Did you know that the sun casts as much energy onto the Earth in 20 minutes as the entire world population consumes in one year? This poses the question ‘What is the best way to use this energy sensibly?’ A key element in the response to this challenge is a mix of renewable energies, with photovoltaics playing an important role. This technology transforms sunlight into electricity – without damaging the environment; producing waste or having a negative effect on human health. The sun offers us the means to halt climate change and the consumption of resources.
How does a photovoltaic system work?
Photovoltaic systems are made up of individual solar panels which in turn consist of individual solar cells. When the sun shines, solar cells behave in a similar way to batteries. This incident sunlight is made up of photons, which split electrons, creating positively and negatively charged layers in the solar cell. This difference in potential generates an electric charge. If an electrical consumer, such as a lamp, were to be connected to the cell a (continuous) electrical current would flow. The more sunlight falls onto the solar cell, the brighter the bulb would burn.