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How Does Solar Power Work

Victoria Said:

How does space-based solar power work?

We Answered:

The idea of Solar Satellite Power Systems (SSPS) has been around for the better part of half a decade, and became particular well known after the writings of space advocate and accomplished physicist, Gerard K. O'Neill, were published.

In the simplest sense, a SSPS is a satellite placed in Clarke Orbit (or Geosynchronous orbit) around the Earth. This high orbit ensures nearly ninety-nine percent of an objects time spent revolving around the planet will be in sunshine, with a scant one percent spent in shadow. These 'stations' would absorb direct, undiluted solar energy from the Sun and convert it electricity via conventional generators or photovoltaic rays. This electricity would either be converted into microwaves or laser beams for transmission, and an array system on Earth would absorb the oncoming energy, reconvert back into electricity and provide consumers with virtually unlimited solar energy without the hassle of collecting it on the Earth's surface.

The current championed method for transmitting the energy safely is actually microwave radiation. Despite the ridiculous claims made regarding microwave transmission, it is actually quite safe and have been tested on animals with no harmful long term effects. The only issues regarding microwave transmission revolve around the size of the receiver array (think square kilometers) that is required to absorb an economical amount of energy. Regardless, the arrays themselves can be placed on raised platforms and could be transparent to all but the wavelengths they wished to absorb (thus allowing for some agricultural activity, such as ranching, beneath them).

Lasers are also a contender for energy transmission, but these actually do not function consistently in changing cloud cover to be completely feasible. A system of mirrors was also proposed for transmitting increased sunlight to regions on the Earth at one time, but this was more for the benefit of constant sunlight for agrarian purposes (as the energy itself would again be diluted by Earth's atmosphere).

Solar power from space requires both significant infrastructure in orbit and rocket launches. Though Japan currently has plans to launch a pilot SSPS directly from the Earth's surface (and at great expense!), the late Gerard K. O'Neill actually demonstrated that it was many times more economical to construct the solar collectors from space. Using materials from the Moon or asteroids launched by economical rail guns, space stations placed in the Earth-Moon Lagrange Points could cheaply build square kilometer after square kilometer of simple solar arrays with the benefit of microgravity and unlimited sunlight for the smelting of ores. Within a hundred years, the entire power supply of every human being could be converted to SSPS based systems using the inexhaustible supply of solar energy yielded by the Sun.

Dora Said:

How does Solar Power Work?

We Answered:

To be brief and basic

Solar power works by capturing photons and converting them to a form of energy that can be used for another purpose.

There are 2 forms. Photovoltaic and thermal.

Photovoltaic converts the photons into a flow of electrons (electricity). This happens when a photon liberates an electron from an atom by adding energy to the electron.

Thermal uses photons to heat a medium. This heat is then used to heat water, generate steam to turn a turbine, etc.

Phyllis Said:

How does this work?? Solar Power???

We Answered:

If you mean photovoltaics, start at the reference.

Leslie Said:

How does solar power work?

We Answered:

I don't know that cost is a disadvantage. I keep reading that you can build solar panels yourself for less than $200. At that rate, you wouldn't think the payback period would be very long. I haven't done it myself though, so I guess I can't say for sure.

Here's one of the guides that promises step-by-step instructions for home solar power: http://www.homemadeenergy.ca. It's a Canadian site, but I'm sure the plans would be applicable in Australia as well.

Roland Said:

How does solar power genertors work?

We Answered:

Well, I applaud your ingenuity but that is already being done albeit not in massive amounts. It is also more expensive to build a house that is solar powered but people are doing it here and there and in the long run, it does save money. All the info you need is on the net but I doubt you can build from scratch. You'd have to purchase kits from companies that produce solar panels and generators.

Lydia Said:

How Does solar power work?

We Answered:

Really, Really Good.

Elizabeth Said:

10 pts best answer!!! - how does solar energy/solar power work?

We Answered:

1. cost well it depends on how big the solor pannels are.
2. no.
3. it really depends on what the sizes are and what things are
included.
4. when a solor pannel is outside the sun shines on it. The
pannel then soaks up the heat energy and converts in into
what ever energy that you wish. Basically it takes the sun
energy (or heat energy) and changes its chemical ballance
to another form of energy like electricity. It's a cheap way
to use electrical things without a bill (LOL) !!!!!!
5. an advantage is that it's a good way to conserve energy
and it's environment friendly. Some disadvantages are
that if there's no sun that day then depending on how much
energy your solor pannel can hold you might not have
enough energy that day.
7. you can power almost anything using it.
8. i prefur big pannels but if you're not much of a big spender
than i would go with individual pannels.

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