Solar energy has many ways to take advantage of all the benefits it provides to human beings, one of these forms is active solar energy.
You have asked yourself, what is active solar energy ? What are your applications? What is the difference between passive solar energy? Do you have benefits? In this article we will answer those questions.
What is active solar energy?
Active solar energy is the use of the sun’s rays to produce electrical or mechanical energy .
Active solar energy classifies the technologies related to the use of solar energy using mechanical or electrical equipment to improve the performance or to process the energy obtained either by converting it into electrical or mechanical energy. These equipments can be fans, water pumps, etc.
On the contrary, solar systems that do not use these devices are classified as passive solar energy systems .
As part of it, systems are used for the use of solar radiation , which can be used for the production of sanitary hot water, especially in industrialized countries with cold zones that need heating and the use of transformation in electrical energy.
Another application from this is to produce a current of air for ventilation, for cooling or storage of heat for later use, for example pumps or fans.
The most commonly used technologies to harness solar energy are the panels.
A solar panel is a device that captures the sun’s rays and transforms them into electrical energy using a set of cells dependent on the photovoltaic effect.
These photovoltaic cells allow the light energy to produce positive and negative charges in two nearby semiconductors, forming an electric field capable of generating current.
In general, solar panels are manufactured in a conductive material called silicon that is characterized by being economical, therefore the production cost of a panel is usually not high.
These devices are fixed with fixed supports, immovable. They are placed in cardinal orientation to the south, and thus manage to collect solar radiation all day.
If the panels use solar trackers, they perform a displacement that allows them to improve their performance.
What are the types of active solar energy?
This type of energy is divided into photovoltaic and thermal , let’s see what each one consists of, its application in homes and other uses that are given to them.
Active solar photovoltaic energy
Photovoltaic active solar energy is one that is based on transforming solar radiation directly into electricity .
Its operation is given thanks to a semiconductor device called a photovoltaic cell. But, it is also possible through a thin film substrate, which is known as a solar cell.
Currently, this energy is used in homes to supply active solar heating, with a consequent reduction in electricity bills.
Thermal active solar energy
Thermal active solar energy involves the use of collectors to capture solar radiation .
Unlike photovoltaic solar energy, solar thermal energy is used for the supply of domestic hot water or heating.
In the case of water, the heat is transported by a pipe system, later used to supply hot water.
A coolant is responsible for operating the process and the heat exchange.
Within solar thermal energy we find three types of collectors, which have more applications the higher their temperature.
1- Low temperature collectors : operate at a maximum temperature of 65 °. They are sufficient to supply the energy expended by a normal house.
2- Medium temperature collectors : these are generally used by common houses that have a higher demand than low temperature collectors.
The temperature of these is between 100 ° and 300 °. They are of greater temperature since in them an extra layer is placed in the collector allowing the heat accumulated in it to be greater than in the previous collector.
3- High temperature collectors: can reach temperatures above 500 °, some models reach up to 1000 °.
Differences between active solar energy and passive solar energy
1. The active uses collectors or solar panels to transform sunlight into energy.
But, the passive solar energy does not do it since it is not so powerful. In the case of passive solar energy, there are construction techniques where no device is available to accumulate energy.
2. Active solar energy can be stored . Passive solar energy is consumed immediately.
3. The installation of panels in industrial areas or perhaps also in the home, serve to take advantage of sunlight in terms of active solar energy.
In the passive, there is something called bioclimatic architecture, which is that doors, windows and other mechanical systems take advantage of the entrance of the sun’s rays.
Benefits of active solar energy
- Active solar energy is clean and unlimited as it comes from nature, provided by the solar star.
- The invoices have a lower cost : With the simple exposure to the solar rays we obtain.
- It causes a positive effect on the environment : It does not emit substances that are toxic or polluting to the planet. Nor does it produce waste that requires hundreds of years to dissolve.