Sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves and geothermal heat are all sources of renewable resources that can be harnessed to create energy. In recent years, the technology has been refined and made more available to the general public. One type of green energy that has seen an increase in use is solar energy - mostly in the form of photovoltaic (PV) cells mounted on the roofs of residential homes. Thanks to rapidly falling prices and gains in efficiency, solar energy use has surged at about 20 percent a year over the past 15 years.
The solar panel works to absorb the light from the sun through a semiconductor like silicon. That energy knocks electrons loose triggering more electrons to become loose and flow freely in a certain direction within the PV cell. Metal contacts located at both the top and bottom of the PV cell draw the loose electrons to the connectors generating the power that can then be used in your home. On a sunny day, the sun’s rays give off approximately 1,000 watts of energy per square meter of the planet’s surface.
Solar energy is an interesting topic and well worth looking into as an alternative energy source. Some simple options for switching to solar energy in your home are solar outdoor lights. If you’re looking to make a bigger commitment to green energy, the State of Massachusetts offers financial and tax incentives to make your home ‘greener’. For further information, check out these informational sites:
Jessika Toothman & Scott Aldous "How Solar Cells Work" 1 April 2000.
HowStuffWorks.com. <http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/energy/solar-cell.htm> 12 January 2016
Solar Power Energy Information, Solar Power Energy Facts - National Geographic: