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Solar Power in a Nutshell

In one hour, the Earth receives more energy from the sun than the entire human race
uses in a year.

In 1904, Albert Einstein proved that light was composed of tiny packets of energy
called photons which could be converted to electricity.

Photo Voltaic cells first became essential during the 1950’s Space Race. The first
two Sputniks that went up, died in a little over a week because the transistors were
powered with flash light batteries. The U.S.’s solar powered satellites were an
instant success. Photo voltaic panels still power nearly all satellites and space
probes within the solar system. Which means the lifestyle we have become accustomed
to from global positioning, global communication and global entertainment is
completely dependant on solar energy.

When sunlight hits photo voltaic cells, it excites electrons which are knocked free
to form an electric current, metal contact points carry the current away and complete
the circuit. Typically, 40 solar cells make up a module, several modules are combined
to make up an array. The power from these arrays are gathered together and sent
through an inverter that changes the power from DC (direct current) to AC (alternating
current) ready for use.

Presently, solar panels are still extremely expensive. That’s because the photo
voltaic cells are made from ultra pure silicon. But that is changing, even as we
speak (or I write – whatever!). Anyway, there is some exciting innovations with photo
voltaics on the horizon. We’ll get more into that later…..

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8 Responses to “Solar Power in a Nutshell”

  1. Mike Says:

    I can’t wait to get my solar systems installed. Between the solar panels, heat collectors for water, and a wind turbine up on the hillside I should be off the grid all summer and have minimal needs in the winter. Of course this is using today’s estimates, and the systems won’t be installed till renovations are complete. Who knows where technology will have us in five years?

    Mikes last blog post..The List: Betsy Bird’s Top Ten Things Every Home Improver Should Know

  2. Peintros Says:

    I can’t wait for nanosolar to offer their 1$/watt printable solar cell based on copper indium gallium diselenide. Solar energy has a great future.

    Peintross last blog post..Useful Sites

  3. Linda Says:

    That is good news, Mike. Good luck in your endeavors especially the renovations. Thank you for coming by!

  4. Linda Says:

    The nanosolar needs to be now! thank you, Peintros, for coming by!

    Lindas last blog post..GREEN RV Refrigeration Network Association (RVRN)

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  7. meredith gossland Says:

    Here in the USA the oil companies’ lobbists have successfully stifled the mainstreaming of solar. Can you do a “in a nutshell” on why the USA is so far behind other contries in the mainstreaming of solar? It is an important isssue. Also people who go solar in this country do not really understand net metering VS off grid

  8. Beth Says:

    I have been researching solar for my home. I already have it on my RV and it is a life saver.

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