Your Questions About Solar Energy Materials And Solar Cells

Mandy asks…

In simple terms, how would you describe what goes on in a solar cell in solar energy?

I have a science project and I have to expalin to the judge what happends during the process of solar energy. Can you please summurize it in simple, easy to remember terms?

admin answers:

Basically what goes on in a solar cell is the conversion of light energy (photons) to electrical current (the flow of electrons).

In physics this is called the photoelectric effect.

A solar cell will absorb light energy (the photons, which could be visible light, UV light or IR light generally), and this light energy will energize electrons in the atoms of the cell.

These electrons will cause a charge separation (positive and negative) in the material (a voltage) which will have a mechanism for trapping the electrons to maintain the voltage.

Current will then flow if you connect the separate charged ends of the cell with a conductive material.

I am not sure how to make it simpler…

Mark asks…

What type of solar cell is the Cuprous Oxide-Copper cell? Can you tell me how it works?

On scitoys.com, a solar cell made from Cuprous Oxide and Copper is described, but the explanation is made for a middle-schooler. I keep researching how how the solar cell would work but can’t get a explanation good enough for a high-school level science exposition. thanx in advance.

admin answers:

The cell works the same as a silicon wafer or any other solar cell.

When photons strike the surface, an electron in the Cu(II) oxide plate is promoted to a higher electronic state in the conduction band,

Being attached to free Cu, electrons in thier conduction band allows the electrons mobility and flow as current when there is a circuit load. Drawing off this current leaves holes n the Cu conduction band.

See. Electrons in the atoms of each material reside in bands, much like the floors in a “two story” building with a flat roof. When light strikes the electrons, they gain energy and are promoted to the roof, where they can move around (conduction) . Siphoning off these electrons (electrical load) leaves more room on the roof, for more electrons to be promoted from below.

Wer

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