The solar energy production is continuously growing into multi-billion dollars industry, which implies that the solar energy industry is progressing but still contributing to the smallest portion in the market. All the other sources of fuel which provide over 85% of the total energy on the planet are not dependable as they are exhaustible. All energies from coal, petroleum and natural gas are exhaustible, while solar is non- exhaustible and renewable and yet very limited in the market. Theses fossil fuel sources of energy are great pollutants to the entire environment. Solar energy is free, environmentally friendly and largely abundant from the sun throughout.
In order to achieve the widespread solar energy generation, engineering innovations are required in several areas, for capturing the energy, converting it to useful forms and string it for use. Currently, commercial solar cells are made often from silicon. These adapt sunlight into electricity and are 10%-20 % efficient. With the manufacturing expenses, components of present cells incorporated in the power network would create electricity at a cost approximately 3 to 6 times greater than current fees. This consequently marks the solar energy generation non-economical as the cost of generation is greater than the rate of consumption.
The Involvement of Mechanical Engineering Skills
To ensure solar becomes economically reasonable, engineers must discover ways to advance the efficacy of the cells as well as to minimize their manufacturing costs. The mechanical engineers are to involve the use of cheap and efficient materials in the production of solar energy. There are improvements in the cells used in the solar conversion appliances, from silicon based to use of nanocrystal cells. These have the efficiency of over 60%. Therefore mechanical engineers should articulate the use of high purity materials in the solar conversion system. The current solar cell design requires the purification of the particles so that the cost of production is reduced as high cost in the solar energy production is associated with the impurities which are contained in the solar cells.