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Dear scientists, Our names are Carlos, Cole and Anjel. Were from Guadalupe, CA. We've been working on solar ovens, and have got ours up to 165 F in just a few minutes (melted chocolate for smores). Now my partners and I wanted to know how solar batteries worked. Thanks From Carlos, Cole, and Anjel
Question Date: 2004-11-04
Answer 1:

Solar batteries convert light energy into electricity. This do this by taking light and splitting it into electrons and holes (holes are like anti-electrons). These electrons and holes are separated in an electrical circuit, and this leads to the flow of current.

Answer 2:

In the 1950s, it was discovered that a high number of free electrons could be formed when light was shined on a silicon wafer.By "capturing" these electrons, the researchers were able to convert this into an electrical current. This is known as a photovoltaic (light - electricity) cell.The photovoltaic effect was actually known about (using different materials) much earlier this than this, with the first observation of this effect in the mid-1800s. However, the types of solar cells made with these other materials could only achieve an efficiency of about 1%. The significance of the work in the 1950s was that photovoltaic cells using silicon were demonstrated to have an efficiency of about 6%. I think the best present day photovoltaic cells operate at around 15% or maybe a little bit more.
On a side note, Albert Einstein won the Nobel Prize for his work that he published in 1904 on the photoelectric effect.

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