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Solar Cell as Renewable Energy Source | What are solar cells?

This article on Solar cell covers what are solar cells.It mentions how solar cell works,solar cell measurements,solar cell efficiency,solar cell manufacturers etc.

The most popular renewable energy sources are wind turbine, solar cells, fuel cells etc.

Wind Turbine: It converts wind energy into electricity.

Fuel Cell: It produces electricity by combining Hydrogen and Oxygen.

Solar Cell: It produces electricity from direct sun light. Sunlight contains packets of energy called photons which can be converted directly into electrical energy. This is referred as "Photo-voltaic Effect". 'Photo' means light and 'voltaic' means electrical current. A solar cell provides direct current electricity similar to batteries; however battery uses electro-chemical reaction. The generated electricity depends on various factors such as intensity of sunlight, wavelength of sunlight, type and surface area of the solar cell etc.

Solar cells made of Se cells, Ni-Cd cells, PbS cells are very popular. Ni-Cd cells are rechargeable cells used in satellites and automatic traffic lights.

How does solar cell work-Functional operation of solar cell

how solar cell works

• As we know atom consists of protons, neutrons and electrons. Protons are positively charged and electrons are negatively charged. Holes are created when electrons move from its position. Holes contain positive charge.

• Solar cell is made of P-type and N-type materials. Above this materials anti-reflective layer and protective glass cover is provided.

• Sunlight which is made of photons are particles which contain energy.

• When light falls on the solar cell. These photons are absorbed by and consecutively pass through the material of the solar cell.

• The photons will excite the electrons found in N-type material of photovoltaic cell. In other words, light breaks silicon bonds and creates "free" electrons and holes.

• This results into production of current (i.e. movement of holes).

This movement of electrons or flow of current is known as "electricity".

Solar cell measurements

Solar Cell Measurements

In order to need of higher volrage rating, solar cells are configured in series. In order to fulfill higher current capacity of load, solar cells are configured in parallel.

Following factors are useful to determine solar cell performance:
•  Light intensity
• Light wavelength
• Angle of incident light
• Surface condition of solar cells (i.e. cleanlineness)
• Temperature on solar cells

Terminal voltage of solar cell is measured using Voltmeter or multimeter.

Make the setup as shown in the figure-2 above. One can use either voltmeter or power meter or multimeter. In order to determine I vs V curve rsistance is varied from zero to full resistance limit of the potentiometer. At each of the resistance within this range, voltage, current and power is measured.

Solar cell Efficiency

The solar cell efficiency is defined as ratio of output to the input. Output is output power generated by solar cell. Input is incident flux density on the surface area of the solar cell.
Refer Solar Cell Efficiency➤

Solar cell Manufacturers in USA, INDIA

Following table mentions popular solar cell manufacturers:

solar cell manufacturers
Alps Technology, USA
Emcore, USA
Quantum PV, USA
SunPower, USA
TetraSun, USA
Jupiter Solar, INDIA
Maharishi Solar Technology, INDIA
Tata Power SOlar Systems, INDIA
Kotak Urja, INDIA
Indosolar, INDIA

Also refer our article on RF Energy Harvesting➤. This is another renewable energy source which is based on harvesting Radio Frequency Energy.

RF and Wireless Terminologies

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