The increasing global demand for energy has led to a rise in alternative and renewable energy sources such as solar power. The United States government has recognized this trend and implemented various government subsidies and grants aimed at promoting solar energy usage.
While solar power is a viable energy source, it is not suitable for all homes. The trade-offs of solar energy include solar installations that are expensive to install and maintain, and limited directivity (i.e., the ability to focus the rays of the sun on one area of the collector).
This requires that you consider whether or not solar energy is right for your home. In this article, we will discuss what you should know about solar energy and how it can be used to provide power to your home. We will also review a number of the best solar-powered devices currently available on the market.
What Is Solar Energy?
Solar energy is the energy derived from the sun. The sun emits billions of photons per second, which are electromagnetic radiation. These electromagnetic waves can be converted into usable electrical energy through the use of photovoltaic cells. The simplest and most common type of photovoltaic cell is made up of a silicon substrate that is coated with a thin layer of metal (e.g., aluminum or copper) and then covered with a protective layer (e.g., silicon nitride or silicon dioxide). When light (i.e., photons) hits the cell, it triggers an electrochemical reaction that generates electricity (i.e., electrons) which are then collected and used to power electrical appliances. The amount of electricity generated is proportional to the amount of light (i.e., photons) received by the cell.
Types Of Solar Energy Devices
There are several different types of solar energy devices, all of which operate according to the same general principles as discussed above. These different types of solar energy devices vary in the materials used to create them, the structure of the device, and the way in which they are deployed. Let’s discuss the types of solar energy devices available, along with their pros and cons.
Traditional Solar Thermal Collectors
Traditional solar thermal collectors (e.g., parabolic reflectors, dish reflectors, and Fresnel lenses) use the heat of the sun to warm air or water, which is then used to generate electricity. The major advantages of traditional solar thermal collectors include their massive scale, leading to lower cost per unit of power generation; and their ability to focus the sun’s rays on a relatively small area, which improves the efficiency of PV cells and leads to less energy loss (i.e., more power generation).
The major disadvantages of traditional solar thermal collectors include their relative inflexibility regarding the location of the solar arrays (i.e., they usually require full or partial enclosure within a structure such as a building or plant) and the fact that they are usually used for heating purposes, which means they have to be operated at fairly high temperatures, often exceeding 100 degrees Celsius. These high operating temperatures reduce the lifespan of the device, as well as the efficiency of traditional solar thermal collectors, which is why it is usually advisable to install these devices as a secondary energy source alongside an already existing heating system.
PEMF Fusion Solar Panels
PEMF fusion solar panels use a type of magnetic field called a “POWERMAG” (PEMF stands for “POWERMAGnetic”) field to fuse hydrogen atoms in the air into helium atoms, which are then trapped within the crystalline structure of the cell. PEMF fusion solar panels are essentially a hybrid of traditional solar thermal collectors and solar PV cells. This type of solar panel has several advantages. First, it can operate at relatively low temperatures, which improves both the efficiency and lifespan of the device. Second, they are completely flexible regarding the placement of the PV array, meaning no outdoor space is required and the potential for maximizing space is high. Third, they are relatively inexpensive, especially when compared to traditional solar thermal collectors of similar capacity. Finally, PEMF fusion solar panels produce no harmful byproducts during operation.
The main disadvantage of PEMF fusion solar panels is that, like traditional solar thermal collectors, they require suitable outdoor space for proper operation. This could be an issue, especially if you are living in an apartment or in a small space.
Tandem PV Modules
Tandem PV modules connect two or more photovoltaic cells in series. When sunlight is focused on a tandem photovoltaic module, the number of electrons produced by each module is multiplied. A major advantage of tandem photovoltaic modules is that they can operate at much lower voltages than traditional single-junction photovoltaic modules, which reduces the risk of damage to the device from intense sunlight or harsh weather conditions. Tandem PV modules also improve the efficiency of the device, as well as its lifespan, by allowing the individual cells to operate at lower voltages. The following are the major advantages of this type of solar energy device:
- Lower input costs: Tandem PV modules allow for the use of lower cost, smaller PV modules due to their higher voltage compatibility, which in turn reduces the overall costs of installation and maintenance.
- Higher efficiency: Tandem PV modules improve the efficiency of the device by allowing the use of smaller and cheaper PV modules, as well as connecting the modules in series, which reduces the overall amount of resistance within the system. Additionally, the modular design of these devices allows for additional efficiency gains should additional modules be connected in series.
- Longer lifespan: Tandem PV modules improve the lifespan of the device by allowing the use of smaller and cheaper PV modules, which in turn reduces the overall costs of installation and maintenance. Additionally, the modular design of these devices allows for additional efficiency gains should additional modules be connected in series.
- Faster recovery time: Tandem PV modules have the ability to operate at lower voltages than traditional single-junction photovoltaic modules, which reduces the risk of damage to the device from intense sunlight or harsh weather conditions. Should any of the modules experience damage, the entire device can be replaced quickly and efficiently without impacting the continuity of electricity generation.
The following are the major disadvantages of tandem PV modules: