I have loved solar panels since I was a kid in 5th grade. I thought it was the coolest thing to be able to convert sunlight to electricity and then use that electricity for something useful. The simplest of all solar panel experiments uses one 3-volt solar panel with one-half to to 1 amp of current, a 330 ohm resistor, and one LED. You do not need to know any of these terms. You can walk into any electronics store such as Micro Center or Radio Shack or any other electronics store in the city that carries component electronics and tell them you want these three parts and they will know instantly know what you want.
Using these three parts and simple sunlight (even on a cloudy day), you can power on the LED and make it glow. Using this very simple demonstration, principles of physics, and ramping it up I will show how this is a feasible and economical source of energy on a mass scale and how it is being used TODAY in many parts of the world profitably - in spite of what the opposition says.
It is possible, on a large scale, to use solar panels to gather the energy of sunlight and to store it in rechargeable batteries. The batteries would need to be very large to store enough energy to get through the night or an overcast day that provided very little sunlight. One such example is a UPS (Universal Power Supply), which can be bought at any store that sells computers and accessories, such as Best Buy, Micro Center, Staples, etc. Basically, it’s a battery backup. Hospitals, corporations and homeowners use them to provide continuous power for a set period of time. The bigger the UPS in terms of wattage, the more time.
Solar panels mounted to a roof can feed energy to reserve batteries for an endless source of energy. The added benefit would be a reliable source of energy in the case of a brown or black out, which Chicago has experienced on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis.
In the long term, the energy would become free. The costs to be amortized would be the parts and installation versus the amount of energy brought in monthly.