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Solar Energy

because physics
by

Nathan Reed

on 4 February 2014

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Transcript of Solar Energy

The salts store the energy like a battery, so it can be used to boil water when the sun is not out.
The demand for solar energy in the US is the highest it's ever been.
In the first quarter of 2012, developers installed 85% more solar panels compared to the first quarter of last year!
So why aren't we all switching to solar energy?
Photovoltaic Cells
Each cell is made of two layers of a semiconductor like silicon
The layers are doped (chemical impurities added) to create a “p-n junction”
One has a positive charge and the other has a negative charge.
+

When light
hits the
panel
Solar Energy
It energizes the atoms and makes them lose electrons
Solar energy potential
which flow through the semiconductor.
173,000 terawatts of solar energy reaches the Earth
MONEY!
Local permitting and inspection can add more than $2,500 to the total cost of a solar energy system!
The average cost of installing solar power on a mid-sized home in Ohio is about $16,000.
Solar Thermal Electricity
Prices have lowered by 60% since early 2011!
30 solar panels can produce about 22 kWh a day.
The flow of electrons
=
electricity
That adds up to 4,152,000 kWh of energy a year!
That's trillions of J/s!
Converts solar energy to heat, and then converts the heat to electricity
A typical generator system burns a fuel like coal to turn water into steam which turns a turbine.
Inside the tower is a tank of salts.
The salts can hold a lot more heat (a high heat capacity)
Solar-thermal systems use the molten salt to boil water.
The salts store the energy like a battery, so it can be used to boil water when the sun is not out.
However, solar energy is getting more economical for both businesses and homes!
But there's also another issue with solar energy...
Efficiency!
Melting Pot
The energy can also be kept in a standard rechargeable battery.
However, that doesn’t quite cover the average household consumption of 30 kWh per day.
Energy density measures how many Watts an energy source can make in a given amount of space.
A square foot of coal can produce 31.4 Watts, while a square foot of solar paneling can only produce 16.22 Watts.
Just for reference...
Over a 25-year period, the system can more than pay for itself in energy savings.
However, there's plenty of room to grow...
The watt-hour is a unit of energy equivalent to one watt of power expended for one hour.
Some other limitations
Solar energy can only be harnessed when it is sunny out.
However, the salt method allows energy to be stored when there is a lack of sunshine.
Large, open spaces of land are required to capture the suns energy effectively.
Solar power stations are consequently much larger and expensive than conventional power stations.
What about politics?
The main issue the government has with solar energy is funding its research.
The federal support for advances in solar power fluctuate between presidents.
For clear developments, solar energy will need constant support from the US government.
With raised awareness of global warming, many more citizens will be more supportive of alternative energy sources as well.
Notes:
- Honestly just mention this thing. Maybe don't.
- They use oil piped through long pipes
- Field of little parabolic reflectors going to pipes instead of huge field to one central heating tank
Solar cells can be layered so that they can pick up different levels of energy.

This makes them much more efficient.
Layered Efficiency
By: Nathan Reed, Laura Paganini, Jon Lee
How its in use today?
Passive Solar
Walgreens is in progress of putting solar panels on 200 plus stores!
In 2011, they announced that they will be putting solar panels on 53 of their store in Ohio.
Uses the sun's energy without any conversion to electricity.
With the store roof space of a regular Walgreens, it could provide for 20% of the stores energy!
Applications of Solar Power
Full transcript