Solar Photovoltaic Cell PV

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A solar photovoltaic cell (PV) is a device that converts solar energy into electricity in a manner that does not release any pollutants to the environment. Today, solar cells are commonly used to power small-sized items such as calculators and watches. But solar PVs have a great future in providing all the electricity needs for rural communities, homes, and businesses. The future for solar cell production and their usage is very promising as a renewable energy resource. However, the technology still remains expensive when compared to the costs of fossil fuels to produce electricity.

Solar cells have two major challenges: they cost too much to make (in the form of energy), and they are not very efficient. Although efficiencies of 30 percent have been achieved, the present-day typical efficiencies for solar cells is from 15 to 20 percent. However, solar nano researchers believe they can make solar cells more efficient.

Quantum Dots for Solar Cells

Much of the sun's energy When solar photons strike a

Figure 8.2 Konarka Technologies develops light-activated Power Plastic*® that is flexible, lightweight, low in cost and much more versatile in application than traditional silicon-based solar cells. These new materials are made from conducting polymers and nano-engineered materials that can be coated or printed onto a surface in a process similar to the way photographic film is made. (Courtesy Konarka Technologies, Inc.—Power Plastic™)

Figure 8.2 Konarka Technologies develops light-activated Power Plastic*® that is flexible, lightweight, low in cost and much more versatile in application than traditional silicon-based solar cells. These new materials are made from conducting polymers and nano-engineered materials that can be coated or printed onto a surface in a process similar to the way photographic film is made. (Courtesy Konarka Technologies, Inc.—Power Plastic™)

is wasted by today's photovoltaic cells. solar cell, they release electrons in the semiconductor to produce an electric current. However, when an electron is set free by the photon, it collides often with a nearby atom making it less likely to set another electron free. So even though the sun's solar photons carry enough energy to release several electrons, producing more electricity, they are limited to one electron per solar photon. As a result, conventional solar cells operate at 15 to 20 percent efficiency using solar energy.

Scientists have been doing a lot of research and experiments with quantum dots to make photovoltaic cells more efficient. Researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the Los Alamos National Laboratory have been experimenting with quantum dots as a semiconductor in a solar cell. They have discovered that the use of the quantum dots allows solar energy to release multiple electrons, not just one. This research has the potential to make major improvements in the manufacturing of photovoltaic cells. The two research teams have calculated that a maximum of solar conversion to electricity to a 42 percent efficiency rate is possible from the conversion of solar energy to electricity. The solar cells could be used to make hydrogen directly from water for fuel cells. The researchers still need more time and research to complete their studies.

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Solar Panel Basics

Solar Panel Basics

Global warming is a huge problem which will significantly affect every country in the world. Many people all over the world are trying to do whatever they can to help combat the effects of global warming. One of the ways that people can fight global warming is to reduce their dependence on non-renewable energy sources like oil and petroleum based products.

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