Why Are Solar Cells Particularly Suitable For Developing Countries?
To understand why are solar cells particularly suitable for developing countries, we need to answer a few other questions.
Which countries are developing countries?
What are solar cells and solar panels?
How do solar panels and solar systems provide electrical energy?
Why is solar a renewable energy source?
What are the benefits of solar systems?
So, let’s get started.
Which Countries Are Developing Countries?
Investors frequently categorize countries based on their level of economic development.
A developing country has a low economic output compared to developed countries.
There has been much dispute about where to draw the line between developed and developing countries, as seen by the lack of a uniform definition for the phrase.
The United Nations has some guidelines for determining which countries are developed and which are developing.
The World Bank has replaced this terminology with another based on gross national income (GNI) per person, such as “low-income” or “lower-middle-income” economies.
Sorting countries into these divisions make policy discussions about redistributing money to impoverished countries much easier.
Different organizations use different criteria to classify countries.
Quickly developing countries are extremely fast-growing economies that include Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (BRICS).
Here, we will note that the designations “first-world,” “second-world,” and “third-world” countries are discriminatory terms that leave an idea that developing countries are bad (uncivilized, primitive) and developed ones are just the opposite.
As we have mentioned the BRICS countries, we have to draw your attention to the fact that all these countries are very large territories, with millions of residents who live both in urban and rural areas.
However, electricity is not available everywhere.
Most developing countries are already heavily investing in solar industry and solar panel production.
Where Do Developing Countries Get Their Electricity?
Often, in many developing countries, rural areas don’t have access to water and electricity.
For instance, the total electricity generation capacity of South Africa is 58,095 megawatts (MW), which mostly comes from coal.
This country exports electricity to other African countries: Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique, and Zambia.
However, across Africa, over 500 million people live without electricity.
Across the African continent, only 10% of the population has access to the electrical grid.
The situation is particularly bad in South Sudan, in Northeast Africa, where only seven percent of the population had access to electricity in 2019.
And there you have the answer to the question of why solar power represents a solution for developing countries.
By installing large solar farms, rural areas in developing countries would get the chance not only to participate in the growth of the economy but also to provide residents with a better life.
What is Solar Power?
Solar energy is a renewable energy source that comes from our sun in the form of sunlight.
Yes, solar power is an infinitely renewable energy source that we will have as long as the sun shines, as it will be releasing its energy.
Unlike the burning of fossil fuels, clean and renewable energy sources create no harmful greenhouse gases.
Humans used solar energy as early as the 7th century B.C. when they lit fires by reflecting the sun’s energy (sunlight) onto shiny objects.
With the depletion of fossil fuels, we are looking towards another alternative, sustainable, and renewable energy source.
Every day, the sun gives off much more energy than we need to power everything on earth.
As we can never use up the light that our sun generates, solar energy is a renewable energy source that can power the earth for millions of years.
What Are Solar Panels?
Solar panels consist of many small units called solar photovoltaic cells (PV solar cells) that use the photovoltaic effect to convert sunlight into electricity.
Therefore, the job of a solar cell (or photovoltaic cell) is to convert the light of the sun into electricity.
Many solar cells linked together form a solar panel.
What Are Solar Panels Made of?
Photovoltaic solar cells are mostly made of silicon, an environmentally friendly material.
Solar cells made of silicon provide a combination of high efficiency, low cost, and long lifetime.
Solar modules can, currently, last for 25 years or more and, still, produce over 80% of their original power after this time.
There are three types of crystalline silicon solar panels commonly used:
- Monocrystalline solar cells
- Polycrystalline solar cells
- Thin-film photovoltaics
All three types of crystalline silicon cells have differing efficiencies.
How Do Solar Panels Work?
Solar panels work by converting sunlight into electricity and heat.
Panels collect the sunlight and can generate both, so solar panels can be installed on residential rooftops or solar farms that stretch over acres of rural land.
For solar panels to work, solar cells need to establish an electric field that occurs when opposite charges are separated.
To get this electric field, manufacturers add other materials to silicon.
Each photovoltaic cell becomes like a sandwich that has two slices of semi-conducting material, a positive and a negative side.
Solar cells work by converting the energy of the sun into direct current electricity (DC).
What happens next is that this inverter converts the DC electricity into alternating current electricity (AC).
AC (alternating current electricity) is the electrical current we use when we plug our appliances into our walls.
Therefore, once a solar panel turns DC electricity into AC electricity, we can use it, feed it into the grid, or store it in a battery.
One solar cell (which is about the size of a compact disc) can generate between 3 and 4.5 watts. By placing many solar cells together into a typical module, you can generate more energy (at least 40 cells are needed to generate between 100 and 300 watts).
By combining several solar cells to form panels, the sun’s energy collected and transformed into electricity rises to several kilowatts.
The energy generated is sufficient to meet the peak energy needs of most homes.
Is Installing Solar Panels Expensive?
Silicon solar panels are expensive, but solar technology continues to grow and develop.
The research focuses on materials used to make panels, semiconductor materials, and the energy efficiency of crystalline silicon-based solar cells.
Nonetheless, after solar panels have been installed, operational costs are quite low compared to other ways of generation of electric current.
To make solar panels work and generate clean energy in a form that we can use to power our appliances, we don’t need to burn fossil fuels.
What Are Solar Power Plants?
Solar power farms (solar parks or solar fields) are a powerful renewable energy source.
These are very large areas of land with interconnected panels.
The job of a large-scale solar system is to harvest large amounts of solar energy at the same time.
They are designed as large-scale solar energy generators that feed electric current directly into the grid.
For instance, we can place and link many cells into a typical solar array.
To generate 100-300 watts of electrical energy, we need to connect about 40 photovoltaic cells.
Solar farms use the energy from the sun to generate power: according to estimates, it takes around 22,000 panels across 30 acres to generate 4.2 megawatts of electricity.
This amount of clean energy is sufficient to power around 1,200 homes.
Which Solar Panels Are the Most Efficient?
Essentially, energy efficiency specifies how much solar power a solar panel can convert into energy.
The most efficient solar panel is the monocrystalline solar panel, which can reach over 20 percent efficiency.
In comparison, polycrystalline panels can only reach 15 to 17 percent.
However, when compared to mono and polycrystalline solar panels, thin-film solar cells are even less efficient and have the lowest power capacity.
The efficiency of the thin-film solar cell depends on the type of photovoltaic material.
Nonetheless, their efficiency is mostly around 7% and can reach up to 18%.
It’s important to note that lower efficiency panels are also space-inefficient because they produce less power per square foot.
Therefore, monocrystalline solar panels are the most efficient, but also the most expensive.
By converting energy from the sun, we can power our world using a clean energy source that doesn’t create greenhouse gas emissions.
Carbon dioxide and other harmful emissions are responsible for pollution and climate change.
Solar, a renewable energy source is a cost-effective way to generate electricity and is available around the world.
The carbon footprint of solar panels is small, and the materials used in the silicone panels are recycled, so the carbon footprint will continue to shrink.
A newer development in the field of solar power generation should make solar energy available to everyone around the world.
The power of sunlight cannot fade away; the sun provides enough energy to meet the whole world’s energy needs.
The future of the electricity generation industry and the whole earth lies in solar energy, solar home systems, and solar-powered vehicles.