The History of Solar Panels and How They Work

Despite the UK’s reputation for bad weather, the humble solar cell still has great potential over here. In addition to the fact that they work in cloudy and overcast conditions, new breakthroughs have made PV cells safer and cheaper than ever, the perfect addition for British homeowners. It might help to know exactly where these devices came from and how they work though so you can better understand their place in our society.

A History of Solar Power

While most people think of solar as a recent phenomenon, work and interest in this area actually goes back over a hundred years. Some important dates that led up to the invention of the first solar cell include:

  • In 1767, the first solar collector, in fact a solar oven, was created by Horace-Benedict de Saussure.
  • In 1865, Auguste Mouchout produced a prototype solar motor and created the world’s first solar powered steam engine.
  • In 1873, Willoughby Smith discovered that selenium could conduct and convert solar energy. Initial prototypes weren’t successful.
  • In 1891, the inventor, Clarence Kemp, invented the world’s first solar heater.
  • In 1893, Charles Fritts created the world’s first solar cell by coating sheets of selenium with thin layers of gold.

From these beginnings, solar energy then continued to develop over the years. In fact, almost all present solar conversion methods were invented before WW1. Once war arrived though, the need for cheaper, more efficient technology drove up the demand for fossil fuels and pushed solar power to the sidelines for the next 50 years.

We now sit at a resurgence of solar technology, with renewed interest in this technology all over the globe. Solar cells are becoming more efficient while being cheaper and safer to produce. Unfortunately, the influence of the fossil fuel industry still puts these renewable energy devices at risk of fading into obscurity for a second time. The world must come together to stop this from happening, especially with global warming as a reality.

How the Photovoltaic Cell Works

A PV cell has one job: converting sunlight into electricity. The key component that allows it to do this is the semiconductor sheet found within. This can be made from silicone although newer solar panels now use better thin film technology which is created from crystal blends such as copper-indium-gallium-selenide. When the sunlight hits a PV cell, several things happen:

  1. The photons in the light hit the semiconductor atoms
  2. An electron absorbs the energy and is knocked up into a higher energy level
  3. This electron is driven by an electric field that runs through the cell and is turned into an electric current

The field is created by the properties of the semiconductor that makes up the cell. Let us say we’re using silicone. By adding certain materials, we can create two types, one positively and one negatively charged. This is because one contains excess electrons and the other lacks in electrons.

By forming two plates of different silicone types, we have positive and negative poles which then create an electric field in-between. When the electron is knocked off by a photon, it can then move through a cell in an orderly manner thanks to this field. Because each electron is moving in the same way, this forms a current which can then be used to power all manner of devices.

Some mention should also be made of the power efficiency of solar cells. Simply put, power efficiency is the percentage of light that is converted into electricity. Although PV cells in satellites convert 50% of the photons that hit them into usable electricity, these are very expensive to make. At a lower price tag, present-day, domestic cells usually feature a power efficiency of around 17%. Hopefully, we’ll see solar systems becoming cheaper to produce with new technological advances which will then simultaneously make them more efficient as well.

Hopefully this has been an informative look at where the typical solar cell has come from and what it can do for us today. These are crucial devices when it comes to beating climate change and stopping global warming and it is important that we know as much about them as possible so we can make a better world.


Selling Storage Shed Kits Online

So many people are looking for an angle to make money on the internet that you might be forgiven for thinking the market was already too crowded for any new entrants. However, if you can find a range of quality products and a supplier that is willing to sell them to you at wholesale prices, you stand a very good chance of turning a profit if you know what you are doing. Prefabricated sheds are a great choice as they are popular all around the world and are relatively easy to ship. If you like the idea of selling shed kits across the globe, read the following short guide containing useful tips on how to get started.

Preparation is key

  • Establish that there is a market for the type of sheds that you plan to sell. There are many different types available so you will need to do your homework before you decide which ones to start selling. Assuming that you only have a limited amount of capital to start your new business, you should focus on one particular type at first. Once you have established yourself as a going concern, you can think about expanding the range that you stock and trying to grab a larger share of the market.
  • Make sure that your suppliers are reliable and competitive. If you are going to survive the first difficult months and years of being in business for yourself, you will need all the help that you can get. A supplier that cannot deliver on time or whose prices are not highly competitive will hamper you from the very start and it will be difficult for you to make a profit.
  • Find a reputable and flexible freight forwarding agent. It will be much easier to ship your sheds across the globe at competitive prices if you secure the services of a logistics consultancy such as Feltons NSW or one of their counterparts in whatever part of the world you happen to be located. However, location need not be a deciding factor when choosing an agent as the truly global concerns are willing and able to serve customers in all regions. Focus on finding one that understands your business needs and that has the experience and network of contacts to suggest and implement the most efficient transportation routes and methods available.
  • Talk to your bank about merchant services that will allow you to accept and process credit card payments quickly and economically. If they are not able to give you what you need at a reasonable cost, shop around. There are plenty of financial institutions offering similar services so you should be able to find one that can meet all of your needs without too much trouble. It is essential that you have a secure payment facility in place from the very first day that you open for business or you will lose a lot of custom to your competitors.
  • Hire an experienced design and development team to create your corporate website. Sheds may not sound like the sexiest product to sell online but with the right design and promotion, you could have a very exciting and profitable business on your hands. If you want to appear high in the rankings on search engine results pages, you will need to optimise your site too. The same company that design and develop your website may have an SEO expert who can help but if not, look at the highest ranking sites of your competitors and try to find out who they are using. A firm with experience of working for other companies in the same line of business as yours will be able to understand your requirements more quickly and comprehensively, which will save valuable time.

Everybody who owns a house with a garden is likely to need a shed and those that come in kit form are becoming increasingly popular in countries all over the world. In short, there is a huge potential market for prefabricated storage buildings and those people who do their homework and make sure that their supply chain, finance and website is in order before they open their doors from business will have a head start on the competition.

Author bio

Zara Toft is a writer working for Feltons NSW on a freelance basis. Feltons is one of the leading providers of import and export services and custom clearance in Australia.

Rental Scenario in Jaipur

Capital city of the erstwhile princely state of Rajasthan, also known as the pink city, jaipur is full of heritage and culture. It is one of the most important hub for tourism in India, with tourists, both national and international flocking to have a look at the forts and culture of the state of Rajasthan, and jaipur being the gateway. Having a sound education system, the city has also been home to a huge service sector, attracting people from all over the country. This has ensured that the property market is well fed with constant activity both, in the form of sale purchase and rentals.

With the efforts of the state government, the pricing of the houses has been kept in check, by the launch of cheap and affordable accommodation. This has resulted in a lot of investors investing in the city. Jaipur has witnessed a lot of investment from the NRI who have shown a lot of faith in the demand in the real estate sector. The prices are steadily increasing and the investors are a happy lot. The city has also seen a lot of activity in the rental property market. The demand has been increasing for rental properties and many investors have resorted to letting out their properties for an added income. The affordable price of the property has attracted a lot of people from outside the state, who have invested with the sole aim of providing house for rent and enjoying the rental income.

Information and Technology has been one of the main reasons for increase in demand of rental properties. Jaipur proximity to the national capital and a great connectivity has seen a lot of people converge on this city for employment. IT and ITeS sector has provided a plethora of work opportunities to the youth from outside as well as from the state itself. This influx of manpower, with good salaries has resulted in a huge demand for house for rent in Jaipur. As these people have migrated from different states and cities, they are keener on renting a house rather than buying one. This has worked in favor of the investors who are getting decent returns every month. A smart investor would invest in property keeping in mind some basic rental tips as it sure goes a long way in ensuring not only high returns from the property but also a steady monthly income.

  • One should always try to invest in a residential property near commercial hot spots. Office areas always attract more customers who are on the lookout for residential space near to their office. This not only results in easy availability of tenants but also ensures higher rent.
  • Rajasthan is a major tourist hub and Jaipur is its gateway. A lot of foreigners travel to Rajasthan and spend a lot of time exploring the history and culture. These foreigners can be tapped and the property rented out to them. They are comfortable in giving better rent than the prevailing market rates even.
  • Converting your property into service apartment is also a good idea. With so much tourist inflow, service apartments provide a cheaper accommodation than hotels to the travelers and the landlords get a higher return. It’s a win-win situation. With lot of corporate travelers too visiting Jaipur often due to its high ITeS industry, service apartments can fetch good clientele as well as good revenue.

Although these tips would ensure high income, one should be aware that there are some points which must be kept in mind while letting out the property. Whenever giving a house for rent in Jaipur, one must ensure proper paper work and go for an agreement. A background check of the tenant is also a must and government or corporate clients who have transferable jobs should be preferred as they have to leave the city in few years thereby ensuring that the property is not illegally occupied.

Being a freelance Marketing and Human Resource consultant for the last 17 years, Manoj Malhotra has had the opportunity to gain exposure and thorough knowledge about people and their behavioral patterns and an insight into varied fields.”