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Thread: Solar Panel questions....

  1. #1 Solar Panel questions.... 
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    somewhere in europe

    Can someone who's knowledgeable please tell me about:

    O How solar panels work, and how it transitions solar energy into electricity
    O what exactly (a part,unit,device) determines the of amount of solar energy that can be harnessed into electricity
    or efficiency of how thoroughly it can be harnessed
    (because ive heard that solar panels can only get about 20% to convert and not the full amount)

    O what is the main component that recognizes the solar energy?
    O also when saying solar energy..does it reffer to thermal energy or light(photons),or UV rays? (whats meant by solar energy)

    Id appreciate your help on this,

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  3. #2  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    San Diego
    The photovoltaic effect is a long one to explain, but to answer one of your questions - cell efficiency ranges from about 8 to about 46%. Commercial solar panels (the type you see on homes) run about 18-20%. Solar energy is the total amount of solar radiation reaching the Earth - about 1300 watts/sq m at Earth's orbit, about 1000 w/sq m at the surface. It consists of a very wide range of light frequencies, from about 250 to 2000 nanometers.

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  4. #3  
    Moderator Moderator
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    city of wine and roses
    whats meant by solar energy
    Billvon's right about the conventional meaning. But in general conversation you might notice some people use the expressions solar power and solar energy interchangeably. Those people are just talking about usable power produced by solar generation - whether it's photovoltaic or one of the other solar "farm" methods which heat oils or salts.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
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