# The Naked Scientists Forum

### Author Topic: How do we convert sunlight into energy?  (Read 2852 times)

#### Lekale

• Guest
##### How do we convert sunlight into energy?
« on: 19/05/2009 23:30:04 »

In layman's terms please explain how we convert sun power to electrical power. What exactly are we capturing form the Sun and how does it become electricity?

What do you think?

#### lyner

• Guest
##### How do we convert sunlight into energy?
« Reply #1 on: 21/05/2009 16:03:02 »
A photon of sunlight comes along and knocks an electron out of its place in the junction between two semiconductor materials in a photo diode. The electron (or at least another one) can't get back down so it finds its way back into the original position by flowing around the circuit and giving up its energy to the lamp / calculator / battery, etc.
A water 'analogy': It's a bit like running a water wheel by throwing stones into a reservoir and splashing water up into a higher reservoir; the water runs down via the wheel and does work.
A single solar cell will only produce a fraction of a volt, so they connect several in series, in an array, to produce a useful voltage (say, 12V).
« Last Edit: 21/05/2009 16:07:28 by sophiecentaur »

#### Raghavendra

• Hero Member
• Posts: 835
• Quantum
##### How do we convert sunlight into energy?
« Reply #2 on: 02/06/2009 08:07:23 »
The waves which travel in random direction, back sustance is a good option to catch the light rays...
So, using electronics, we can make the energy flow through the uncharged particles..

• Neilep Level Member
• Posts: 1451
##### How do we convert sunlight into energy?
« Reply #3 on: 02/06/2009 18:14:26 »
The waves which travel in random direction, back sustance is a good option to catch the light rays...
So, using electronics, we can make the energy flow through the uncharged particles..

what??

Anyway, there is also the method of using mirrors to focus a large area of sunlight onto a boiler, which boils water into steam which drives a turbine.

#### Yomi

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• Posts: 548
• HERE IN AM TO TAKE AWAY THE NOBEL PRIZE
##### How do we convert sunlight into energy?
« Reply #4 on: 02/06/2009 18:19:29 »
The waves which travel in random direction, back sustance is a good option to catch the light rays...
So, using electronics, we can make the energy flow through the uncharged particles..

Raghavendra you don't need waves which to be moved in given path here is plan to produce heat through sun's radiation another method is by using the concept of black body radiation in which the focus are painted in black colour so that it can absorb more radiation and produce even more heat

• Neilep Level Member
• Posts: 1451
##### How do we convert sunlight into energy?
« Reply #5 on: 02/06/2009 18:56:17 »
Quote
Raghavendra you don't need waves which to be moved in given path here is plan to produce heat through sun's radiation another method is by using the concept of black body radiation in which the focus are painted in black colour so that it can absorb more radiation and produce even more heat

What? black body radiation refers to the thermal radiation that a black body emits.

The boiler is black, yes, but it isn't just black paint, they use 'black chrome' which is a complex composite of metallic chrome and Cr2O3.

#### The Naked Scientists Forum

##### How do we convert sunlight into energy?
« Reply #5 on: 02/06/2009 18:56:17 »