It is fairly impossible to sideline the fact that data centers are the major causes of energy wastage in IT sectors. They have been the recent targets of unscrupulous allegations by the flag bearers of green, eco-friendly environment. On the contrary, it is impossible to deny energy wastage by data centers.
Data centers have got to understand the importance of deploying energy saving measures and resources in their facilities. A number of alternative energy resources are available in abundance, just waiting to be used. One such resource is the photovoltaic cell or commonly called the solar cells.
What is a photovoltaic cell?
Photovoltaic cells or solar cells are devices that convert solar energy into electricity. These cells were earlier used to provide power to remote areas that were devoid of electricity. Recently these devices have been used to create integrated photovoltaic cells and photovoltaic power stations for grid connected applications.
These cells when exposed to sunlight, generate electricity without the help of any external voltage source. Hence these have unique aspects of achieving low cost energy efficiencies in solar harvesting. Statistics reveal that the power conversion efficiencies have increased from 3% to 5% with the use of these cells.
Usage of a solar cell
A number of photovoltaic cells assembled together are called solar modules. Multiple cells integrated to one another with a similar orientation, when exposed to sunlight generate electricity. These are called the photovoltaic panels. These are different from the solar hot water panel used for thermal purposes.
Photovoltaic modules consist of a semiconductor sheet sandwiched between two sheets of glass. Glass on the front side enables sunlight to penetrate and trigger the charge carriers on the semiconductor. These charge carriers are responsible for the conversion of light into electricity.
The electricity that is generated is fed into the electricity grid through inverters which enables efficient use of the electrical energy. When the electrical energy is to be used for future purposes, it is stored in batteries.
Benefits of a solar cell in a data center
Most important criteria for the use of an alternative energy source are the economic factors. When economic conditions are satisfied, half the battle is won. Solar cells are of very low price compared to the other resources. Efficiency of solar cells can be increased to reduce the cost of harvesting the solar energy. High efficiency cells also reduce the total space required for the set up. It would reduce the total plant cost although the individual cell costs are higher. Thin film technologies also reduce the amount of material required in framing the active material of the cell. There are different solar cells available in the market. Data centers can use these depending on their requirements and needs.
Cadmium telluride solar cell
Dye sensitized solar cells
Quantum dot solar cells
Organic/polymer solar cells
Copper indium gallium selenide
Silicon thin films
The lifespan of these cells are really long, they last for about twenty to thirty years. This is another exciting factor for data centers to use solar cells.
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