Why can’t we amplify the temperature that solar panel receives from the sun to create more energy?


Why can’t we amplify the temperature that solar panel receives from the sun to create more energy?

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Because it’s not the temperature that most solar panels react to, it’s the solar radiation.

If you were asking about solar thermal generation, then we can and do. Just google concentrating solar plant.

But PV solar panels need light, not heat.

Have you heard of a solar power tower?

Instead of collecting solar energy, the panels reflect and focus the energy to a central tower powering a steam turbine. There are newer materials used now, but the concept is the same.

There are also solar water heaters that collect the solar energy to supplement your home water heater.

As far as amplifying the temperature, first you would need to introduce another energy source to output the excess heat to amplify the temperature. This alone would create a massive loss of energy.

Then you would need someway to collect the excess heat. You can’t put a collector over the panels, you would block the solar energy coming from the sun. Then you would need to convert the heat to electricity. This is usually done by heading water until it turns to steam and moved through a turbine. You would need someway to focus the energy into the collector.

Even if you were able to bypass the amplification process and direct the energy right into the turbine system, you would still be losing energy during the conversion

I am no engineer but bringing cool water from underground to the back of the panels would set up a fairly big difference in temperature. That’s valuable for generating electricity, no? Granted pumping cool water is expensive.

Solar panels don’t use temperature to create energy, they use the actual photons coming off of the sun itself.

Light is made up of little particles called photons. These photons carry the energy that light has. When a photon hits a solar panel, it translates it’s energy into the movement of electrons that make up electricity. The rest of the energy gets converted into heat. The heat is a “waste” product and is not converted into usable electrical energy. In the most efficient solar panel designs, the amount of heat is actually minimized since that’s wasted energy.

Now, if you’re talking about using thermo-electric generators on the back of solar panels to capture some of that heat energy, it’s actually a good question to why we don’t do that. The reason is mostly because of cost-per-watt. The amount of “extra” energy you would capture from a solar panel using a thermo-electric generator would not outweigh the added cost that would come from doing that. A solar panel with added thermo-electric generators would cost more than one that didn’t, and the difference in cost would never be made up for by the difference in captured energy.