Why Technical English

Sun in the Forecast | May 13, 2009

By Martin Wolny

The solar revolution of the last two decades has made solar energy an increasingly powerful force in the energy arena. Solar panels (arrays of photvoltaic cells) convert sunlight to electricity. Solar panels are typically constructed with crystalline silicon, which is used in other industries (such as the microprocessor manufacturing), and the more expensive gallium arsenate, which is exclusively produced for use in photovoltaic (solar) cells. Other, more efficient solar panels are assembled by depositing amorphous silicon alloy in a continuous roll-to-roll process. The solar cells created within this process are called Amorphous Silicon Solar Cells, or A-si. Solar Panels constructed using amorphous silicon technology are more durable, efficient, and thinner than their crystalline counterparts.

Panels make use of renewable energy from the Sun, and are a clean and environmentally sound means of collecting solar energy. In direct sunlight on the surface of the equator, solar panels get the best: a maximally efficient photovoltaic cell about 1/5m in diameter creates current of approximately 2 amps at 2 volts. However, due to the Earth’s atmospheric interference, solar panels will never perform as well as solar panels exposed directly to the Sun’s rays. Years of overheating and physical wear can, after all, reduce the operation efficiency of the photovoltaic unit. Solar cells become less efficient over time, and excess energy is released into its thermally conductive substrate as infrared heat.

Solar energy originates in the depths of our Sun. The Sun endures a continuous stream of thermonuclear explosions as hydrogen atoms are fused into helium atoms. We encounter the resultant energy as radiation that strikes the surface of the Earth. Solar panels convert this solar radiation into useful electrical energy and store them in batteries for our use. Enough solar radiation strikes the Earth every day to meet Earth’s energy needs for an entire year. Solar panels help us harvest this energy and convert it to usable energy to meet the everyday needs of modern life.

NOTE: We study English discussing real technical issues. Join us, let us know your opinion about usage of solar energy. G. Vitkova

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7 Comments »

  1. I will be the first 🙂

    When i saw the topic of this article, i don’t expect much, but now i am suprised!

    It was interesting to read, but in common, i am not sure that everyone of us is taking care of these serious troubles to himself.

    Comment by Václav Blahout — May 15, 2009 @ 10:11 am

  2. yes, I agree with Vaclav. It is an interesting topic, but not many students will throw an eye on it. I am one of them. I have read it, but I don´t care much.
    So the presantation says, that in future solar panels will be unefficient? Am I right?

    Comment by Martin K — May 18, 2009 @ 5:42 pm

  3. On the contrary, having read the post I understood photovoltaic panels have the future while new technologies and materials appear.

    Comment by Galina Vitkova — May 22, 2009 @ 12:04 pm

  4. I agree with all of you about future usage of solar energy but I have to ment another technology which will have the rich usage in future and it is ‘producing controlled thermonuclear fusion power’. Nowadays it’s running only in testing progress but future will show us the truth.

    Comment by Milan Lebeda — May 26, 2009 @ 9:31 am

  5. […] Sun in the Forecast […]

    Pingback by Changing the theme of this blog « Why Technical English — August 26, 2010 @ 9:27 am

  6. You certainly deserve a round of applause for your post and more specifically, your blog in general. Very high quality material

    Comment by Oregege — November 17, 2010 @ 5:44 pm

  7. Thanks For This Blog, was added to my bookmarks.

    Comment by Oregege — November 18, 2010 @ 11:07 pm


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