We all know that our planet is one of nine planets where life exists. But with the increase of global warming, our planet is becoming hot day by day. Our glaciers are melting which gave rise to an increase in the level of seawater. This is a matter of great concern for us as well as all living creatures living on earth. We should increase the use of renewable energy, which abundant in nature as well it will not harm our environment. One such renewable energy is solar energy. We can generate solar energy with the help of the Sun’s heat. But, to generate energy from the sun, we need equipment called solar panels.
What is Solar Panel?
Sun is the source of solar energy. The devices, which convert the sun’s light into electricity, are called solar panels. It is composed of particles of energy known as “photons” into electric energy to power electricity. Solar panels are used in various types of applications ranges from remote power and sensing to telecommunication equipment. It also uses in the production of electricity in residential and commercial buildings.
History of solar panel
The invention of solar panels way back more than 100 years. In those days, solar energy is mainly used production of steam to run machinery. Edmond Becquerel who discovered the photovoltaic effect has changed the concept altogether. He invented the conversion of sunlight to solar electric energy. With the successful invention of solar electric energy, Charles Fritts in 1892 first discovers solar cells. He made it by coating sheets of selenium with a thin layer of gold. And from this invention, there is the rise of device we know today by the name of solar panels.
Different types of solar panels
The types of solar panels depend on the area where it is installed. Different solar panels have different purposes. Earth is round in shape and the rays of the sun fall differently on the ground. Location is a significant factor when it comes to choosing the right type of solar panel. Solar panels can be classified in two different ways. Firstly, by single and multiple junctions and secondly by the first second, and third generations.
Single junction and multi-junctions is the number of layer on the solar panels observe by sunlight. First, second and third-generation focus on the efficiency and materials of different solar panels. Here in the next section, we discuss in detail, different generations of solar panels.
- First Generation solar panels: these are generally a traditional type of solar panels. They are made of monocrystalline silicon or poly-silicon.
- Monocrystalline silicon (Mono-Si): The solar panels that are made of Mono- Si is the purest. We can easily recognize them by even surface and dark rounded edges. As it is the purest form of silicon, it has one of the highest efficiency rates. They hold less space and have a high power output. It lasts the longest but due irrespective of its positive outlook, it is one the most expensive of all. Last, of all, it tends to be less influenced by high temperature compared to polycrystalline panels.
- Polycrystalline Solar Panels (Poly-Si): these panels are square. They have rough angles and specked and blue. They are formed by melting raw silicon, which is a cheaper and faster process than Monocrystalline silicon. As they are cheaper, they have a low life span, less efficient, and are easily affected by high temperatures.
Both have their advantage and disadvantage but ultimately both have the same power outputs.
- Second Generation solar panel: Thin-film solar cells are the types of cells that are used in photovoltaic power stations, small buildings, or smaller solar systems. These are not very expensive. These cells are made by placing one or more photovoltaic materials like silicon cadmium or calcium onto a substrate. These cells are easier to manufacture, as they required fewer materials.
The main disadvantage of these cells is they need a lot of space to install which make them unsuitable for residential purpose. They also have less life span compare to Monocrystalline silicon and Polycrystalline Solar Panels. But if you have a lot of space then this could be a good alternative to others. One such example of a thin-film solar cell is an Amorphous Silicon Solar cell. This type of panel used triple layer technology. We can easily see this type of solar panel in calculators. They have only a 7% efficiency rate which is much less than crystalline silicon which is 18%.
- Third Generation solar panel: These generations include thin-film technology. However, they are still in the phase of development for higher efficiency at a low cost. They use both organic and inorganic substances.
- Bio-hybrid Solar cell: they are still in their research phase. A group of experts at Vanderbilt University discovered it. The idea behind this invention is to emulate the natural process of photosynthesis. Most of the work is done according to the traditional method, but it combines the multiple layers of the photosystem. It is the conversion of chemical energy to electrical energy. It is 1000 times more effective than 1st generation solar panels.
- Cadmium Telluride solar cell: this photovoltaic technique uses cadmium telluride. It enables low-cost solar cells and a shorter period. This technology requires the least amount of water. It will also put fewer carbon footprints. One of the main disadvantages of this cadmium telluride is its toxic nature when inhaled.
- Concentrated PV cell: this cell generates electric energy same as other conventional photovoltaic solar panels. This cell has a multi-junction solar panel, which increases the efficiency rate to 41%. It one of the highest efficiency rates of any other photovoltaic system. What makes them the most efficient is the curved mirror surface, cooling system, and lenses. A cooling system is used to gather the sun’s rays and make it more advantageous.
What remains the matter of concern for these types of panels is, they can work to their fullest when faced towards the sun in particular angel. To reach to its fullest a solar tracker is installed in the panel which follows the sun.