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How the solar cell works

Simply put, a solar panel works by allowing photons, or particles of light, to knock electrons free from atoms, generating a flow of electricity. Solar panels actually comprise many, smaller units called photovoltaic cells. (Photovoltaic simply means they convert sunlight into electricity.) Many cells linked together make up a solar panel.

Each photovoltaic cell is basically a sandwich made up of two slices of semi-conducting material, usually silicon — the same stuff used in microelectronics.

To work, photovoltaic cells need to establish an electric field. Much like a magnetic field, which occurs due to opposite poles, an electric field occurs when opposite charges are separated. To get this field, manufacturers “dope” silicon with other materials, giving each slice of the sandwich a positive or negative electrical charge.

Specifically, they seed phosphorous into the top layer of silicon, which adds extra electrons, with a negative charge, to that layer. Meanwhile, the bottom layer gets a dose of boron, which results in fewer electrons, or a positive charge. This all adds up to an electric field at the junction between the silicon layers. Then, when a photon of sunlight knocks an electron free, the electric field will push that electron out of the silicon junction.

 

A couple of other components of the cell turn these electrons into usable power. Metal conductive plates on the sides of the cell collect the electrons and transfer them to wires. At that point, the electrons can flow like any other source of electricity.

Recently, researchers have produced ultrathin, flexible solar cells that are only 1.3 microns thick — about 1/100th the width of a human hair — and are 20 times lighter than a sheet of office paper. In fact, the cells are so light that they can sit on top of a soap bubble, and yet they produce energy with about as much efficiency as glass-based solar cells, scientists reported in a study published in 2016 in the journal Organic Electronics. Lighter, more flexible solar cells such as these could be integrated into architecture, aerospace technology, or even wearable electronics.  

There are other types of solar power technology — including solar thermal and concentrated solar power (CSP) — that operate in a different fashion than photovoltaic solar panels, but all harness the power of sunlight to either create electricity or to heat water or air.

Credit : https://www.livescience.com/41995-how-do-solar-panels-work.html

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Invisible Solar Panels

How Tomorrow’s Windows Will Generate Electricity

A new study led by scientists from Incheon National University in Korea shows how to make a fully transparent solar cell.

In a new study in Journal of Power Sources, an international team of researchers, led by Prof. Joondong Kim from Korea, demonstrate the first transparent solar cell. Their innovative technique rests on a specific part of the solar cell: the heterojunction, made up of thin films of materials responsible for absorbing light. By combining the unique properties of titanium dioxide and nickel oxide semiconductors, the researchers were able to generate an efficient, transparent solar cell.

Five years after the Paris climate agreement, all eyes are on the world’s progress on the road to a carbon-free future. A crucial part of this goal involves the energy transition from fossil fuels to renewable sources, such as sun, water, wind and wave energy. Among those, solar energy has always held the highest hope in the scientific community, as the most reliable and abundant energy source on Earth. In recent decades, solar cells have become cheaper, more efficient, and environmentally friendly. However, current solar cells tend to be opaque, which prevents their wider use and integration into everyday materials, constrained to being lined up on roofs and in remote solar farms.

But what if next-generation solar panels could be integrated to windows, buildings, or even mobile phone screens? That is the hope of Professor Joondong Kim from the Department of Electrical Engineering at Incheon National University, Korea. In a recent study published in Journal of Power Sources, he and his colleagues detail their latest invention: a fully transparent solar cell. “The unique features of transparent photovoltaic cells could have various applications in human technology,” says Prof. Kim.

The idea of transparent solar cells is well known, but this novel application where scientists have been able to translate this idea into practice is a crucial new finding. At present, the materials making the solar cell opaque are the semiconductor layers, those responsible for capturing light and translating it into an electrical current. Hence, Prof. Kim and his colleagues looked at two potential semiconductor materials, identified by previous researchers for their desirable properties.

The first is titanium dioxide (TiO2), a well-known semiconductor already widely used to make solar cells. On top of its excellent electrical properties, TiO2 is also an environment-friendly and non-toxic material. This material absorbs UV light (a part of the light spectrum invisible to the naked eye) while letting through most of the visible light range. The second material investigated to make this junction was nickel oxide (NiO), another semiconductor known to have high optical transparency. As nickel is one of the mist abundant elements on Earth, and its oxide can easily be manufactured at low industrial temperatures, NiO is also a great material to make eco-friendly cells.

Credit : https://scitechdaily.com/

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Inverter Info

How Solar Inverter Works and Its Applications

Nowadays, the necessity of the using renewable sources like solar has increased. A solar inverter is a common inverter but uses energy from the sun that is solar energy. This type of inverter aids in changing the DC into AC using solar power. DC is the power which flows in one direction in the circuit and helps in providing current when there is no electricity.

Direct current is used for small appliances such as gadgets, iPod, MP3 players, etc. where there is power stored in the battery. In the case of AC (alternative current) is the power that supplies back and forth inside the circuit. Generally, the AC power is used for household appliances.A solar inverter helps many devices that run on DC power to run on AC power so that the operator makes use of the AC power.

If you are thinking why to use this inverter as an alternative to the normal electric one, then it is because the solar inverter makes use of the solar energy which is obtainable in ample from the Sun and is clean and also pollution free.

What is a Solar Inverter?

The Solar Inverter is an essential device in any solar power system. Its basic function of the inverter is to change the variable Direct Current output of the solar panels into Alternating Current. The various electrical and electronic components connected in the circuit help in the conversion.

Solar Inverter

The converted Alternating Current power is used for running your appliances like the TV, Refrigerator, Microwave, etc. For some particular applications, we can directly use the Direct Current power from the solar panel such as LED night lights, a cell phone charger. Generally, the power of a home solar power system is used for power AC loads.

Types of Solar Inverters

There are abundant of well-known creators of Solar Inverters all over the world. But there are a few types of solar inverters available in the market which includes the following.

Off Grid Inverters


Off Grid Inverter

Off grid inverters are used in remote systems wherein the solar inverter is fed DC power from a battery panel. This battery panel is charged by solar panels. Several such inverters have integrated with basic battery chargers which can be used to boost the battery from an AC power source.

Grid Tie Inverter


Grid Tie Inverter

An inverter which is associated with the grid can be said to be a grid tie inverter. These inverter feed power in the electricity grid by corresponding phase and frequency. And, the frequency ranges 50Hz in India and 60Hz in North America of the o/p AC power with the effectiveness supplied AC power. These inverters are designed to automatically shut down once sensing a loss of supply from the utility.

Battery backup Inverters


Battery Backup Inverter

These special types of inverters are particularly designed to draw energy from a battery. The charge of the battery is preserved by using an on-board charger and an additional energy is transferred to the grid. Such inverters have the ability to provide AC power to particular loads during power outages. They also have the anti-islanding function.

Micro Inverter

Micro Inverter

Micro inverters are modern in the solar industry. They are small, compact size and portable with a lot of performance. They include all the features of any central inverters.

Solar Inverter and Its Working

The main goal of this project is to design a system which uses solar energy for household loads using an inverter. The hardware requirements mainly include Bridge-MOSFETs drive, Step up Transformer, Voltage regulator, MOSFET driver, PWM inverter IC, Solar Panel, and Battery.

Solar Inverter Block Diagram

Solar energy is changed to electrical energy with the help of photovoltaic cells. This energy is stored in batteries during daytime for the operation purpose whenever needed. The proposed system is designed to utilize solar energy for home loads using an inverter.

A solar inverter converts the DC (Direct Current) output of a PV solar panel into a utility frequency AC (alternating current) that can be fed into a commercial electrical grid (or) used by a local, off-line electrical.

In this proposed system, the solar energy is stored in the battery from PV cells. This energy of the battery is altered to AC supply of 50Hz frequency using PWM inverter IC with MOSFET to the driver MOSFET bridge & step-up the voltage by a transformer,  all in off-line only but not grid tie type.

For sample purposes a battery of the SMF kind of and 5 AH (not supplied, it is generally used in small UPS) is necessary to be used as solar cells required would be of very high power type casting very high. Moreover, this project can be added to a charge controller for over voltage, under voltage protection and overload protection.

Advantages of Solar Inverter

After knowing in detail what is a solar inverter and how it is a suitable making appliance work at residential & industrial levels we must discuss about the several advantages of the solar inverter.

  • Solar energy has constantly helped in decreasing the greenhouse effect and global warming.
  • By using of solar based devices will help in saving money and also energy. Because many people have started using these devices.
  • A solar inverter helps in changing the DC into batteries or AC. This supports people who use a partial amount of electricity.
  • The synchronous solar inverter that helps small homeowners and also power companies as they are huge in size.
  • The multi-function solar inverter is the finest among all and works powerfully. It converts the DC to AC very carefully which is suitable for commercial establishments.
  • This inverter is cost effective, i.e. low cost than generators.
  • Apart from these there are additional devices too, that make use of solar energy such as, solar heater, cooker.

Disadvantages of Solar Inverter

  • Primarily, we need to shell out a lot of money for purchasing a solar inverter
  • It will work efficiently and produce DC only when the daylight is strong.
  • The solar panels are used to attract the sunshine needs lots of space
  • Solar Inverters can work when there is no Sunshine but the battery which is available in that is charged fully with the help of Sunshine.

Thus, this is all about solar inverter working, advantages and disadvantages. We hope that you have got a better understanding of this concept or to implement solar inverter project, please give your feedback by commenting in the comment section below. Here is a question for you, what are the advantages of the solar inverter?