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Renewable Energy: Solar Power

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Solar power is one of the most renewable sources of electricity in the world. The sun shines almost every day, therefore providing photons to power the solar panels for as long as the sun still shines. It can lower your electric bills to a miniscule amount and it’s very friendly towards the environment. Did you know that scientists at the German Fraunhofer Institute broke the world record for the most efficient solar cell? Their design uses a new cell structure containing four solar sub cells to become 44.7% efficient. It’s only 0.7% more efficient than the previous world record, but “it brings the solar industry one step closer to achieving 50% efficiency”(Valentine, Katie).

Solar panels are panels that generate electricity when exposed to radiation from the sun. Solar panels use silicon, which emits an electrical current when in contact with light, to generate electricity. The radiation provides photons, or units of electromagnetic radiation, to the silicon to generate electricity. Pure silicon is not a good conductor, so solar companies add other elements, like phosphorus and boron, to the solar panels to “beef up, or dope, the cell’s two silicon layers” (Chasteen, Stephanie). This is shown in Figure 1. At the top there are metal conductor strips to grab the electrons to generate electricity. Solar panels also use anti-reflective coating on a protective sheet of glass to protect it and to prevent the photons from reflecting off the silicon back at another object.

Solar panels are the perfect solution if you have high electric bills and live in a hot and sunny climate. Once the solar panels are installed, major maintenance won’t be required for a couple of decades until the solar panels break, but you will need a yearly chec...

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...tter under low light.

Works Cited

Toothman, Jessika, and Scott Aldous. "How Solar Cells Work." HowStuffWorks.
Discovery, 01 Apr. 2000. Web. 15 Dec. 2013.
“Let it Snow! Solar Panels Can Take It” 24 October 2012. ScienceDaily.com.
19 October 2013
Valentine, Katie. "Researchers Just Hit A New World Record In Solar Cell Efficiency."
ThinkProgress RSS. N.p., 26 Sept. 2013. Web. 15 Dec. 2013.
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Energy Inc. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Dec. 2013.
Chasteen, Stephanie, and Rima Chaddha. "How Do Solar Panels Work?" PBS. PBS,
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Maehlum, Mathias Aarre. “Which Solar Panel Type Is Best? Mono- vs. Polycrystalline vs. Thin Film.” Energy Informative. N.p., 6 Dec. 2013. Web. 15 Dec. 2013
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