Parker County Today November 2017 - Page 77

It’s Magic! BY RICHARD A. FLOREY Marketing Director EcoVantage Energy, inc. www./ electrical imbalance within the cell, which acts a bit like a slope down which the electrons will flow in the same direction”. See? Magic. How the Power Grid Works The US power grid has been called the world’s largest machine, with 5,800 power plants, 3,200 utilities, and over 2.7 million miles of power lines. As a result, most energy utilities are granted monopoly control over a local market with the mandate to provide low-cost, reliable energy as a public good. To enforce this mandate, utilities are either publicly owned or, more commonly, heavily regulated by state regulatory commissions that set the prices that utilities are permitted to charge consumers. What Exactly is Energy? Well, for this scenario, the specific form of energy we’re talking about is that which has been harnessed to serve our lives. That said, here’s an interesting thought; the warmth and light we get from burning wood, oil, charcoal or coal and all the energy we receive into our bodies from our food, is all stored energy from our Sun. Think about that for a minute. Energy from fossil fuels is energy from the Sun that has been stored, like data in a flash drive; energy to be revealed to us upon its destruction. Mind. Blown. How PV Cells Work What if you could just take that energy, sun energy, as it comes and turn it into power? Well, you can do just that. That’s what is happening when the sun’s rays, photons, strike the photo cells in a solar panel. The difference is, the energy is not stored, but rather, the photons strike the cell’s silicon particles that release an electron. The rest is magic. Or, here’s some official science talk to help explain, from In Conclusion We at EcoVantage believe having a grid-tied solar system with battery backup is the simplest, most efficient and most responsible step forward in harnessing energy for our lives. “As these (photons) hit the silicon atoms of the solar cell, they transfer their energy to loose electrons, knocking them clean off the atoms. The photons could be compared to the white ball in a game of pool, which passes on its energy to the colored balls it strikes. Freeing up electrons is however only half the work of a solar cell: it then needs to herd these stray electrons into an electric current. This involves creating an Set it. Forget it. No Mess! If there’s any one thing I’ve been most impressed with, having gotten to know Solar since coming to EcoVantage, it’s such a clean technology. I mean literally. Of all the ways to make electricity, other than hydroelectric and geothermal, solar leaves zero waste byproducts; no carbon or radioactivity! Solar panels do, however, need washing from time to time, so, there is that. Otherwise, Nuclear Waste solar panels are practically maintenance free and create zero pollution. 75