You want to know what is solar energy? You came to the right place in this article I will explain in a simple and didactic way the basic concepts of what solar energy is .
The history of solar energy
The sun has been for many civilizations a deity to be worshiped and honored. More than 3000 years before Christ, the Egyptians adored him; Other civilizations such as the Indians Persia, the Greeks or even the Incas and the Aztecs will be equally fascinated (because the gold of the Aztecs is teo cuitabl, blood and physical fluid of the solar god, a substance that guarantees the eternity of the world).
Nothing strange, since the sun is one of the elements necessary for the development of life: responsible for the water cycle (evaporation> clouds> rain / snow> rivers) and photosynthesis, its energy decreases in light and heat .
It was the same principle and the same energy that allowed the flame of the first Olympic Games to ignite in 776 BC and that Archimedes reused 5 centuries later to destroy the Roman fleet that wanted to besiege Syracuse: by means of bronze shields that reflected the light. of the sun (like the mirrors) it was possible to concentrate the energy on the enemy’s sails and set fire to the ships at a distance.
What is solar energy?
The energy of the sun comes to us in the form of light and heat. In one hour, the sun sends as much energy to the earth as all people use together in a year. But how can we convert that energy into electricity?
This is solar energy
You can see and feel the sun’s energy. The power of the sun is so great that during the summer it does not need heating or light during the day. Even when it is cloudy, it is often warm and light enough. Where does that energy come from?
The sun is largely composed of hydrogen from gas. Within the sun there are 15 million degrees. Helium is created in that heat when the hydrogen particles collide.
You call this nuclear fusion process. This releases energy. The sun constantly radiates that energy in the form of light and heat.
In summer the sun is much higher than in winter. As a result, sunlight travels a much shorter path through the atmosphere. Much less energy is lost and much more energy reaches the surface of the earth.
Also, the days are much longer in summer. It’s no wonder, therefore, that we need a lot more energy in the winter.
Principles of Operation of Solar Energy.
Photovoltaic energy directly converts solar radiation into electricity. Solar heat captures its heat. Different technologies make it possible to use the sun’s energy, both locally and in large industrial structures.
Like water and air, the sun is the basis of life on earth to which it provides heat and light. Inexhaustible, available and uncontaminated solar energy provides enough energy to the inhabitants of the earth every 50 minutes to cover their annual energy needs.
The challenge is to collect a part, although small, of this caloric and radiant energy.
Two technologies have been developed to make the most of:
- The photovoltaic directly converts sunlight into electricity through panels formed by the cells of semiconductor;
- The solar thermal energy that intercepts the heat of the sun. The heat collected is used as such or it is first transformed into mechanical energy, then into electricity. In this case we talk about thermodynamic solar energy .
Two types of systems are derived from this , very different from each other:
– Individual systems for private individuals or small communities. The photovoltaic panels allow to feed the electrical systems while the thermal sensors heat the house or the water of bathrooms and kitchens.
– Large complexes or ” solar power plants “, whether photovoltaic or thermodynamic, that extend over hundreds of hectares and produce electricity on a large scale that can power the electricity grid.
The remarkable ductility of solar energy, which is the great power capable of supplying electricity to cities and industries, but also offers autonomy to rural areas or areas of difficult access is one of its main attractions, among other renewable energies.
What are the benefits of solar energy?
- Solar energy never runs out.
- The solar energy is clean.
- Solar panels provide power in places where there is no electrical cable.
- You can also generate solar energy at home, with panels on the roof.
What are the Cons of solar energy?
- There are countries, that the sun does not always shine enough.
- We can only convert a small part of sunlight to energy.
- Solar panels need a lot of space.
- Solar panels are very expensive, but fortunately they are becoming cheaper.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of solar energy?
- Solar energy never runs out.
- The solar energy is clean.
- Solar panels provide power in places where there is no electrical cable.
- You can also generate solar energy at home, with panels on the roof.
- In countries like Holland, the sun does not always shine brightly enough.
- We can only convert a small part of sunlight to energy.
- Solar panels need a lot of space.
- Solar panels are very expensive, but fortunately they are becoming cheaper.
What are solar collectors?
Are solar collectors more efficient than photovoltaic solar panels?
As solar energy increasingly becomes a more affordable and realistic energy option, homeowners invariably want more information on how solar panels work, how they will reduce utility costs, a better understanding of solar energy Y
In short, solar energy comes from the radiation emitted by the sun. When sunlight strikes specialized solar panels, that energy is transformed into electricity that can be used to power all or part of your home.
¿ Is solar energy clean?
Unlike fossil fuels, solar energy does not produce emissions. One megawatt hour of solar electricity saves up to 1 ton of carbon dioxide emitted by other sources of energy.
How does solar energy work ?
Solar energy can be used to:
- Generate electricity through the use of solar panels
- Produce hot water for sanitary use using solar collectors
There are different ways to convert the sun’s energy into electricity or usable heat. The most commonly used technologies are solar panels and solar collectors.
The sun turns into kWh
Solar panels are also called photovoltaic panels or photovoltaic panels for short (PV is an abbreviation of “Photo Voltaic” in English).
In our projects we also refer to photovoltaic solar systems. Solar panels convert sunlight into electricity.
With the help of an inverter, the DC current produced is converted into alternating current, which can then be used for its own use, or it can be supplied back to the electricity grid.
The sun turns into heat
Solar collectors use solar thermal energy and convert sunlight into heat. Solar boilers are another name for solar collectors.
Solar collectors often consist of tubes filled with water (or other medium) that are heated in the sun. Then, the heated water is used to heat the process, space heating or to make hot water from the tap.
There are also combinations of these two technologies on the market: the PVT panel. Hereby, a solar panel is combined with a solar collector and the module generates electricity and heat.
How do solar panels work?
Solar panels generate electricity from sunlight. The energy emitted by the sun is inexhaustible, and that’s why we talk about renewable energy.
Therefore, solar panels generate energy without having a negative impact on the environment.
But how do solar panels do this? And what exactly do you need for a properly functioning installation? What’s up with the electricity meters and such?
We try to give you the answer to all your questions on this page.
Operation of solar panels
Each installation of solar panels consists of approximately the following components: solar panels, a mounting system that installs the solar panels on the roof or floor, the inverter and the wiring.
Solar panels and solar cells.
Each solar panel is made up of different solar cells. Most solar panels have 48, 60 or 72 solar cells.
Classic solar cells are made of crystalline silicon. Two thin layers of silicon are placed parallel to each other, and release electrons from their atoms under the influence of incident sunlight.
A metallic contact between the two layers captures the released energy.
What is a solar panel?
A solar panel is a collection of solar cells that can convert light directly into electricity. By combining the capacity of several solar panels, part of a family’s electricity needs can be covered with the production of green energy.
The amount of electricity produced by a solar cell depends mainly on the amount of light it receives. Therefore, solar panels can provide electricity even on a cold winter day.
Solar panels containing photovoltaic (PV) cells absorb photons generated by sunlight. The panels convert the photons into electrons, which creates direct current (DC).
The inverter technology connected to the solar panels converts this DC current into the known alternating current (AC) that is used to power the heat of homes and electrical appliances.
How do solar panels work in a house?
A solar panel, also called a photovoltaic panel or simply a photovoltaic panel, captures light and converts it into electrical voltage.
The direct current is converted into usable alternating current through an inverter (inverter). You can use the alternating current directly in your home.
What can I do with the electricity produced that we do not consume?
If at a certain moment it generates more electricity than it consumes, the surplus is sent to the electricity grid. You will receive a refund from your energy provider for this. This is called balance.
There are mono and polycrystalline and thin-film photovoltaic panels. Mono and polycrystalline photovoltaic panels are made of silicone raw material.
The difference is in the production process. The polycrystalline solar panels are no longer processed during the solidification process, as a result of which the crystals cross over.
With monocrystalline solar panels, these crystals are all placed in the same direction, so that a little more energy is generated.
However, in a small installation in a normal house this is insignificant. Thin-film solar cells (also called thin-film solar cells) are relatively new panels.
Another name is also called CIS solar panels (indium and copper selenide) or CIGD panels (gallium selenide and indium and copper selenide).
Thin film panels are sometimes called daylight solar panels, it is not really justified because each solar panel is the so-called daylight panel.
However, a thin-film solar panel has higher efficiency with light or diffuse (diurnal) shadow.
These panels are very light compared to other mono and polycrystalline panels and are also cheaper per watt peak.
¿ How is the power of a solar panel expressed?
The power of a solar panel is expressed in WP (watt-peak power). Currently, conventional panels have a capacity between 270 and 370 watts peak.
As a general rule, on average, an installed solar panel can generate a yield of approximately 0.88 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year for a theoretical capacity of a WP.
The situation on your roof determines the actual performance. However, the type of investor can also increase the performance.
We always make clear to you the performance of the system with the different types of investors. (Central inverter, inverter with optimizers or micro-inverters).
The performance is influenced by:
- The power of your panel.
- Shadow spots
- Strength and direction (radiation factor) of the sun.
- Type of investor
Solar panels can be installed on almost any roof .
What is the installation of solar panels for my home?
There are several steps to follow before jumping into the solar power installation for your home. Discussing the following points with a solar energy professional will help you make the most informed and beneficial decision.
- Does the amount of sunlight obtained justify the installation of a solar system?
- What type of solar installation makes the most sense for your electrical needs?
- How and how will it connect to the local electricity network?
- How many solar panels will you need for your system?
- Do you prefer to rent or buy your solar equipment?
How much will I save on energy costs when using solar energy?
Despite significant reductions in installation and equipment costs, investing in a solar energy system remains a considerable financial consideration designed to save you utility costs for years. What kind of return could you get from your investment if you sell your home?
Calculating the amount of solar saving available to you can be somewhat complex due to the number of factors involved in each installation. No two are the same, but contacting your local utility company can provide useful information.
What are solar collectors and how do they work?
any of the various devices for the absorption of solar radiation to heat water or generate electricity.
The collector absorbs sunlight and heats a liquid that circulates in its interior circuit, this hot liquid circulates through a metallic sprinkler (spout) inside the water tank delivering heat and heating the water.
What are the types of solar collectors?
- Vacuum tube collectors are the most efficient but costly solar hot water collectors. These collectors have glass or metal tubes with vacuum, which allows them to operate well in colder climates.
- Solar batch water heaters, also called integral storage systems for collectors, have tanks or storage tubes inside an insulated box, whose southern side is glazed to capture the sun’s energy.
- A flat plate collector is a box covered by glass or plastic with a metal absorbent plate on the bottom. The enameling or coating of the absorbent plate helps to absorb and retain heat better.
- Unglazed flat plate collectors , typically made of rubber, are used primarily to heat swimming pools.
- The air collectors are mainly used for heating spaces in the home.
What is solar energy and how is it used?
The uses of solar energy are:
1) Water heating
2) Interior lighting by solar energy
3) Heating of solar-powered pools
4) Cooking purposes
5) Solar energy in residential areas
6) Solar energy for industries
What is solar energy advantages and disadvantages?
What are the advantages ?
Solar energy is a renewable energy source that can be gathered almost anywhere in the world
. Solar power plants do not produce air, water or noise pollution and do not emit greenhouse gases (6) Large-scale power plants can disturb local plants and wildlife due to their size, but compared to fossil fuels, they still have
A lower environmental footprint Solar power plants also have fewer safety risks than fossil fuel plants. Once built, solar power plants have extremely low operating costs, since their main input, sunlight, is free.
What are the disadvantages of solar energy?
However, there are several important disadvantages that have historically prevented solar energy from becoming a major energy supplier.
Solar panels can not collect solar energy at night and the amount they collect during the day varies according to the season and the time of day.
Solar panels are not very good at converting sunlight into electricity. Most solar panels have, at best, an efficiency rate of 20% and their costs are high.
For an owner who wants to install solar panels in their home in the USA. UU., The average cost of a typical system is around $ 20,000
For power plants, photovoltaic solar energy costs 11 cents per kilowatt hour. Compare this with a conventional coal plant (9 cents per kilowatt hour) and natural gas (6 cents per kilowatt hour).
However, costs are plummeting. In 2010, the cost was 21 cents per kilowatt hour, almost double what it is today.
In countries like Germany, Italy and Spain, the cost of solar energy has reached the parity of the network, having fallen at the same price as buying it from the electricity grid).
Solar energy – benefits
Four benefits for households that use solar energy:
- Sunlight is free . Therefore, as soon as you have paid for the initial installation, your electricity costs are virtually free.
- The government of the United Kingdom has a fee-for-food regime . The scheme pays people for the electricity they generate, even if they use it. Many countries around the world have similar schemes.
- Sell electricity to the network. The electricity grid will pay households the electricity they export through the United Kingdom’s food tariff scheme . Similar schemes exist also in other countries.
- Lower carbon footprint . Solar energy is a renewable green energy. It does not release carbon dioxide and other gases that contribute to climate change.
A typical photovoltaic system for an average home, for example, could save approximately 1.2 to 1.7 tons of carbon per year.
Climate change refers to the long-term change in average temperatures and Earth’s weather patterns. When the long-term temperatures increase, we call it global warming.
Global temperatures are currently increasing at rates of progressive acceleration. If we do not take drastic measures soon, we may have a serious problem by the middle or end of this century.
The Sahara desert could generate more electricity than the world needs only with solar and wind energy.
What is passive solar energy?
Passive solar energy is the direct use of the energy of sunlight without converting the energy of sunlight into special equipment.
One can passively use the energy of sunlight considering the position of the house or building in relation to the sun.
Passive solar energy can also be used to heat the house when building it. For example, one can design the house or building in such a way that as much sunlight as possible enters directly into the house, so that sunlight can heat the house.
You can also choose to place almost no window on the north side and place very large windows on the south side because on the south side the largest amount of sun can penetrate the house.
However, you have to take into account the buildings and the lining of the house. If these current objects and vegetation ensure that sunlight can not shine through the windows, this shadow effect must be resolved or the design of the house (or other building) must be changed.
What are the different types of passive solar energy?
The use of windows on the sunny side of a house or building complex is a simple and familiar way to facilitate passive solar energy.
However, good insulating glazing must be used for sunlight to warm the air inside the building, but hot air does not lose heat due to thin glazing and too small insulation. The use of windows for passive solar energy is common.
However, there are many more ways and techniques to use passive solar energy. Here are some examples:
- You can build a winter garden or a balcony on the side of a building where the sun shines the most. The air heated by the sun in these areas can be used for ventilation in the home and, therefore, transported through the home.
- This can also be done by placing an atrium of large windows or transparent domes on the ceiling.
- The construction mass can be used to trap sunlight. One can think of a dark stone wall that absorbs heat and radiates again.
- You can also use passive solar energy bringing solar energy as far as possible to the home. For example, one can use a vacuum or a patio. You can also use special light tubes that bring sunlight as far as possible to the home. That way you do not have to use electric light.
- Also in the interior of the house you can take sunlight into account, for example, placing the bathroom and other rooms where sunlight is not needed, such as the meter cabinet on the north side of the house.
- Ventilation systems can be used to transport hot air and cold air through a building.
Does passive solar radiation work?
Passive solar energy is used to design and design a house in a certain way.
Think of a hanging roof to reduce the amount of sunshine on the south side in the summer and smaller windows or none on the north side of the house.
A greenhouse or a balcony with glass in the front is also possible. The sun will heat the air here that can be ventilated by the house.
A stone that cushions the heat on the side where the sun shines is also a good option. Also, a better light guide through the house through sunlight will help you use less electricity.
You can also place the living room on the south side and the bathroom and other rooms on the north side of the house.
A deciduous tree can also moisten the sun in the summer and let in light in the winter. In addition, you can use the correct ventilation to get the hot and cold air in the right place.
Passive solar systems: unlike active solar systems, passive systems operate without dependence on external devices.
Rather, like greenhouses, solariums and solar rooms, solar energy captures the sun’s rays through glass windows that absorb and retain heat. Passive solar systems include these features:
- Instead of using photovoltaic panels, passive collectors usually rely on south-facing windows to convert the rays into sunlight.
- The design of passive solar collectors is based on the law of thermodynamics, which postulates that heat is transferred from warm to cold surfaces, such as through convection.
- The success of the passive solar system depends on its orientation and the thermal mass of its walls, which determine its capacity to absorb heat.
There are many varied approaches to passive solar energy. The most common is that it is used for heating in the home, but it is also being applied in the data center.
The principles behind passive solar energy can be applied in the construction of a house as with integrated solar energy or applied as later updates.
Examples of built-in passive solar features include south-facing windows, dark floors (often stone) to collect and store heat as a thermal mass to release during colder times.
Examples of additions that can be made to existing buildings include passive heaters made of downspouts, aluminum cans, aluminum screens, and other often recycled materials.
Where can passive solar energy be used?
Most commonly, this passive solar energy is used on the surface of buildings and apartments to meet simple needs such as corridor lighting and water heating.
Currently, this technology can only be used to meet the low power needs of users. Although it is not as big as you might want, it still saves money and makes you a human being that respects the environment.
With the growing practice of green real estate, passive solar energy is being used everywhere. Designers feel the need to incorporate it into their designs without it being expensive.
However, there are always setbacks of any kind of technology. So let’s look at the pros and cons of passive solar energy.
Passive solar energy advantages and disadvantages
- As mentioned above, it is one of the ecological and ecological ways of producing electricity. In this world of increasing electrical demands, you can not afford to spend all fossil fuels. You have to cut back and think of alternative methods and this is one of those things.
- The cost of the required materials is very low. You do not need any panel or solar inverter to work like normal solar energy converters. It can work perfectly even when there is only partial sunshade.
- In a configuration such as an apartment, it is really annoying when you have to share the expenses of common facilities, such as lighting the corridors. These little things require very little electricity, but they are very important for people who live in apartments and condominiums. Then, when building, designers could implement passive solar energy to provide electricity for all common uses.
- If you live in a remote area, it will take a lot of time and effort to install a normal solar system in your home. But if you go with the passive solar system, you could do it in a short time.
The passive or climatic solar design uses the energy of the sun to heat a structure or supply of electrical energy.
The angle and direction of the windows in a building are used to determine the entrance of sunlight and the heat or cooling of the building according to the season. Solar panels can convert light into electricity, which is then used or stored in a battery for later consumption. Passive solar energy has disadvantages that can facilitate the use of some applications.
Limited power options
- Due to the nature of solar energy, it is only possible to generate a limited amount of electricity. The only way to increase the amount of energy produced is to build more cells and solar panels, which would take a lot of land. It is possible to use automated sun tracking panels, which are tilted to capture the greatest amount of light during the day.
Initial investment high
- Installing and maintaining a passive solar energy system is expensive. Solar panels are not cheap and require replacement every decade. Passive solar heating, requires detailed designs that must be perfect. Using the wrong type of glass or turning off a few degrees with the measurements can mean that the building will be too hot or too cold. Glare can also be a problem, and the interior design should be taken into account at the construction stage.
- Passive solar energy depends on the climate. In a cloudy and dark climate, it will not work with maximum efficiency, or it will not work at all. A cloudy week can leave a house without heating or electricity. The system depends on the amount of sunlight reaching the ground, which is something we can not control. Due to this disadvantage, passive solar energy is not suitable for certain places, especially in the extreme north or south.
- Passive solar energy requires a specialized design in a building, as well as banks of solar cells and panels. These factors mean that the architectural design of a building is limited to include these concepts. Depending on the location of the property, having all the windows facing south can cause a view to be lost and windows to overlook unpleasant aspects of the surrounding landscape. The gardens should be planned with tall climbing trees and shrubs to avoid blockage of sunlight to the house.
- Each system has its own set of disadvantages and here are those of the Passive Solar System.
- First, a great level of engineering experience is needed to implement the Passive Solar System in apartments and condominiums. You have to plan and investigate a lot if you have to implement this system since it is not easy as it might seem.
- If the implementation is difficult, the use is more difficult. It takes a lot of work for engineers to organize this system, so imagine what it will take ordinary people to use it.
- Finally, not all systems are the same. If a system works well in California’s climate, that will not work in Miami. Therefore, you must conduct extensive research so that a Passive Solar System works perfectly.
What is solar thermal energy?
Thermal solar energy consists of producing heat from the sun’s rays and using it directly . These are devices that operate at low temperatures (less than 100 ° C) for residential or commercial use (hot water and heating), as well as to cover industrial needs.
Thermal sensors are used to absorb solar heat and return it to a liquid carrier (a liquid or gas that carries heat) that circulates to the places of use. The sensors can be simple (domestic use) or very sophisticated (industrial uses).
In general (common uses), they are flat sensors, composed of a black body that absorbs solar radiation, a thermal insulator and a glass that acts as a “greenhouse effect”.
The increase in temperature with respect to the surrounding environment can reach up to + 70 ° C.
Solar thermal energy definition
Solar thermal energy can be captured by solar panels. There are two main types of solar panels that use completely different technologies to make use of the sun’s energy.
Solar water heating collectors are panels that absorb the sun’s energy and transfer it to heat the water. Photovoltaic (or solar electric) panels transform solar radiation directly into electricity.
Solar thermal energy operation
In principle, a solar thermal system works like a dark garden hose that is in the sun.
The surface of the hose absorbs sunlight and, in particular, heat radiation, which heats the water in the hose. A solar water heater works in the following way:
1. Thermal solar panels absorb sunlight through an absorbent. In this a special heat transfer fluid (= glycol) is heated.
2. A pump transports this liquid to the heat exchanger in the solar boiler.
3. There, the solar energy is transferred to the water in a storage tank (a solar boiler or a reserve tank).
4. If there is not enough solar radiation to heat the water, the sanitary water in the storage tank is heated to the desired temperature by a traditional heating system.
Depending on the average annual efficiency, a solar thermal boiler supplies approximately 60 percent of the energy required to satisfy domestic hot water production.
Thermal solar energy advantages and disadvantages
Advantages of solar thermal energy.
1) No fuel cost : solar thermal energy does not require any fuel like most other renewable energy sources. This is a great advantage over other fossil fuels whose costs increase drastically each year. Electricity prices are increasingly faster in most of the world much faster than general inflation. Price shocks due to high fuel costs are a big risk with fossil fuel energy these days.
2) Predictable energy, 24/7: solar thermal energy can generate energy 24 hours a day. This is possible because thermal solar energy plants store energy in the form of molten salts, etc. Other forms of renewable energy, such as photovoltaic solar energy and wind energy, are intermittent in nature. The power supply is much more uniform and reliable.
3) No pollution and effects of global warming : solar thermal energy does not cause pollution, which is one of the biggest advantages. Keep in mind that there are costs associated with the equipment used to build and transport solar thermal equipment.
4) Use of the existing industrial base : solar thermal energy uses equipment such as solar thermal mirrors and turbines that are manufactured on a large scale at low cost by the existing industrial base and do not require major changes in equipment and materials, unlike new technologies, such as CIG panels.
Disadvantages of solar thermal energy
1) High costs : thermal solar energy costs at least 3.5 euros / watt and has not decreased too much in the last 3-4 years. However, these costs are too high, since photovoltaic solar energy already costs 2.5 euros / watt and even conservatively will cause its costs to be reduced by 5% in the next 10 years, so it will reach half the cost of solar thermal technology for 2020.
2) Future Technology has a high probability of making CSP is obsolete : solar energy has become a hotbed of innovation with daily news of new developments in materials and processes in photovoltaic technology. Oerlikon has come out with a new radial technology from a-Si, while the CIG player is promoting greater efficiency. Chinese solar companies have captured large portions of the solar market through low-cost leadership, while the number of global heavyweights such as Posco, Samsung, Hyundai, Sharp, GE, TSMC promise to further reduce these costs.
3) Problem with water : solar thermal plants use a lot of water, which is a major problem in desert areas. The use of refrigeration without water increases the cost of CSP projects too much. Although the use of seawater has been proposed, it remains to be seen if it is possible to implement this solution, since this would involve the construction of plants very close to the coast.
4) Ecological and cultural problems : it is observed that the use of massive matrices of mirrors has a great impact on the wild life of the desert that endangers the species in danger of extinction. California has already seen a massive fight on this issue with Project Developers who reduce the size of their Plants and spend money to move wildlife.
5) Limited locations and size limitations : solar thermal energy can only be built in places that have a large amount of solar radiation. They can be built in deserts in their majority and require a large area of land. This means that it is not possible to build them in populated areas. Solar thermal energy can also be built in large sizes that have a size of at least 50 MW to be economical. This contrasts with photovoltaic solar energy, which is sold in sizes as low as 5 watts.
6) Prolonged gestation time leading to cost overruns : gestation time for permits, financing, drilling, etc. It can easily take 5-7 years to develop a concentrated solar thermal power plant. Compare this with 6 months for a small wind farm or 3 months for a photovoltaic solar power plant.
What is active solar energy?
Active solar systems: configurations of active solar energy depend on external energy sources, or backup systems, such as radiators and heat pumps, to capture, store and then convert solar energy into electricity.
Depending on the complexity of the design, you can heat or cool your home or provide energy to an entire neighborhood. Active solar systems include the following characteristics:
- The collectors are formed by flat plate photovoltaic panels, which are usually mounted and stationary. In advanced designs, panels often connect to each other to form modules.
- Solar collectors use liquid or air as conductors to store and convert energy. Those who use liquids are known as hydronic collectors, while those that contain air are called air collectors.
- Liquid conductors are more common than those based on air, since liquid is generally more efficient at conducting heat, although solar systems based on air have the benefit of not freezing.
What is low-temperature active solar energy?
Low temperature solar thermal energy . Low-temperature solar thermal technology produces heat from the sun’s rays and uses it directly.
Operating at temperatures below 100 ° C, the facilities are adapted to residential and commercial applications ( hot water and heating), as well as to a wide variety of industrial needs.
Active high-temperature solar energy
High-temperature solar thermal energy (HTST), also known as thermal concentration energy (CST), is used to generate electrical energy.
HTST power plants are very similar to traditional fossil fuel power plants, but the important difference is that they get their energy input from the sun, instead of fossil fuels.
HTST systems have two main components: the collector / concentrator and the receiver / absorber. The collector is a mirror with the function of collecting solar energy and concentrating this energy (by reflection) towards a centralized receiver, which contains a working fluid that absorbs concentrated solar energy.
What are the types of active solar energy?
The four main designs of HTST are: parabolic channel, parabolic plate, power tower and linear Fresnel.
What is solar photovoltaic energy?
The photovoltaic (or photoelectric) effect consists of converting light into electricity. It was discovered by physicist Edmond Becquerel (1839) and found an industrial application in 1954. The beginning?
The electric current arises from the movement of electrons . To cause this displacement, photons (constituent particles of light, which take 1 million years to be born and 8 minutes to reach Earth) will excite the peripheral electrons of some atoms of semiconductor elements, mainly silicon.
In practice, a photovoltaic cell receives sunlight and transforms it into electricity due to a semiconductor (that is, a material whose capacity to conduct electricity, called conductivity), initially weak, may increase due to some factors: brightness, presence of impurities …
The silicon used in the cells of the photovoltaic panels is a semiconductor: exposure to light makes it a conductor of electricity. Several cells constitute a photovoltaic module that produces direct current, which is then transformed into an alternative current, through a corrugator.
The modules can be used in small plants or in large power plants .
Photovoltaic energy is the science behind the most popular way to harness solar energy. It is the process of converting sunlight directly into continuous DC electricity.
The photovoltaic effect (PV) was first observed in 1839. However, it was not until 1954 that scientists were able to discover exactly how it works.
Since then, the industry has grown and is likely to have seen photovoltaic systems used to power electronic products, automobiles, homes, commercial buildings and to supplement power grids.
Due to greater efficiency, lower costs and increased environmental concern, photovoltaic installations have increased dramatically in recent years.
How does photovoltaic solar energy work?
A photovoltaic system uses solar panels to capture the photons of sunlight. These solar panels each have many solar cells composed of layers of different materials. An antireflective coating on the top helps the cell capture as much light as possible.
Below is a semiconductor (usually silicone) sandwiched between a negative conductor at the top and a positive conductor at the bottom.
Once the photons are captured by the solar cell, they begin to release the outer electrons of the atoms within the semiconductor. Negative and positive leads create a path for the electrons and an electric current is created.
This electrical current is sent to the cables that capture the DC electricity. These cables lead to a solar inverter, which is then transformed into AC electricity used in homes. The more solar cells installed, the more electricity will be produced.
Photovoltaic solar energy advantages and disadvantages
Main advantages of solar energy
1. clean energy
3. it’s free
4. Low maintenance
5. Multiple uses
6. preserves wildlife
7. Saves water
Main disadvantages of solar energy
1. Solar energy is initially expensive
2. Availability of sunlight
3. Solar energy is not always reliable
4. The installation requires space
6. Climate dependence
How does solar energy benefit the environment?
- Create clean and renewable energy from the sun.
- Reduces dependence on fossil fuels.
- Reduce carbon footprint
- Reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
- Reduce environmental pollution
What is hybrid solar energy?
A hybrid photovoltaic system is a system equipped with storage batteries. It can be installed in both residential and industrial fields.
It is useful to produce, store and consume your own energy reserve from a renewable source , the sun.
What is a hybrid solar panel / PVT?
A PVT solar panel is a panel that generates not only electricity but also solar heat (for heating and hot water). Hence the name PVT panel, because two energy sources of electricity and water are brought simultaneously. Until now, both applications were housed in different solar panels. This requires multiple solar panels and is also more expensive.
The last PVT solar panels have both functions in one panel (solar photovoltaic + thermo = PVT) and are therefore even more efficient.