Solar Power Guide: The Solar Revolution

The idea behind the term “Solar Revolution” is that one day we will all enjoy free electricity from the sun. Just think about it, if we could collect the sun’s energy on a daily basis – which is approximately 1,000 watts of energy per square meter of our planet’s surface – we could easily power our homes and offices with solar renewable energy.

Solar Cells: What Are They?
Manufactured from silicon crystals in clean room conditions, solar cells are actually photovoltaic (PV) cells. Photo = light and Voltaic = electricity; meaning, solar cells can convert the sun’s energy directly into electricity.

Solar Technology: How Does It Work?
Understanding how we can actually use sunlight as an alternative source of energy is not so complicated. I will try to make it as simple as possible without elaborating too much.

Are you ready? Let’s go:
When the sun’s light strikes the PV cell, a certain amount of the light’s energy is transferred to the cell’s material, making electrons flow freely. PV cells also have built-in electric fields that force these electrons to flow in a certain direction – this flow of electrons is a current, and by placing metal contacts on the top and bottom of the PV cell, we can draw that current off to power our homes. Cool, isn’t it?

I found some great information and illustrations on how solar yard lights work at howstuffworks.com – be sure to check it out, it’s really interesting.