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E-book

Physics of Solar Energy

ISBN: 978-1-118-04459-9
416 pages
August 2011
Physics of Solar Energy (1118044592) cover image
The definitive guide to the science of solar energy

You hold in your hands the first, and only, truly comprehensive guide to the most abundant and most promising source of alternative energy—solar power.

In recent years, all major countries in the world have been calling for an energy revolution. The renewable energy industry will drive a vigorous expansion of the global economy and create more "green" jobs. The use of fossil fuels to power our way of living is moving toward an inevitable end, with sources of coal, petroleum, and natural gas being fiercely depleted.

Solar energy offers a ubiquitous, inexhaustible, clean, and highly efficient way of meeting the energy needs of the twenty-first century. This book is designed to give the reader a solid footing in the general and basic physics of solar energy, which will be the basis of research and development in new solar engineering technologies in the years to come.

As solar technologies like solar cells, solar thermal power generators, solar water heaters, solar photochemistry applications, and solar space heating-cooling systems become more and more prominent, it has become essential that the next generation of energy experts—both in academia and industry—have a one-stop resource for learning the basics behind the science, applications, and technologies afforded by solar energy. This book fills that need by laying the groundwork for the projected rapid expansion of future solar projects.

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Preface xv

List of Figures xix

List of Tables xxv

Chapter 1: Introduction 1

1.1 Solar Energy 1

1.2 Go beyond Petroleum 5

1.3 Other Renewable Energy Resources 8

1.4 Solar Photovoltaics Primer 22

1.5 Above Physics 26

Problems 40

Chapter 2: Nature of Solar Radiation 41

2.1 Light as Electromagnetic Waves 41

2.2 Optics of Thin Films 47

2.3 Blackbody Radiation 52

2.4 Photoelectric Effect and Concept of Photons 58

2.5 Einstein・s Derivation of Blackbody Formula 63

Problems 65

Chapter 3: Origin of Solar Energy 67

3.1 Basic Parameters of the Sun 68

3.2 Kelvin・Helmholtz Time Scale 70

3.3 Energy Source of the Sun 72

Problems 74

Chapter 4: Tracking Sunlight 77

4.1 Rotation of Earth: Latitude and Longitude 77

4.2 Celestial Sphere 78

4.3 Treatment in Solar Time 84

4.4 Treatment in Standard Time 95

Problems 103

Chapter 5: Interaction of Sunlight with Earth 105

5.1 Interaction of Radiation with Matter 105

5.2 Interaction of Sunlight with Atmosphere 108

5.3 Penetration of Solar Energy into Earth 114

Problems 117

Chapter 6: Thermodynamics of Solar Energy 119

6.1 Definitions 119

6.2 First Law of Thermodynamics 121

6.3 Second Law of Thermodynamics 123

6.4 Thermodynamic Functions 127

6.5 Ideal Gas 130

6.6 Ground Source Heat Pump and Air Conditioning 133

Problems 142

Chapter 7: Quantum Transitions 143

7.1 Basic Concepts of Quantum Mechanics 143

7.2 Many-Electron Systems 150

7.3 The Golden Rule 154

7.4 Interactions with Photons 159

Problems 160

Chapter 8: pn-Junctions 161

8.1 Semiconductors 161

8.2 Formation of a pn-Junction 166

8.3 Analysis of pn-Junctions 170

Problems 176

Chapter 9: Semiconductor Solar Cells 177

9.1 Basic Concepts 177

9.2 The Shockley・Queisser Limit 183

9.3 Nonradiative Recombination Processes 191

9.4 Antireflection Coatings 194

9.5 Crystalline Silicon Solar Cells 200

9.6 Thin-Film Solar Cells 204

9.7 Tandem Solar Cells 207

Problems 209

Chapter 10: Solar Electrochemistry 211

10.1 Physics of Photosynthesis 211

10.2 Artificial Photosynthesis 219

10.3 Genetically Engineered Algae 219

10.4 Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells 219

10.5 Bilayer Organic Solar Cells 222

Problems 224

Chapter 11: Solar Thermal Energy 225

11.1 Early Solar Thermal Applications 225

11.2 Solar Heat Collectors 228

11.3 Solar Water Heaters 240

11.4 Solar Thermal Power Systems 242

Problems 250

Chapter 12: Energy Storage 253

12.1 Sensible Heat Energy Storage 253

12.2 Phase Transition Thermal Storage 257

12.3 Rechargeable Batteries 262

12.4 Solar Energy and Electric Vehicles 269

Problems 272

Chapter 13: Building with Sunshine 273

13.1 Early Solar Architecture 274

13.2 Building Materials 275

13.3 Example of Holistic Design 280

13.4 Land Usage of Solar Communities 283

Problems 286

Appendix A: Energy Unit Conversion 287

Appendix B: Spherical Trigonometry 289

B.1 Spherical Triangle 289

B.2 Cosine Formula 290

B.3 Sine Formula 291

B.4 Formula C 292

Problems 294

Appendix C: Quantum Mechanics Primer 295

C.1 Harmonic Oscillator 295

C.2 Angular Momentum 297

C.3 Hydrogen Atom 300

Appendix D: Statistics of Particles 303

D.1 Maxwell・Boltzmann Statistics 304

D.2 Fermi・Dirac Statistics 306

Appendix E: AM1.5 Reference Solar Spectrum 307

List of Symbols 313

Bibliography 315

Index 321

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C. JULIAN CHEN is an Adjunct Professor and Senior Research Scientist in the Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics at Columbia University. His research interests include scanning tunneling microscopy, mathematical models of the human voice, and utilization of solar energy. Before going into academia, he spent fifteen years in IBM's Thomas J. Watson Research Center, where he authored Introduction to Scanning Tunneling Microscopy and invented a widely used algorithm for Chinese language speech recognition.
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