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♻️  Unit 8: Aquatic and Terrestrial Pollution

6.8 Solar Energy


⏱️  2 min read

written by

Karla Jauregui Sandoval

karla jauregui sandoval

What is Solar Energy? 🌞

Historically Solar Energy can date back to 7th century BC when magnifying glass material was used to ignite fires for heat energy. With modern applications to solar energy we have modernized the use of solar energy with PV cells and solar panels. 

Image Courtesy of The Verge


Photovoltaic cells (PV cells) are electrical cells that allow the light energy of the sun  to be converted into electricity. PV cells are usually made with purified silicon and traces of metals that allow them to act as semiconductors. The process of generating electricity with these cells include 

Sunlight photons hit the solar cell which then knocks electrons loose from their atoms. If conductors are attached to the positive and negative sides of a cell an electrical circuit forms. The movement of electrons in the circuit equals electricity! Because each cell only produces a small quantity of electricity, many cells are then wired together to an electrical grid on a panel. 

Benefits 👍🏻

Drawbacks 👎🏻

  • Solar energy is a renewable source of energy because the sun will not deplete in at least a couple billion more years. 

  • Does not produce CO2 emissions or generate any waste 

  • No cost in production only in set up for panels 

  • Electricity produced from solar panels will decrease electricity bill 

  • No long distance energy lost 

  • Limited efficencity by sunlight so energy can not be collected under specific weather conditions such as night 

  • High upfront costs for installation💰 but reatination could be up to 5-15 years 

  • There is a need for a storage system for electricity 

  • Production of PV cells require fossil fuels 

Watch: Environmental Science

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