P2 Revision: Collecting energy from the Sun
Advantages of photocells: robust, do not need much maintenance, no fuel needed, do not need long power cables, cause no pollution, do not contribute to global warming, use a renewable energy resource.
Disadvantages of photocells: they do not produce electricity when it is dark or too cloudy.
How photocells work:
- a photocell contains two pieces of silicon joined together to make a p-n junction
- n-type has an impurity added to it to produce an excess of free electrons
- p-type has a different impurity added to produce an absence of free electrons
- photons (energy packets in sunlight) cause free electrons to move producing an electric current
The output from a photocell depends on: light intensity, surface area exposed and the distance from light source.
Passive solar heating uses glass to help keep buildings warm - it re-radiates the very short wavelength from the Sun to make it last longer.
Solar reflectors are moved by computer so that they are always facing the Sun.
Advantages of wind farms: do not contribute to global warming and do not pollute the atmosphere.