What are Solar Power Panels?
Solar Power Panels refer to a panel designed to absorb the sun’s rays as a source of energy for generating electricity or heating. Concentrated solar panel powered systems use lenses or mirrors and tracking systems to focus a large area of sunlight into a small beam. They are called “solar” panels because most of the time, the most powerful source of light available is the Sun, called Sol by astronomers. Some scientists call them photovoltaics which means, basically, “light-electricity.”
What are Solar Powered Panels made off?
Solar powered panels are made of solar cells. A cell is a small disk of a semiconductor like silicon. They are attached by wire to a circuit. As light strikes the semiconductor, light is converted into electricity that flows through the circuit. As soon as the light is removed, the solar cell stops producing power.
The amount available to a solar panels power is proportional to the amount of light that reaches it. The more light it gets, the more power it produces.
In space, the most important source of light is the Sun. The Sun emits just about the same amount of light in all directions.
The Toughness of Solar Powered Panels
Solar power panels are most often sturdy. Compared to alternative power sources, they wear out very slowly. Their effectiveness decreases around 1 to 2 percent a year. This means after a five year mission (boldly going where no probe has gone before), the solar panels will still be making more than 90% of what they made at the beginning of the mission (as long as they haven’t gotten farther away from the Sun).