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How Does Solar Power Work?

solar powerOur Energy Company Explains

Solar power is on the rise as an abundant, green solution to energy, but what you may not know is how exactly the sun’s light can be turned into a power source. Our HVAC service experts explain a little more about the process:

Solar Energy vs. Solar Power

These two terms are often confused. “Solar energy” refers to the energy that is given off by the sun – the same energy that you feel when you sit underneath the sun in the summertime. “Solar power”, however, refers to the power you get when you convert solar energy into electricity.

Crystals

There are a few different ways to convert solar energy into solar power. One way (which has been around for awhile) uses silicon crystals, which emit electricity when light hits them. Other, more new crystals are made from copper indium gallium selenide or cadmium telluride that can be turned into a film. The film can then be put between two panes of glass to make a solar panel and will convert solar energy into solar power.

Solar Cells

Solar cells are what can turn solar energy into solar power. In each type of crystal there are electrons that are affected by light. When light is shone on them, these electrons become excited, start bouncing around the crystal, and produce a current of electricity that we can harvest and use.

Solar Power vs. Coal

There is an abundant amount of solar energy available and it emits zero carbon emissions, which makes most people wonder why we don’t use solar power more often. The reason is because solar power is much more expensive than coal and if we have any hope of replacing coal with solar power, we’ll need to come up with a much cheaper way to convert the sun’s energy.

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