Essay on Evolution Of The Panels Of Solar Power

1310 Words Jul 7th, 2015 null Page
Evolution of the Panels

Solar power is not a new concept—two thousands years ago our ancestors would concentrate the sun’s heat with glass or mirrors to light fires or heat water. It wasn’t until 1839 that Edmond Becquerel, a French scientist, discovered what is known as the “photovoltaic (PV) effect,” (US DOE EERE). While experimenting with an electrolytic cell that consisted of two metal electrodes placed in an electricity-conducting solution, he noticed that electricity-generation increased when exposed to light. During the 19th and 20th centuries, global researchers experimented with selenium solar cells and cadmium sulfide (CdS), but a silicon PV cell that could convert sunlight into enough power to run electrical equipment was only developed in 1954 in the United States (US DOE EERE). The first silicon solar cell, developed by Bell Labs, was extremely costly, limiting its initial use, and only achieved 6 percent efficiency (HGTV). Today, the cutting-edge technology is used in a variety of places and ways.

The first residential roof top array was built in 1973, after a significantly less costly solar cell was designed and brought the price of solar down from $100/watt to $20/watt. Traditional solar cells are flat-plate, made from silicon, and usually the most efficient and commonly used (NREL). For a typical home system, around 40 cells are grouped together to form a PV panel or a module and typically 10 to 20 modules are wired together on a south-facing rooftop in…

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