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Understanding Sunpower and Solar Panels

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Understanding Sunpower and Solar Panels is a common quest among power engineers. The cleanest, most reliable form of energy that is readily available on planet earth today comes from the sun. It has been speculated that more than enough sunlight strikes the surface of this planet every day to provide the energy necessary for every civilization on Earth. As costs continue to dwindle for production technology, and the outlay for energy continues to rise, it makes sense for this type of application to proliferate. There are a number of ways in which engineers have devised to capture the sun’s rays. One of these is Photovoltaic cells, which is the most common type of solar panel that is being produced today. When sunlight strikes the surface of the panel, it is converted into electricity of the direct current type.

For the most part, the designers with an understanding of sunpower and solar panels create a system to funnel the power into storage batteries that can be used later. This also helps to provide a steady flow of juice since the rate is even and steady. Unfortunately these types of cells are not very efficient. Although the newer models boast claims of up to 40%, the ones being employed today are typically between 9 & 14%. Solar power can also be used to power a heating system by using the sun’s rays to heat up a medium circulating between panels. It can then be used for heat or hot water purposes. They can be either used as an active system with pumps to move fluid or passive systems which use the natural flow of convection currents to achieve the same thing.

Understanding Sunpower and Solar Panels can be used for a variety of applications, these types of systems are way more effective than the photovoltaic producers of electricity, with an output of more than 50% on many occasions, depending on the design, amount of sun and temperate of ambient air. An advanced way of capturing the sun’s rays on a large scale is through the use of a solar power tower. It uses a series of mirror to focus sunlight on a tower. The central location of this structure is filled with water or salt to produce steam that powers a turbine. Once the rays are captured, these can be safely stored for use later — such as on inclement days or even nighttime. A great example of this type of structure is in Spain. The Planta Solar 20 has over 1200 mirrors, each of which is almost 1300 sq. ft in area. The mirrors all have separate controls, and can adjust on their own to make sure optimal light is focused on the tower. It can produce enough power for 10,000 homes all by itself. The efficiency of the tower is approximately 15%, still better than the photovoltaic solar cells.

Solar power demand continues to grow among consumers. Companies are scrambling to meet this need. Southern California is one of the leading states in this movement with plans to construct their own system in the near future. These types of systems are gaining in popularity as the green movement continues to grow. Understanding sunpower and solar panels will allow engineers to better help this cause.