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As we all know, Energy is the ability to work. In Physics, It's a scaler property that is transferred to an object in order to perform work on the object. This energy is conserved, it can neither be created nor destroyed, it can only be transformed from one form to another. There are different forms of energy such as electrical energy, magnetic energy, nuclear energy, mechanical energy, thermal energy etc.
In today’s world machines are everywhere, machines need the power to do their job to speed up tasks which otherwise would have taken many men and women working for many days to complete. These machines could be as simple as a microwave or as complex as airplanes and rockets. Now to give every machine the power to do its job we need to provide energy.
But energy has been one of the prime concerns for the future of any nation in recent years. The situation has been aggravated by the fact the resources of the world are anticipated to reach a state when it will be absolutely impossible to bank on conventional sources of fuel such as coal, oil & natural gases for the production of energy. The crisis had been foreseen years ago by many developed nations and this has been under serious consideration by the Govt. of India for enhancing energy security. A glaring example of a step forward is the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) as currently followed by the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy Sources (MNRES).
But what is the new and renewable energy source? And how does it help us save natural resources on our planet?
We know that the sun is the father of all energy sources and it has an enormous amount of energy reserve. So the idea is to utilize the Sun's never-ending energy and convert it into the machine and human consumable energy to protect our natural resource reserve underneath earth's surface. There are two direct ways to utilize solar energy (energy from Sun is called solar energy):
1. Solar thermal system (using the heat energy)
2. Solar Photovoltaic (using the light energy, often called as PV)
Although power production is possible by both means, electricity generation worldwide is more prominent through solar PV than through solar thermal. Solar power production generates electricity with a limited impact on the environment as compared to other forms of electricity production.
Some Amazing Facts about Photovoltaic (PV) Energy Conversion:
The total solar energy absorbed by earth’s atmosphere, oceans, land masses is 3,850,000 exajoules (1ej= 10^18 joules) per year. The amount of solar energy reaching the surface of the planet is so vast that in one year it is about twice as much as will ever be obtained from all the earth’s non-renewable resources of coal, oil, natural gas, and mined uranium combined.
Now, let’s look at the physics behind a PV system:
Solar Photovoltaic (PV) devices convert this enormous photonic energy directly into electrical energy, which is achieved by using suitable solid-state semiconductor devices mostly made of silicon like materials. The photon-induced effects or photoconductivity (Property of semiconductors exhibiting changes in physical properties on photon exposure) and photoresistivity (intrinsic resistivity of semiconductor modified by incident photon energy) have been utilized to produce PV devices usually called Solar Cells. The photonic energy coming from the sun while is incident on solar cells, a fraction of the energy of appropriate wavelength is converted into electricity, this phenomenon is known as the Solar Photovoltaic Effect. The term Photovoltaic denotes the unbiased operating mode of a photodiode in which current through the device is entirely due to the transduced light energy. Virtually all photovoltaic devices are some type of photodiode.
Is it very expensive? No, not at all, actually it's becoming more affordable by the common man
The photovoltaic industry is currently the fastest growing industry in the terrestrial scenario. This is so because the cost of PV module has started to decline very rapidly. There is a host of semiconductor technology comprising the PV cells in a PV module. Out of these technologies, the price of single crystal silicon (c-Si) has come down from 0.75 euro/peak watt to 0.5 euro/peak watt in a span of 1-1.15 years only.PV installations can operate for many years with little maintenance or intervention after their initial set-up, so after the initial capital cost of building any solar power plant, operating costs are extremely low compared to existing power technologies.
This is just an overview of a wide and deep concept. But such an idea only realizes it's potential when it meets the real consumers. So it's time to wake up and embrace the new forms of energy. It's time to do our part to protect our mother nature and save our hard earned money and a larger impact might one day end the worldwide war for oil and natural resources.
Let us all believe that we can still turn around our the devastating impact we have on our environment and start a climate revolution.
Placing solar panels and making a difference won’t be so easy as on top of the food chain big corporate America continues to pollute the environment and doesn’t think in a long term proces how to build a sustainable and zero impact economy