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The 10/21/13 Joy Jar

21 Oct

It has been foggy the last few days in Seattle and this pattern is likely to continue. Still, moi is noticing solar panels popping up all over Seattle. Moi wondered whether solar works when it is cloudy. Sun Farmers posted Do Solar Panels Work When

It’s Cloudy?
If asked the question, Do solar panels work when it’s cloudy?, the average person would no doubt guess that, well, no, how can they when there’s no sunshine for them to work with?
Actually, that answer is partially true, in that solar panels aren’t as efficient in cloudy conditions as during bright, sunny days. In fact, the production of solar panels is reduced by at least 50 percent on cloudy days, and may even by down to just 5 to 10 percent of what they can produce on sunny days.
But, the point is that they do still actually do their job, even if at a reduced rate. That’s a great testament to the amazing technology that solar panels are, so let’s look a bit deeper into this.
How Can Solar Panels Possibly Work When It’s Cloudy?
You may be wondering how it’s even possible for solar panels to produce any electricity at all on cloudy days. The answer lies in the incredible technology used by a single solar cell, which takes the light from the sun, or photons (particles of light), and converts that to electricity thanks to silicon in the cells which reacts with the sunlight to generate an electrical charge. Thanks to French scientist Edmund Becquerel for his discovery of what came to be known as the “photovoltaic effect” in the 19th century!
A number of solar cells are combined to form a solar panel, so that small charge created by a single solar cell is multiplied many times over to produce a significant amount of wattage from a whole panel. Solar panels perform best in sunny, unshaded conditions, so any type of shading or cloud cover can seriously affect a panel’s performance to the extent that, in extremely cloudy conditions, a panel may only operate at 50 percent efficiency. Multiply that by however many panels are in an array (an array of panels is basically a group of panels, which is what you normally need to supply enough power to run household appliances, electronics, etc.), and the fall-off in performance can be pretty dramatic…..

Today’s deposit into the ‘Joy Jar is solar and renewable energy.

The use of solar energy has not been opened up because the oil industry does not own the sun.
Ralph Nader

Scientists will eventually stop flailing around with solar power and focus their efforts on harnessing the only truly unlimited source of energy on the planet: stupidity. I predict that in the future, scientists will learn how to convert stupidity into clean fuel.
Scott Adams

When you look at the stars and the galaxy, you feel that you are not just from any particular piece of land, but from the solar system.
Kalpana Chawla

I’ve had experiences in my life that leave no doubt in my mind about the fact that God exists. I’m quite willing to debate people who don’t think so because I want them to explain to me how did our solar system get so organized and how is the universe so complex and yet well-organized that we can predict 70 years hence when a comet is coming?
Benjamin Carson

An enormous amount of scientific language is metaphorical. We talk about a genetic code, where code originally meant a cipher; we talk about the solar system model of the atom as though the atom were like a sun and moon and planets.
Steven Pinker

The Venus transit is not a spectacle the way a total solar eclipse is a spectacle.
Neil deGrasse Tyson

Wind and solar power are land-intensive, a green sin, but not energy-dense, and affordable only when heavily subsidized. And wind power must be supplemented with hydrocarbons for reliability.
Mark McKinnon

There’s a limit to how much you can deploy renewables, like wind or solar. People will talk about getting up to 30 percent of America’s power from renewables, but you can’t get to 100 percent because of their unreliability.
Nathan Myhrvold

I have no doubt that we will be successful in harnessing the sun’s energy. If sunbeams were weapons of war, we would have had solar energy centuries ago.
George Porter

I hope climate science becomes the big thing. And then what I want is electrical engineers to solve the world’s energy problems, energy distribution problems. I want mechanical engineers to make better transportation systems. I want chemical engineers to develop better solar panels, and so on.
Bill Nye
Hope, Science, World

Compared to coal, which generates almost half the electricity in the United States, natural gas is indeed a cleaner, less polluting fuel. But compared to, say, solar, it’s filthy. And of course there is nothing renewable about natural gas.
Jeff Goodell

It’s important to understand that oil and renewables do different things. Wind and solar are for power generation, so they don’t replace oil. About 70% of all oil produced is used for transportation fuel. Renewables are good projects, but they don’t get us off of foreign oil.
T. Boone Pickens