The sun is ultimate source of power for all living beings. A solar cell with an area of 1.5 square meter would collect about 1,500 watts of solar energy. We know that coal is fossilized remains of plants and animals and they got their energy from the sun. Every other form of energy can be traced back to solar power. Nuclear power contributes about 20% of our power needs. Nuclear and tidal energy has no contributing factor from solar energy. Other than these two, other form of energy we generate can be traced back to solar energy. Hydroelectric power for example is influenced by solar energy and it helps water to get up in the mountains so that it can run down the rivers. Wind power a direct result of weather phenomena is directly influenced by solar power. All bio-mass form of energy got their power from our sun.
You might take solar energy as a capturing blue panel with a battery. It is quite surprising to know that photoelectric effect is known to us for almost 200 years. It was discovered in 1839 by a Edmund Becquerel. The most efficient solar panel are generally used in outer space because it’s expensive. These solar cells are used in International Space Station, artificial satellites and other similar technologies used in space. The ISS (International Space Station) at this point has 16,115 feet long solar energy capturing wings able to produce 120 KW of electricity. If we hit thin sheet of poly silicon with light, some of the electrons on that silicon will get extra energy and will be knocked off from their orbit and they will be free electrons. Mixing silicon with phosphorus, (technically known as doping) will help to release way too many electrons and we get N-type silicon. If we mix Boron to silicon we get P-type silicon. A solar panel is just a layer of N-type silicon sandwiched on top of a layer of P-type silicon, and then connected with a conductor.
The power we use now a days are generally produced in huge power stations run either by nuclear power or hydro power. These stations are far away from the city centers and requires setting up a long and huge transmission line. This process is expensive, hard to maintain and inefficient. Almost one third of power generated might get lost during transmission itself. Now consider this, if the power plant to generate this electricity is run by coal, than we are releasing tons of carbon into the air just so that one third of power generated by costing environment is a waste. With solar power, you generate the power where you want. All you have to do is put the panel on a place with sunlight and use it. Solar power is even more efficient to produce in a place where there is sunlight throughout the year.