It pays you to know what PV Solar is!

What is PV solar energy? Well, there are two ways in which the Sun’s rays can be turned into energy you can use. You might be asking the question because you are confused between thermal and electrical solar energy.

And both will inevitably gain importance in your life as energy costs and shortages, and global warming, bite deeper.

And, knowing the nature of anything you need to use is a great start to choosing the best at the least cost.

Thermal solar energy is anything, usually air or water, warmed up directly by the sun’s rays. When you soak up some warmth from the sun, sitting inside behind a window, that’s you using thermal energy from the sun.

And you just thought you were relaxing there…Well, this is the principle used by solar hot water heaters and passive solar design in buildings.

So, What is PV solar energy then?

PV stands for photovoltaic. Photo means light and voltaic refers to volt, a unit of electrical force. Hence photovoltaic activity is the process where electricity is generated, using light. Solar panels that use PV chips are designed to do just that whenever the sun shines on them.

Chips

PV solar chips incorporate semiconductors. Those are materials that release electrons when exposed to light, our basis for electricity in this case.

You have heard of silicon chips of course. It is abundant in sand. And some 98% of solar PV cells are made of this. Well that’s a semi conductor, engineered to be very good at releasing energy when exposed to light.

In PV solar energy, PV cells consist of two layers of semi conductors. One that’s positively charged, the other negative.

When these two semi conductors absorb light their electrons get excited. And you know that tension occurs between all opposite forces in this world. Take mountains and lowlands that enable rivers to flow or the argument you’re having with someone of an opposing view that causes lots of hot air!

The negatively and positively charged particles flowing from these semi conductors then create tension: Volts! And the more light the more electricity.

It lights us up

So there you have it. A PV solar panel can turn on your lights, equipment, anything – provided you have enough of these cells working for you.

Large areas often need to be taken up for solar panels to deliver the needed domestic electricity.

By contrast you can actually buy equipment such as laptops or BBQ’s that come with their own small panel.

What Is PV Solar Energy is one question. How you can get more solar energy with smaller surfaces coated with PV cells is another.

You are probably talking thin film solar panels, integrated solar PV in roofing and even spray-on solar films. But that’s for another day.