PROFI Solar Power

With this construction set, you can learn the basics of solar technology. By reading through this didactic information and by trying out the different models, you will be led, step by step, through the subject of solar energy. We hope you have a lot of fun and success when experimenting with the PROFI Solar Power.

PROFI Solar Power

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Basics of solar energy

Solar power is the name given to energy produced by the sun through nuclear fusion, part of which reaches the earth as electromagnetic radiation (radiant energy). Most of this energy is used to heat our planet. With the help of solar technology, solar power can be used in different ways:

  • Solar collectors produce heat or thermal energy (to heat water or for space heating)
  • Solar power plants generate electric energy by converting heat into water vapor (steam)
  • Solar cookers or solar ovens heat meals
  • Solar cells generate electric power directly (photovoltaics)

A solar cell or photovoltaic cell is an electrical component, which converts the radiant energy in light (usually sunlight) directly into electric energy. The physical principle of this conversion is called the photovoltaic effect. Solar cells should not be confused with solar collectors, with which the solar power heats up a transfer medium (usually hot water for heating). Solar cells are made of silicon. The silicon blocks are sawn into approximately 0.5 millimeter thick layers (also known as wafers or discs). In the next step, the wafers are then doped (contaminated) with different foreign atoms (dopants), that is to say they are deliberately contaminated with impurities, causing an imbalance in the silicon structure. This produces two layers, the positive p-layer and the negative n-layer. In simple terms, the electric current is produced by electrons from the n-layer, excited by the incidental light, moving through the connected load (e.g. solar motor) to the p-layer. The more light (that is energy) that falls on the cell, the more mobile the electrons become. When a solar cell is connected to a load, the electrons tend to move in this direction. You can imagine the current flow as being like a cycle with electrons constantly arriving at the n-layer and then traveling back to the p-layer. This flow of electrons causes electric current to flow and the motor rotates.

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