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A group effort:






What Is Solar Power/Energy?

Solar power is the generation of electricity from sunlight. This can be direct as
with photovoltaic (PV), or indirect as with concentrating solar power (CSP),
where the solar furnaces use giant mirrors to focus the sun’s rays on a boiler.
Steam from the boiler is used to make electricity. Solar power provided 0.02% of
the total world energy
consumption in 2008. Terrestrial
solar power is a
predictably intermittent energy source, meaning that whilst solar power is not
available at all times, we can predict with a very good degree of accuracy when
it will and will not be available. These store spare solar energy in the form of
heat which can be made available overnight or during periods that solar power is
not available to produce electricity.

Solar Energy: An Over View

As solar power does not make sense for all
locations in the world. The initial cost of
installing solar panels or other sources of solar
energy is high, and that is not easy for most
people to get around. No matter how much
some people would like to get involved in the
movement to independent energy,
it is cost prohibitive. To achieve the highest
level of efficiency, which is the entire
point of going solar in the first place, you
need the proper amount of roof space to support the panels your house may
require. Not only how much space is available, but also the location of your home
is also relevant to whether or not you can maintain solar energy. Some houses
simply do not receive enough sunlight to produce substantial energy. This could
mean that either your house is not positioned favorably in relation to a tree or
other house.

A solar cell, or photovoltaic cell (PV), is a device that converts
light into electric current using the photoelectric effect. This is
based on the discovery by Alexander-Edmond Becquerel who
noticed that some materials release electrons when hit with rays
of photons from light, which produces an electrical current. The
first solar cell was constructed by Charles Fritts in the 1880s.
Although the prototype selenium cells converted less than 1% of
incident light into electricity, both Ernst Werner von Siemens and James Clerk Maxwell
recognized the importance of this discovery. Following the work of Russell Ohl in the
1940s, researchers Gerald Pearson, Calvin Fuller and Daryl Chapin created the silicon
solar cell in 1954.

These early solar cells cost 286 USD/watt and reached efficiencies of 4.5–6%.As of late
2009, the highest efficiency PV cells were produced commercially by Boeing/SpectroLab
at about 41%. Other, similar, multi-layer cells are close. These are very expensive
however, and are used only for the most exacting applications. Thin film PV cells have
been developed which are made in bulk and are far less expensive and much less fragile,
but are at most around 20% efficient. The most recent development (from Caltech,
March 2010) is the experimental demonstration of a new design which is an 85% efficient
photon absorber in plain sunlight and 95% efficient absorber at certain wavelengths.
Unfortunately, 100% absorption should not be confused with 100% electrical efficiency as
single junction materials are bound by the so-called Shockley-Queisser limit.

Energy storage methods

Solar energy is not available at night, making energy storage an important issue
in order to provide the continuous availability of energy. Both wind power and
solar power are intermittent energy sources, meaning that all available output
must be taken when it is available and either stored for when it can be used, or
transported, over transmission lines, to where it can be used. Wind power and
solar power can be complementary, in locations that experience more wind in
the winter and more sun in the summer, but on days with no sun and no wind the
difference needs to be made up in some manner.

Pakistan is most suitable for

solar power
In Pakistan, there is enough potential for solar energy, as there are 250-300
sunny days a year in many parts of the country. Continuous cloudy days are also
rare. Solar energy can be used for rural electrification, water heating, pumping
water from wells and for cooking purposes. As you can see, the cons of
implementing solar power in your home are primarily cost and location related,
but if those two items do not pose issues for you, the good news is…

If solar power is looked at through a long-term lens, you will eventually make
back what you originally spent, and possibly start saving money on your
investment. Solar power is not subject supply and demand fluctuations in the way
that gas is. Silicon, the primary component of solar panels, is also being more
widely produced, therefore, less and less expensive with each passing year. Solar
power is independent, or semi-independent. This is great because you can supply
your home with electricity during a power outage. Solar power can also be used
in remote locations, places where conventional power can’t be reached. On a
larger scale, solar power also reduces our need to rely on foreign sources for
power. In Pakistan, there are some solar power systems being utilized but
together it is less in number in the country just because of the initial cost needed
to make larger and bigger and efficient solar power stations so that they can
cover a wide area of range for providing power. Let’s hope it comes sooner in our
country so that we can get rid of load shedding problem (INSHALLAH). Let’s hope