the depletion zone and then go through the external wire back of the n-type layer, creating a flow of electricity.

Now, let’s talk about the myths and truths about going solar

Myths

  • Solar energy is only produced on sunny days: Solar energy is generated by solar radiation, which is also present on cloudy or rainy days. This depends more on a good planning of energy production
  • Solar panels are not very durable: Solar energy has been advancing by leaps and bounds and the useful life of solar panels is about 25 years.
  • Solar energy is not efficient: Solar energy can cover the need for a specific appliance, an entire home, or up to 100% of the energy demand for lighting public spaces in a giant shopping mall.
  • Installing solar panels is expensive and not profitable: Of course, the initial outlay of a solar installation of solar panels can sometimes be high, but everything will always depend on the electricity needs that we want to cover with our installation, which is what will determine its dimensions. An installation of solar panels will help us save a significant part of our electricity bill – between 40 and 45% depending on the type of installation – for periods of up to 25 years, which is the usual useful life of solar panels.
  • The panels are not so green: at the end of their useful life they pollute the environment: Solar panels can be almost completely recycled (85-90%) since the materials with which they are made – mainly glass (75%) and aluminum (9%) – they are easily reusable. Other components that make up the panel include silicon (3%), copper (1%), silver (0.16%) and a series of polymers that comprise the remaining 16%.
  • Solar energy is not yet fully developed: A well-dimensioned installation of solar panels in your home or business already allows you to save a good part of your electricity bill, be independent from the large energy business conglomerates and cover your electricity and heating needs without emitting a single gram of CO2 into the atmosphere.
  • Nobody uses solar energy: This technology has grown exponentially in recent years. It is such a popular technology that in countries like Germany where 25% of the population’s energy needs are met by solar energy.

Truths

  • Solar Energy is environmentally friendly: Unlike fossil energy and other forms of energy that generate high amounts of CO2 to the environment and affect the ecosystem, solar energy is friendly to the environment and replacing current energy systems with solar energy immediately generates the decrease of CO2 emissions.
  • Solar energy is less expensive: Due to the great growth that today has the use of photovoltaic solar energy, this technology is becoming more economical every day. solar energy greatly reduces the energy costs of companies and even through innovative business models we can offer it without the client requiring any investment, benefiting in addition to the decrease in energy costs. monthly energy costs.
  • It is easy to maintain: It has no moving parts that you need to replace or adjust. The panels only require cleaning to avoid dust accumulation and to check the system and connections from time to time.
  • It can be generated anywhere: As long as there is sunlight and the system has been properly installed, it can operate at full efficiency in both sunny and cloudy environments.
  • It is efficient: The efficiency of the system regarding the reduction of transmission losses is high.
  • It is safe: Solar panels, batteries and inverters meet world standards, guarantee optimal performance and a long service life

Did you know how expensive solar panels are? See that is our next blog post