As of right now, the United States is 4th in the running for the largest country to utilize photovaltaics, an alternative option from using fossil fuels for energy. Germany, Japan and Spain are ahead of us in terms of energy efficiency and its imperative that our nation strives to meet the same level of sustainability that these other countries have achieved.

Solar Photovaltaics are solar cells that directly convert sunlight into usable electricity. Photo means light and valt is associated with energy. There are crystalline silicon cells, thin film, PV, and concentrated PV which are all Photovaltaics but just have a These materials that the cells are made from are called semiconductors which then convert the energy into a circuit to produce power. When the sunlight hits these cells, the electrons break away from their atomic bond and release energy. The fabulous part about photovaltaics is that the energy produced can be used to power anything from a large house or commercial building to a small electronic device. Its versatility reassures its sustainability. The effect that the solar cells have was first observed by Alexandre Edmund Becquerel in 1839 and which was later confirmed by Bell Labs in the US during 1954. By 1958, solar cells started to be used by commercial businesses and have declined in price over the last 12 years. The most efficient cells unfortunately are the priciest. However, they are much more effective for converting sunlight into usable energy while thin filmed cells are less expensive but not as useful because they sometimes the light is too weak to be absorbed.




4 thoughts on “Photovaltaics

  1. This represents an interesting way of utilizing power from the sun. I like how you do a good job at showing the multitude of ways photovoltaic energy can be used to power various systems. I also did not know that it took over 100 years to confirm the use of solar panels as having the ability to harness power from the Sun’s rays. Hopefully we continue to explore the use of photovoltaic energy.

  2. I thought you did a great job explaining solar photovoltaics. I think it’s an alternative source of energy that too many people are unaware of. It seems that, given these cells directly convert sunlight into energy, the efficiency of this alternative should be high. The issue, as is shared by many alternative sources, is prohibitive cost. Hopefully over time these barriers will cease and these alternatives can begin to be more effective and widespread.

  3. I think this post is very interesting because before I read this I was completely unaware of this energy source. The way you describe it makes it seem like a good alternative energy option, which makes me curious as to why I have never heard of it before. I wonder what the downsides are to this energy source other than its cost. It seems like an area that is worth further research.

  4. I found this post to be super interesting. Just like Janet’s post about tidal energy, I also was ignorant to this energy source. I am glad I am informed about this and am happy to hear that our country is so high up on the list to using this sustainable resource.

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