GEOL 1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 26: Photovoltaics, Electric Current, Solar Irradiance

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21 Sep 2020
Hao Tran
Physical Geology
Notes: Geol 1
(Renewable Energy)
Renewable Energy Sources
Lots of types being studied to help reduce fossil fuels use
General Points:
1. Each has advantages and disadvantages
No ‘magical material’ that comes without any drawbacks
2. No one source will provide all our energy needs
Need a varied approach
Renewable Energy Advantages
1. Abundant
2. Produce little pollution
3. Low maintenance
4. Safe
Renewable Energy Disadvantages
1. Technology still being developed
2. Expensive
3. Infrastructure compatibility
4. Acceptance by society
Capture all the sunlight for 1 hour = a year’s supply of energy
How can we harness solar energy?
Use mirrors to collect sunlight and reflect it towards sunlight directly into
a current (electricity)
Solar Farms
Use Mirrors to focus/reflect sunlight onto a receiver
Solar Electricity
Photovoltaics (PV):
Converting sunlight directly into electricity
Photovoltaic Cells (PVCs)
Receiver that collects the sunlight and causes electrons in the
semiconductor to flow
Constantly improving: 46% is the record for efficiency
New Organic materials being studied
Like a solar panel
Use around 7.5% of the Sahara desert as solar farms = provide half the
world’s energy needs
Assumes 10-15% PVC efficiency
Also very expensive but efficiency is an Ok assumption
Solar Use
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