How we all can use it today!
We know today, that the sun which provides solar energy is simply our nearest star. Without it, life would not exist on our planet. We use the sun's energy every day in many different ways.
When we hang laundry outside to dry in the sun, we are using the sun's heat to do work – drying our clothes.
Plants use the sun's light to make food. Animals eat plants for food. Decaying plants hundreds of millions of years ago produced the coal, oil and natural gas that we use today. So, fossil fuels are actually sunlight stored millions and millions of years ago.
Indirectly, the sun or other stars are responsible for ALL our energy. Even nuclear energy comes from a star because the uranium atoms used in nuclear energy were created in the fury of a nova – a star exploding.
Explaining Solar Technology
Solar cells are also called photo voltaic cells – or PV cells for short – and can be found on many small appliances, like calculators, and even on spacecraft. They were first developed in the 1950s for use on U.S. space satellites. They are made of silicon, a special type of melted sand.
When sunlight strikes the solar cell, electrons (red circles) are knocked loose. They move toward the treated front surface (dark blue color). An electron imbalance is created between the front and back. When the two surfaces are joined by a connector, like a wire, a current of electricity occurs between the negative and positive sides.
These individual solar cells are arranged together in a PV module and the modules are grouped together in an array. Some of the arrays are set on special tracking devices to follow sunlight all day long.
Solar cells then directly use the electrical energy. It can be used in a home for lights and appliances. It can be used in a business. Solar energy can be stored in batteries to light a roadside billboard at night. Or the energy can be stored in a battery for an emergency roadside cellular telephone when no telephone wires are around.
Mechanical Electrical Systems Inc. has commissioned and installed several solar systems that use solar energy.
- Three 25kW PV systems that feed a larger 250kW Microgrid, with battery storage, and generator capability if the sun is not shining.
- 25kW PV system with a battery, capable of Islanding and Grid Connected Modes.
- Mobile Hybrid Power System Microgrid with batteries on board, generator capability, and active solar input with MPP Algorithm.