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Our Sun is one of the most amazing phenomena when we think about it. The light from the Sun basically travels millions of miles across space through our atmosphere and is providing us warmth, visual light and vital energy for the plants. Basically, our Earth intercepts a lot of solar power nearly about 173 thousand terawatts. That is thousand times more power than the planet’s population uses or to put in another way one year of exposure from the sun contains twice as much energy that we’ll ever be gained from all the Earth’s non-renewable resources like coal, oil, natural gas and mined uranium combined.So, it may be possible that one day the world could be completely reliant on solar energy?
To answer the above question, we first need to examine how we can convert solar energy into electrical energy. Basically, the best source for converting the above energy is solar panels. Solar panels are made up of smaller units called solar cells. The most common solar cells are made from silicon a semiconductor that is the one of the most abundant element on Earth. In a solar cell, crystalline silicon is sandwiched between conductive layers. Each silicon atom is connected to its neighbours by four strong bonds which basically helps the electrons in place so no current can flow. A silicon solar cell uses two different layers i.e. N-type and P-type silicon. An N-type silicon has extra electrons and P-type has extra spaces for electrons called holes. They basically form a P-N junction, where electrons can wander across P-N junction leaving a positive charge on one side and creating a negative charge on the other.
The sunlight carries the flow of tiny particles called photons. When one of these photons strikes the silicon cell with enough energy, it can knock an electron from its bond leaving a hole. Now, the negatively charged electron and the location of the positively charged hole are now free to move around. But due to the presence of the electric field at the P-N junction, the electron is drawn to the N-side while the hole is drawn to the P-side. Then, the mobile electrons are collected by thin metal fingers at the top of the cell. From there, they flow through an external circuit before returning through the conductive aluminium sheet on the back. Each silicon cell only puts out half a volt but you can strand them together in modules to get more power. Twelve photovoltaic cells are enough to charge a cell phone while it takes many more modules to power an entire house. Solar cells can last for decades as Electros are the only moving parts in a solar cell and they all go back from where they came from.
So, what is stopping us from being completely reliant on solar power?There are physical and logistical challenges and one of the most obvious of those is unevenly Distribution of Solar Energy across the planet. Some areas are sunnier than others.Due to which less energy is available on cloudy days or at night.
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