Solar Panels

The motor

Today, I built a little solar-powered windmill. It was a 'make-it-yourself' kit, where you could create six different things with the same pieces. I wanted to do the 'Solar Puppy', but I was recommended to build something that didn't move around whenever sunlight hit it, so I settled with the windmill. It was easy enough to build, and it works well. This post is about just how exactly the electricity is formed when sunlight hits the solar panel.

My windmill working in the sunlight


A solar panel is constructed with layers of thin pure silicon one on top of the other. The atoms in the silicon start reacting when hit with reasonable amount of radiation, i.e. sunlight. The little electrons around the atoms start flinging around, moving from one atom to another because of the vibrations caused by the radiation. The electrons move with copper wires installed in between the layers of silicon, and they exit the solar panel if it is connected to a closed circuit. The electrons go around the cycle, making electricity for the object to work. If the solar panel is not connected, the electrons still move around from one atom to another, but they cannot exit, so they merely keep changing their homes.

Solar Panels

Solar panels are excellent for our environment, because they give us renewable energy without creating immense amounts of waste of which we cannot dispose. But since solar panels are so awesome, why doesn't everything run on solar energy? Because they are expensive to make. Many people and governments cannot afford the amount of solar panels needed to give sufficient energy. Silicon is one of the things the most found in the world, but pure, unpolluted silicon is needed to have a working solar panel, and it is expensive to obtain pure, clean silicon. Many people, however, are seeing sense and are saving up money to buy a solar panel, to help the environment and the world, but also to help their electricity bill: the sun is a free source of energy (for the moment :P ).

Animated Picture from: http://www.sunnywinenergy.com/en/AboutSun_02_en.htm
Solar Panel Picture from: http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/solar-panel-subsidies-not-smart-german-mp/2008/05/16/1210765176525.html

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