The sun supplies the earth with heat and light, among other things, and emits radiation. Since the beginning of humanity, the sun has therefore been seen as one of the most important factors in our lives. The Mayans and Aztecs had been around for about 2,000 years. Christ fascinated by the sun and observed it carefully. In the time of the Greeks, for the first time the usefulness of the sun was recognized as an energy-providing source by the Greek philosopher Aristotle. He thought about how best to use solar heat by adapting the house building to it. In the third century BC, the Romans took over this knowledge of the Greeks. She used magnifying glasses to use the solar energy to light flares, at the time mainly for religious purposes.
The history of solar energy
In 1767 the first solar panels were installed in Switzerland. The Swiss scientist Horace-Bénédict de Saussure discovered by generating solar energy and way to cook with a kind of solar panel. His technique was later used in around 1830 by the scientist John Herschel, among others, who invented an instrument with which the heat power of generated solar energy could be measured. Not much later, around 1839, a real breakthrough took place. Then the French physicist Antoine César Becquerel discovered the so-called ‘photovoltaic’ effect. He first experienced how sunlight could be converted into electricity.
He discovered that by exposing an arrangement of electrodes placed in an electrolyte to the sunlight, electrons were released which can move in the desired direction. As a result, the amount of electricity produced increases and power is generated. A breakthrough, because not much later the so-called photoconductivity was invented on the basis of this new knowledge. In 1876, for example, the first selenium solar energy was converted into electricity. The new insights laid the foundations for a few years later. Around the beginning of the 20th century, the first solar cell was produced. Today, it still serves as the basis for the solar panels as we know them today.
Solar energy in rapids
Since the 2000s, solar technology has really accelerated. Due to new technological advances, the production costs of solar panels decreased. Moreover, rising energy costs also play a role, for both consumers and companies solar energy became increasingly interesting and also more profitable to purchase. Moreover, since the climate crisis was declared, solar energy has been seen as an essential part of the energy transition. Solar energy is good for the climate because it requires less fossil fuels (oil, coal and gas) and therefore reduces CO2 emissions during production.
How does solar work?
Solar energy comes entirely from the heat and light of the sun. This energy is converted into electricity, because the energy is absorbed by, for example, solar panels, a solar water heater or a solar carport. When the sun shines on a solar panel, an electric current is created between the positive charge on top of the cell and the negative charge below it. That’s because solar panels are made up of solar cells. These cells are made of material that can only conduct current when the light falls on them. Because the sun shines, an electric current is created between the positive charge on top of the cell and the negative charge below it. This is also called DIRECT current. During this process, an inverter then converts the power to ALTERNATING current. This is actually the same kind of power that comes out of your socket. The inverter then sends the power to the mains. The inverter also records the total yield of the solar panels. For example, a home or a company can be supplied with green electricity that has arisen from solar energy.
The future of solar energy
The theory that the heat and the sun lies can be converted into energy has been around for hundreds of years. As there is increasing talk of an energy shortage and new technologies, this form of energy generation has become increasingly accessible to individuals and businesses. In recent years, increasingly innovative solar cells and solar panels have been developed. These can also yield more returns. As a result, they can now be recouped in a shorter time by households and companies that, for example, have solar panels installed on their roofs. A few examples of new developments are, for example, thin film solar panels, plastic solar panels, harmonica solar panels or 3D solar panels. Moreover, there is still plenty of research being done on the further development of profitable solar panels.
More and more people are now choosing to provide their home or company with solar panels. This is essential for companies, because by 2023 business premises must have a minimum energy label C. From 2030, at least label A will be the requirement. For this reason, the switch to green energy has become increasingly attractive, whether necessary or not. A good example of this is having a solar parking space installed. This is actually a solar carport that provides a covered parking space with solar panels. This collects green electricity for companies, but also, for example, for the electric cars parked there. The solar carport supplies the charging stations with solar energy. An innovation that combines functionality and sustainability and helps entrepreneurs on their way to cleaner entrepreneurship.
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