Solar Panels

By Gavin Z.


In the modern world electricity is being used up more than ever. We use electricity as if it was free. But everything comes from somewhere. Most of the electricity in the world comes from fossil fuels dug up from the ground. But fossil fuels are running out .There is one problem with solar panels which is that they only provide 2% of the world's electricity. But scientists predict that over 100 massive solar panel companies will be built by 2025. If that happens then the world could possibly rely on solar panels. But before I can even explain how the future would work with solar panels I need to explain what a solar panel is.


What is a solar panel? Of course a solar panel is how you can harness energy from the sun. Scientists predict that the sun will burn brightly for another five billion years. And another 1 billion light years before it actually burns out. A solar panel is made from 90-95% crystalline silicon. Crystalline silicon comes in two forms which are monocrystalline and polycrystalline. Silicon is an abundant material in the Earth's crust so that is why it is not that hard to make a solar panel. Though just like fossil fuels it will run out from which then we will have to find a new energy source.. Silicon lasts for twenty years before it needs to be recycled and replaced. There is also a layer of glass to protect the solar panels. The glass protects the solar panels in case a tree branch falls onto the solar panel. So now that we know what a solar panel physically is, let's talk about the journey of electricity.


The electricity comes from the sun rays which travel at 299,792 kilometers per second. That means that electricity takes eight minutes and 20 seconds to travel to Earth. From then it goes into the solar panel containing photovoltaic cells which harness the sun’s energy. then convert DC energy into AC energy which is the energy used in most homes. The energy is then ready to use directly or sent to a battery for storage and later use.. Ok now that we know how electricity travels from the sun to our homes let's talk about the history of solar panels.


Solar panels history dates back a long time since old roman times. Of course they didn’t have solar panels but the idea was there. This is because they built south facing bathrooms to capture the sunlights warmth. The Native Americans also knew this because they used the sun by letting adobes sit in the sun to dry and then make homes. The first solar panel was built in 1883 by Charles Fritts and installed in 1884 on a New York rooftop by John Perlin. This first solar panel was built with selenium and a thin layer of gold. Solar technology progressed and by 1979 solar panels werebuilt on the white house roof due to the request of president Jimmy Carter. Support for solar energy shifted with political views. The White House solar panels were taken down in 1986 by resident Reagan. In 2003 President George W. Bush installed a small array of solar panels on the White house grounds. Then in 2010, Bill Mckibbenand a group of Unity college students rallied for Obama to install solar panels. Ok now let's do our final subject which is the future of solar panels.


Solar energy is likely to have powerful impacts on our future. Solar now accounts for a majority of new electricity capacity installed. The reason is that the cost of solar energy is falling rapidly while the cost of fossil fuels is rising due to increased regulation and the scarcity of easy to extract oil, coal, and natural gas. This is why solar appears likely to grow in adoption and with scale further decreases the cost of electricity. One potential challenge for solar is the need for metals and other materials to construct and replace. After about 20 years each and every solar panel will have to be thrown away and replace which will take up space on Earth.. Now you may ask why not reuse the solar panels? Well this is because there are still active chemicals in the solar panels and even though the chemicals are in small amounts they can still harm stuff when reused. Now even if there is a bill that allows throwing solar panels into space, some may fall into space and hit satellites and other trademarks of Nasa and now the famous company Space-X. So that is a large problem. So the only way solar panels could be a reality in the future is if we learn how to properly dispose of them without harming the modern world.


I hope you learned a lot about solar panels! They could be the future or just another silly little invention that will harm our world.


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By Gavin


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