Sun is an essential source of life on the planet earth. No life would have been imaginable without sun. Humans can acquire all their needs from the elements of nature by exploring its hidden gems and treasures.
The light energy emitted by the sun is called solar energy. This solar energy is being used for a variety of aims and purposes. Solar power is the 3rd most influential renewable energy source after hydro and wind energy. A foggy or cloudy location collects 2.5 hours of sunlight per day whereas a sunny location collects 5.5 hours of sunlight every day. Thus it is concluded that a peak output of solar system in a sunny climate is 1,600 kilowatt hours (kWh)every year whereas in a cloudy climate it generates 750 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year. It is interesting to know that 1 kWh is equal to the amount of electricity which is required to burn a 100 watt bulb for approximately 10 hours. When solar electric modules are attached with batteries, this solar energy system can supply electricity for 24 hours or 1 day.
Now a day’s people are well-awareof solar panels/modules also called photovoltaic cells, found on rooftops, spacecraft and handheld calculators. These cells are composed of semiconductor materials similar to those that are found in computer chips. When the sunlight is encountered by these cells, the atoms lose their electrons. These electrons generate electricity by flowing through the cell.The question arises that how these solar energy panels work?When the solar panels receive photons from sun, it produces direct current (DC). The inverters connected below the panel, convert direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC). This alternating current is now ready to be utilized by household appliances. This alternating current supplies electricity to the building by the flow of current through the main switchboard or controller of that building. If electricity is produced in excess then it is transported to the grid and if less energy is generated by solar panels then electricity is taken from the grid for the building’s load.
Figure 1: Solar energy used to run Household appliances
There are many advantages of solar power installation.
It saves thousands of dollars as the panels last for approximately 25 years; however the inverter should be replaced after sometime. For longtime usage of these panels, they must be cleaned occasionally for maintenance.
Solar panels have guaranteed performance.
It saves the environment.
It is an easy and secure investment.
Current energy crisis can be resolved by solar energy panels.
Solar powered cars have also been of great interest since the mid of the 19th century. Every year several people invest their money on solar powered cars. The composition of these types of cars is very simple. The car has solar panels on the top of vehicle which receives sunlight. These light bodied cars have installed batteries which charge themselves via solar energy. These solar panels having attached batteries convert solar energy into electrical energy thus helping the motor run. Some other components of car such as power tracker, motor balancer and data system,monitor the electricity inside the whole system. This invention seems very simple and trouble free. These light bodied cars store the solar energy which enables them to drive easily.
VenturiAstrolab, the first electro-solar hybrid carwas invented in 2006. Now a day’s different companies are also engaged in making advanced electro-solar hybrid cars.
Figure 2: Venturi Astrab-1st solar energy car
Solar energy cars have many advantages.When you buy a solar powered car, there is no need to pay for the petrol and you don’t have to wait at filling stations.
Despite of many advantages it also has some drawbacks. The solar energy cars require more energy and powerful batteries with more storage capacity to run on steep roads and it can carry only one person at a time.