Photovoltaic cells—otherwise known as solar panels—are an incredible way of producing electricity using the power of the sun. Here are some ways in which they are used today.
Homeowners and social housing administrators can reduce their reliance upon traditional energy providers by installing small-scale solar energy generation systems on individual houses. Companies such as customsolarandleisure.com over in Arizona frequently retrofit houses with solar paneling that can provide a decent portion of a household’s electricity. In the United States, federal tax credits are awarded to consumers who choose to install solar panels, which means that they are eminently affordable. Some nations incentivize their citizens even more by offering free solar panel installation to all people using social housing. Solar panels, therefore, can be part of a nation’s efforts to improve social mobility.
One of the main benefits of the Earth’s atmosphere is that it limits the rays of the sun—it prevents us from perishing due to powerful UV rays emitted by our closest star. Outside of our atmosphere, however, the rays of the sun are incredibly powerful. For this reason, satellites and other spacecraft have long been able to utilize solar panels to produce all the electricity that they need. All the satellites in space generate the entirety of their electrical power using solar energy.
Interestingly, the application of orbital solar power generation is not necessarily limited to spacecraft. Recent projects have focused on the idea of orbital power generation—using vast solar panel systems to beam electricity from space back down to Earth for terrestrial use. In theory, this could be used to generate huge quantities of renewable energy without impacting the environment here on the Blue Planet.
There are plenty of gadgets in circulation that use solar energy to generate power. One of the earliest uses of solar power in this manner was to power pocket calculators. Pocket calculators need very little electricity to operate, which makes photovoltaic cells perfect for powering them.
There are a great many remote areas of the world in which clean drinking water is hard to come by. One of the ways in which water can be made safe to consume is through distillation. Distillation is a process that involves evaporating water and letting it drip back into a container, minus the salts and solids that it may have contained previous to distillation. In remote places, solar energy is used to power stills.
Generating Grid Electricity
Quite possibly the most important application of solar panel technology has been the development of large-scale solar farms that can generate huge quantities of energy. We need to move away from our use of fossil fuels on a global scale if the human race is to survive for much longer. In order to do so, sources of renewable energy must completely replace carbon-emitting fossil-fuel derived sources. Vast solar farms are a crucial cog in the renewable energy machine. Farmers can now make more money harvesting sunlight than they can harvesting crops, and national energy providers are keen to show their commitment to renewable energy by investing in these projects.