What is solar energy?

  Solar energy is energy that is emitted from the sun. In today’s world we can convert the solar energy into electricity using solar cells. This is a field of research that is very popular in today’s world because it is a form of green energy.

  Green energy is popular because traditional methods of producing electricity release huge amounts of pollutants into the atmosphere. All of these pollutants being released in to the atmosphere are believed to be contributing to global warming. Solar energy is one form of technology that is being researched as a possible solution to the pollution problem.

  Why use solar energy? After all there are other ways to produce electricity that are more efficient than solar cells. The answer is simple; solar energy offers several advantages over other forms of electricity generation.  

Solar panels(98769)Credit: ricketyus

  First of all, the fuel needed to power solar panel energy cells is sunlight which is on of the most abundant resources on the planet. It is a clean way of providing electricity to people, and it is a practical way to provide electricity to most of the people on the earth.

  Second it produces electricity quietly unlike wind turbine generators that tend to be noisy when they spin. In some urban areas wind turbine generators could be prohibited as a form of noise pollution making solar cells the only option for those areas. Places with a lot of buildings tend to cause lots of turbulence that reduces the efficiency of wind turbine generators. This is a problem that solar panel energy cells don't have.

Go Power! Solar Elite Complete Solar and Inverter System with 310 Watts of SolarCredit: Amazon

Go Power! Solar Elite Complete Solar and Inverter System

  Another advantage that solar panel energy cells have over wind turbine generators is that they have no moving parts. This reduces the maintenance costs and increases the amount of time that a solar energy system will last making them more reliable.

  Solar panel energy cells can be installed on rooftops which is good when ground level space is at a premium. With this technology it is possible to generate electricity while not being hooked up to the electric grid allowing it to be used in remote places. This is one of the biggest reasons why solar energy is so popular.

Solar panels on a roofCredit: Ell Brown

  There are however a few disadvantages with solar cells. One of the biggest problems with solar cells is that they are not very effective at producing electricity. This means that they need lots of surface area to produce the amounts of electricity that is needed to power a household.

  Another problem is that a large amount of ultrapure polysilicon is required to produce the cells. This material is in great demand causing the prices to of solar cells to remain high. On the positive side, the amount of ultrapure polysilicon being produced is increasing. This means that the price for solar cells is going down making Solar panels more affordable for people to buy and maintain.

Sunforce 50048 60-Watt Solar Charging KitCredit: Amazon

Sunforce 50048 60-Watt Solar power system

  Perhaps the biggest problem with solar panel energy cells is the fact that they need sunlight to produce electricity. This means that they don’t work at night, and they produce less electricity during overcast days. The good news is that breakthroughs in research are allowing scientists to design and build more efficient solar panel energy cells to overcome these problems. Adding a wind turbine generator can also help produce energy during the times that the solar cells aren't operating at peak efficiency.

  The price for solar panels is expected to decrease in the years to come. As the price of solar panel energy cells goes down and their efficiency goes up, solar panel energy cells are becoming a more attractive green source of energy production.