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Ben Stratton

Mrs. Miller

English 9

May 16, 2008

Solar Power

Solar power is the world’s cleanest source of gathering electricity, and is referred

to be known as the conversion of sunlight into electricity. Considering the fact that

generally all the Earth’s energy once came from the Sun, less than 0.05% of the world’s

power plants use this tactic of generating electricity. 1 This old yet “new” source of energy

is one that someone might take advantage of due to its well-researched efficiency and

cleanliness.

However, it was not until 1883 that the first solar cell was built, by Charles Fritts,

who coated the semiconductor selenium with an extremely thin layer of gold to form the

junctions. The device was only around 1% efficient.

In the past hundred years people have needed electricity to power many objects to

fulfill their needs; such as lighting a house, using a clock, microwaving or refrigerating

food, or even utilizing a machine like a computer or TV. In order to get electricity there

must be a source of some sort that produces it. There are up to 7 main sources of power

that are in use today, but only 1 of them produce electricity with no pollution in the result

of such production.

1
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Solar semiconductors can harness energy of the Sun simply by being in its rays.

This is possible because the Sun puts off radiation which sends small particles, called

photons, 186,000 miles per second though space into our atmosphere. When these

photons reflect off of the semiconductor, a small amount of them are absorbed. When the

photons are absorbed they are still moving the same speed within the semiconductor. This

motion causes friction, and as the friction occurs electrons are excited and “brake loose”

in the conductor which causes electricity to occur. After the electricity is occurring, it is

drawn/focused to small strips of metal, called conductors. At this point the harnessed

electricity is transformed into chemical energy in device consisting of one or more

galvanic cells, also known as a battery. After all, the electrical energy is finally

harnessed, and is ready for many uses.

Solar semiconductors are made in a very unique way, and are generally composed

of silicon or germanium, and copper. There are many ways to make solar semiconductors,

but one technique is to drop small particles of a pure silicon substance and heat them in to

a liquid as they fall in to a mold. When it falls in to a mold, it is then cooled into a block

of solid