What About Alternative Solar Technologies To Photovoltaics
Weve been talking about , or PV, in this article, because its the most common type of solar energy generation, especially for homes and businesses. But theres more out there, and they work in different ways than traditional photovoltaic solar panels. Two of the most common alternative solar options that work differently than PV panels are solar hot water and concentrated solar power.
Solar Thermal Power Plant
While photovolatic cells convert the Sun’s energy directly into electricity, this is not the case with solar thermal power. Solar thermal power plants are electricity generation plants that utilize energy from the Sun to heat a fluid to a high temperature. This fluid then transfers its heat to water, which then becomes superheated steam. This steam is then used to turn turbines in a power plant, and this mechanical energy is converted into electricity by a generator. This type of generation is essentially the same as electricity generation that uses fossil fuels, but instead heats steam using sunlight instead of combustion of fossil fuels. These systems use solar collectors to concentrate the Sun’s rays on one point to achieve appropriately high temperatures.
Can Solar Power Be Generated On A Cloudy Day
Yes, it can. The UK may not seem the best country for generating energy from the sun, but solar power only requires some level of daylight in order to harness the suns energy. That said, the rate at which solar panels generate electricity does vary depending on the amount of direct sunlight and the quality, size, number and location of panels in use.
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How Does A Solar Panel System Work
Heres an example of how a home solar energy installation works. First, sunlight hits a solar panel on the roof. The panels convert the energy to DC current, which flows to an inverter. The inverter converts the electricity from DC to AC, which you can then use to power your home. Its beautifully simple and clean, and its getting more efficient and affordable all the time.
However, what happens if youre not home to use the electricity your solar panels are generating every sunny day? And what happens at night when your solar system is not generating power in real time? Dont worry, you may also be able to benefit from system called feed in tariffs depending on your state and energy retailer.
A typical grid-tied PV system, during peak daylight hours, frequently produces more energy than one customer needs, so that excess energy is fed back into the grid for use elsewhere. The customer gets credit for the excess energy produced, and can use that credit to draw from the conventional grid at night or on cloudy days. A feed in tariff is the rate at which you effectively sell your solar-produced power back into the grid.
By installing solar, youve made the easy decision to save money and help save the environment by switching to clean, renewable energy. Read more about solar savings here.
Providing Power To Your Home Or Business
After solar energy is converted from DC to AC power, it will move through the electrical panel and be sent throughout your home or business to power anything that requires power to run.
It works the same way that electrical power generated through the grid does.
This means you dont have to change any of the electrical components in your home.
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Future Of Solar Power Energy
Solar energy is a clean, renewable source of electricity. There is potential that solar panels can be used to provide more efficient and effective sources of power in the future. Research has been done into using solar cells to generate hydrogen fuel from sunlight which can then be used in gas-powered cars or converted into electricity in homes and businesses.
How Do Solar Panels Work
Solar panels can look very hi-tech and confusing from afar. If youve ever walked down the street and seen your neighbors homes are fitted with these panels, then you may be wondering exactly how do solar panels work or produce electricity to power a home. However, it is actually rather simple.
The first step is for the sunlight to hit the panels, and activate them. Each solar panel has a layer of silicon cells, metal frames and glass casing with special wiring and a film over the top.
These panels are then fitted to the rooftops of your home in order to collect the maximum amount of light. During the daylight hours, these solar panels will work to absorb the light.
Inside of the solar panels are solar cells, which when one is positively charged and one is negatively charged, will produce an electric field. When the suns light energy strikes this solar cell, the cell is activated and the electrons create an electrical current.
However, the electric energy produced is not the same as the one that powers your home, and so this has to be converted by a solar inverter. Finally, the solar inverter converts the energy so that it is able to generate power and electricity that you need for your home.
This photovoltaic technology is able to capture the suns power, in order to operate your home in a more efficient and renewable way.
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What Are We Doing To Bring More Solar Power Onto The Grid
National Grid ESO is preparing Britains electricity system to be able to run on purely zero-carbon electricity by 2025 ready to accommodate whatever quantity of renewable electricity, including solar power, is being generated.
In order to bring ever increasing amounts of renewable energy onto the grid, and keep costs down for customers, theyre working to overcome two intertwined challenges: ensuring that demand for power is balanced by electricity generated and updating the foundations of the electricity system. Electricity has historically relied on fossil fuels, so theyre designing new approaches and incorporating new technologies.
In a recent successful test, as part of the Power Potential project, the inverters at a solar plant were upgraded so that, on top of providing power during the sunshine of the day, the plant could also provide a use at night time, smoothing fluctuations in voltage and keep the grid stable.
Solar power also plays a role in providing frequency response, one of the balancing tools that the ESO uses to keep the electricity system in balance.
A recent trial saw a contract made up entirely of domestic users, allowing them to get paid to export their excess energy to the grid and help to balance supply and demand with cleaner, decentralised power at the same time.
The Issue With Saving Solar Energy
Solar energy is great for instantaneous power generation but amidst all the possibilities that converting solar energy into electricity offers, there is one glaring issue that the industry has yet to completely solve: There are only a limited number of methods for storing solar energy in mass quantities.
Yes, there are batteries where solar energy can be stored and used at will but when it comes to saving large quantities of solar energy, the solutions are few and far between. Plus, the limited number of solutions available are usually expensive.
Fortunately, as the solar industry continues to progress, this is an issue that is sure to be solved given the time. Hopefully, the answer to this important part of the solar picture comes sooner, rather than later.
In summation, it is important to know the ins and outs of how solar energy is converted to electricity. This helps you understand the dynamics of solar energy. The more you know about your system and the way it works, the easier it will be for you to take care of your solar panel system and troubleshoot any issues that might occur.
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The Importance Of Solar Power
You can consider solar power as an unlimited source of energy that the sun has been offering us for ages. The heat and light of the sun provide the planet with energy that can then be converted into other forms of energy and can be used to produce electricity.
Surprisingly, it has been in use since the 3rd century B.C. Back then, in the area that is now known as Germany, people used mirrors to harness solar power to light up their torches.
But why is it so different from other energy sources? Its because, unlike fossil fuels, natural gas, or coal, solar energy doesnt emit pollutants such as harmful greenhouse gases. Offering a steady supply of energy, the sun rays dont have much carbon footprint as well.
Lets see the two major categories of solar energy.
How Much Electricity Does Solar Power Generate
One may ask whether we can receive enough solar energy to satisfy our needs, and probably will receive an affirmative answer, because the amount of electricity that we can convert from the sun outnumbers by thousands of the amount that the worlds population now utilizes.
However, the question is that not all of that energy is collected and used by the population and one such example would be that solar energy is not available at night, thus, providing that we still need it at that time, the question of its storage emerges.
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How To Convert Solar Power To Electrical Energy
Solar energy is the free energy that we get from the sun. There is an increased demand for renewable sources of energy in the recent years. Solar energy is clean and environmentally friendly. So many countries are investing their money to produce useful electrical energy from solar energy.
Solar panels are made from silicon and convert solar energy to electrical energy. There are simple steps in which solar cells convert solar power to electrical energy. These are discussed below:
You have to set up solar panels at the top of your house where maximum sunlight is available during the day. There are three different types of solar panel array mountings: adjustable, fixed and tracking solar panel mounts. You can choose the best solar panel mount as per your requirements. Tracking solar panel mounts are more efficient as they can move in the direction of sun.
Image Source http://www.sunlink-energy.com
The solar panel is connected to the solar charge controller. The charge controller controls the charging of the battery and prevents it from overcharging. It also prevents the reverse flow of current during the night when no charging takes place.
In the next step, connect the charge controller to the battery. The battery will start charging in the presence of sunlight if it is not fully charged. When the battery is fully charged, the charging process stops automatically and it restarts again when the indicator detects that the battery is to be charged.
Three: Electricity Begins To Flow Through Your Home
Traditionally, your current electricity meter likely only spins forward. After partnering with Momentum Solar, your dedicated solar specialists will work closely with your utility company to replace your meter with a bi-directional meter. The bi-directional meter tracks when you use and produce energy. This process is called net-metering and is essential to banking excess power.
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Step : The Cells Produce Electrical Current
Within each solar cell is a thin semiconductor wafer made from two layers of silicon. One layer is positively charged, and the other negatively charged, forming an electric field. When light energy from the sun strikes a photovoltaic solar cell, it energizes the cell and causes electrons to come loose from atoms within the semiconductor wafer. Those loose electrons are set into motion by the electric field surrounding the wafer, and this motion creates an electrical current.
What Is Solar Power
Energy created by the heat and light of the sun is called solar energy. Solar power is produced when energy from the sun is converted into electricity or used to heat air, water or other substances. Solar energy can be used to create solar fuels such as hydrogen.
At the end of 2020, there was more than 700 GW of solar installed around the world, meeting around 3 percent of global electricity demand.
More solar PV energy is added each year than any other type of energy generation, thanks largely to the rapid cost reductions that have been achieved in recent years. Between 2010 and 2019, the global levelised cost of electricity for large scale solar dropped by 85 per cent.
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How Does Solar Energy Converted Into Electricity
Solar panels are some kind of devices that are made to absorb sun rays and convert them into electricity. This procedure is conducted upon photovoltaic effect. Photovoltaic cells are used to make solar panels. Solar Panels continue the conversion of the suns energy till the sunlight hits their surface. But this direct electricity cant be used to run home appliances, to serve this purpose inverter is used which convert the direct current into alternating current. Alternating current is the current which is generally used in houses to run home appliances like TV, Refrigerator, Oven, AC, etc.
Solar Photovoltaic Technology Basics
What is technology and how does it work? PV materials and devices convert sunlight into electrical energy. A single PV device is known as a cell. An individual PV cell is usually small, typically producing about 1 or 2 watts of power. These cells are made of different semiconductor materials and are often less than the thickness of four human hairs. In order to withstand the outdoors for many years, cells are sandwiched between protective materials in a combination of glass and/or plastics.
To boost the power output of PV cells, they are connected together in chains to form larger units known as modules or panels. Modules can be used individually, or several can be connected to form arrays. One or more arrays is then connected to the electrical grid as part of a complete PV system. Because of this modular structure, PV systems can be built to meet almost any electric power need, small or large.
PV modules and arrays are just one part of a PV system. Systems also include mounting structures that point panels toward the sun, along with the components that take the direct-current electricity produced by modules and convert it to the alternating-current electricity used to power all of the appliances in your home.
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How Does Solar Energy Convert Heat Energy Into Electrical Energy
Solar energy is classified into two types based on the way in which solar energy is utilized
1. Active Solar Energy
2. Passive Solar Energy
The passive solar energy is used directly from the Sun for various applications without using any intermediate devices or converters. Example: Solar heating and cooling
Active solar energy reduces a buildings fossil fuel energy requirements for loads operation. The solar energy from the sun is converted into electricity by using an intermediate circuit .
Solar energy can be converted to electricity in two ways:
- Solar Power Plants indirectly generate electricity when the heat from solar thermal collectors is used to heat a fluid which produces steam that is used to power generator.
So How Do Solar Panels Work
Now that weve learned how sunlight is converted into electricity, how do we actually make use of it? A solar panel is made up of groups of solar cells . If you take a walk around your neighborhood, you will probably see solar panels on the roofs of homes and businesses nearby. The panels must be carefully positioned to get the maximum amount of sun exposure in order to convert the most energy possible. In the US , youll find most solar panels facing south. When the sun is at its highest point in the sky, the sun shines from the south side. Once the sun hits the panels, the energy is made into electricity. A solar inverter helps turn the electricity into power that can be used. The more panels you have on a roof, the more solar electricity you produce! The average home or business can have 50-75% of the power they use come from solar energy!
Solar energy is a part of our everyday lives. Now with the help of solar panels and companies that help home owners and businesses go solar, we can take the energy that has been given to us and use the sun to its full potential- one panel and one building at a time!
Article Written By: Kendra W. ~ Marketing Team Member, Rayah Solar
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Ivcsolar Chemical Heat Pipes
A solar chemical heat pipe refers to the solar energy conversion concept depicted in Fig. 9. High-temperature solar process heat is used for driving an endothermic reversible reaction in a solar chemical reactor. The products can be stored long term and transported long range to the customer site where the energy is needed. At that site, the exothermic reverse reaction is effected, yielding process heat in an amount equal to the stored solar energy ÎHAâB. This high-temperature heat may be applied, for example, to generate electricity using a Rankine cycle. The chemical products for the reverse reaction are the original chemicals they are returned to the solar reactor and the process is repeated. Two reverse reactions that have been extensively investigated for application in chemical heat pipes are CH4 reformingâmethanation and NH3 dissociationâsynthesis.
FIGURE 9. Solar chemical heat pipe for the storage and transportation of solar energy. High-temperature solar process heat is used to drive the endothermic reversible reaction A â B. The product B may be long-term stored and long-range transported to the site where the energy is needed. At that site, the exothermic reverse reaction B â A is effected and yields high-temperature process heat in an amount equal to the stored solar energy ÎHA â B. The chemical product of the reverse reaction A is returned to the solar reactor for reuse.