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Welcome To Science CCA!

Today, we will be talking about


harnessing the power of the sun
through Solar Panels! What are Solar
Panels and how do they work? How
would you get power/electricity from
the sun? We will find out…
Solar Panels and How They
Work
By Jay Glaus
First… A Brief Introduction

About The Sun

Generates it’s energy through nuclear fusion


Needed to make the earth function:
-Photosynthesis for plants
-Provides solar energy
-Evaporation > Rain
-MUCH MORE
The Sun & The Earth
See the position of all the
planets at the current time
http://www.fourmilab.ch/cgi-bin/Solar
The Sun’s Rays Enter the Earth’s
Atmosphere
The Atmosphere

Solar radiation first hits the


atmosphere in this layer and ionizes
air molecules. A region of ionized
particles in the thermosphere is called
the ionosphere. Auroras, which are
interactions of charged solar particles
and the ionosphere, can be seen in
this layer of the atmosphere.
Temperature is up due to ionization of
air molecules by solar radiation. Air is
extremely thin.
Auroras in the
Thermosphere

An aurora is an interaction of the


ionosphere and charged solar
particles within the thermosphere.
Aurora – The Northern Lights
The Atmosphere

The stratosphere contains a


significant portion of ozone, a
molecule consisting of 3 oxygen
atoms bound together. Ozone
absorbs ultraviolet light from space,
thereby protecting life on earth from
this dangerous radiation.
Temperature is up due to the
interaction of ultraviolet light and
ozone.
The Atmosphere

Troposphere (where we are) has high


temperatures due to molecules
absorbing the Sun’s energy.
We can tell the Sun’s
The Sun’s Energy energy is present…

The radiation/energy off of the sun


heats up pavement, causing you to
see “heat waves”. “Heat waves”
look like water almost, causing
mirages in the desert. For example,
if you saw that watery look ahead in
the desert, you would think there is
water ahead, when it is really only
hot sand
The Sun’s Energy
We can tell the Sun’s
energy is present…

Radiation/energy from
the sun can also heat
swimming pools.
The Sun’s energy is out there, but
how can we convert it into electrical
power?

What is the missing link to take the sun’s energy


and convert it into electrical energy?
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Solar Panels

Solar Panels can do just that!


How Solar Panels Work
The basic
element of solar
panels is the
same element
that helped
create the
computer
revolution --
pure silicon.
How Solar Panels Work

When silicon is stripped of all impurities, it makes a ideal


neutral platform for the transmission of electrons. Silicon
also has some atomic-level properties which make it
even more attractive for the creation of solar panels.
Silicon atoms have room for eight electrons in their outer
bands, but only carry four in their natural state. This
means there is room for four more electrons.
How Solar Panels Work

If one silicon atom contacts another silicon atom, each


receives the other atom's four electrons. This creates a
strong bond, but there is no positive or negative charge
because the eight electrons satisfy the atoms' needs.
Silicon atoms can combine for years to result in a large
piece of pure silicon. This material is used to form the
plates of solar panels.
How Solar Panels Work

Here's where science enters the picture. Two plates of pure silicon
would not generate electricity in solar panels, because they have no
positive or negative charge. Solar panels are created by combining
silicon with other elements that do have positive or negative
charges. Phosphorus, for example, has five electrons to offer to
other atoms. If silicon and phosphorus are combined chemically, the
result is a stable eight electrons with an additional free electron
along for the ride. It can't leave, because it is bonded to the other
phosphorus atoms, but it isn't needed by the silicon. Therefore, this
new silicon/phosphorus plate is considered to be negatively
charged.
How Solar Panels Work

In order for electricity to flow, a positive charge must also


be created. This is achieved in solar panels by
combining silicon with an element such as boron, which
only has three electrons to offer. A silicon/boron plate
still has one spot left for another electron. This means
the plate has a positive charge. The two plates are
sandwiched together in solar panels, with conductive
wires running between them.
How Solar Panels Work

With the two plates in place, it's now time to bring in the
'solar' aspect of solar panels. Natural sunlight sends out
many different particles of energy, but the one we're
most interested in is called a photon. A photon
essentially acts like a moving hammer. When the
negative plates of solar cells are pointed at a proper
angle to the sun, photons bombard the
silicon/phosphorus atoms.
How Solar Panels Work

Eventually, the 9th electron, which wants to


be free anyway, is knocked off the outer
ring. This electron doesn't remain free for
long, since the positive silicon/boron plate
draws it into the open spot on its own
outer band.
How Solar Panels Work

As the sun's photons break off more


electrons, electricity is generated.
Solar Power Plants
Solar Power Plants have massive
amounts of solar panels to power
their city. Rizhao City, in China is
converting to solar energy. There
is construction going on to build a
solar power plant in Nevada, that
will meet the needs of about
40,000 households with solar
energy.
Sun goes down, Lights go out???
Many people think that when the sun goes down,
or we have a cloudy day, no energy would be
produced, leaving us in the dark. That theory is
not true. In fact, even with clouds, some rays
from the sun still get through, just not as many
on a clear day. Also, when the solar panels
collect energy during the day, not all of it is used.
What isn’t used is stored in giant batteries at the
plant so there is always a reserve. However, it
would be quite a test in Alaska, because the
reserve may not hold out for three months!
Batteries to hold Solar Power

These batteries are small batteries to hold


solar power
Batteries to hold Solar Power

These are heavy-duty batteries that could be used at a solar power


plant to hold some of the reserve power.
Could your house “go green”?

Yes, it is possible. Houses have already gone to solar power. They put
solar panels on their roof to collect sunlight and have batteries in
their basement to store the reserve power. Some have even put up
solar panels in their yards.
Solar Powered House
Disney World & The Environment

Disney World in
Orlando
Florida has
gone green.
They provide
their own
power, they
treat their own
sewage... All in
all, they’re self
sufficient.
Solar Powered Wii

The Nintendo Wii has


gone Green!!!
Want to try some Solar Power?
You do not need tens of thousands of solar panels just to
power something. You can power small electronics with
a small solar panel you can use!
10 Watt -
http://www.ccrane.com/more-categories/alternative-power/10-watt-solar-panel.aspx
2.5 Watt -
http://www.ccrane.com/more-categories/alternative-power/2-watt-solar-panel.aspx
Want to try some Solar Power?

Color changing LED


Solar Patio Light
Want to try some Solar Power?

Sidewalk Strand of
Solar Powered
Lights
Want to try some Solar Power?

Solar Powered
Just “Google” Solar Lights!!!
Lights
Solar Powered Spot Light

Solar Powered Spot Light


Solar
Panel
Excellent External Sites
http://www.wisegeek.com/how-do-solar-panels-work.htm
Explains How Solar Panels/Cells Work

http://www.renewableenergyaccess.com/rea/news/story?id=48605
China’s Solar Powered City

http://news.mongabay.com/2006/0209-solar.html
Solar Power Plant in Nevada

http://ccrane.com
Buy Solar Panels & Neat Electronics
I hope you enjoyed the
presentation!