The Solar Farm in My New Pennsylvania Backyard

The Solar Farm in My New Pennsylvania Backyard

What’s the science behind it all, and where does solar fit within Pennsylvania’s diverse energy portfolio?The fundamental physics principle underlying solar cell technology is the photoelectric effect. Solar cells are designed using semiconducting material to harness that energy and convert it to usable electricity. Individual solar cells are joined together to form solar panels, and panels are arranged in arrays (seen above) in order to increase the output voltage.Efficiency is a big concern in solar cell technology with regard to both the location of the solar panels and the materials used to construct them. Additionally, materials science researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory are focused on using perovskites to increase the efficiency, stability, and overall performance of solar cells. With combined improvements to both storage and materials capabilities, the science behind solar seems to suggest that the future truly is bright (thankfully!

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