WHAT SOLAR ENERGY IS AND HOW IT IS USED

WHAT SOLAR ENERGY IS AND HOW IT IS USED

1 abril, 2019 Off By admin

In this post we will see WHAT IS THE SOLAR ENERGY AND HOW IT IS USED for the benefit of homes, this kind of way of generating electricity has become increasingly popular all over the world.

Private households are no longer just consumers of energy, but also producers thanks to the sun’s energy. But how does this system work? How is it possible that the light that comes from the sun is transformed into an energy that we can take advantage of?

WHAT SOLAR ENERGY IS AND HOW IT IS USED

WHAT SOLAR ENERGY IS AND HOW IT IS USED

To take advantage of this natural resource, the first thing that must be done is the installation of a photovoltaic plate. These solar panels are what will allow us to save on the electricity bill. Of course, you must always take into account the initial investment in the  photovoltaic installation.

To be able to take advantage of the sun’s energy, it is necessary to install these solar panels but also the network inverters. This device is used to pass the direct current (which is how the solar energy arrives) in alternating voltage to be able to use it in certain domestic appliances.

In addition, to take advantage of the sun’s energy we must have solar and photovoltaic batteries. These devices are a deposit where the energy obtained from the photovoltaic panels is stored. To prevent these batteries from overloading, they must carry a charge regulator.

How is the sun’s energy used in the home?

WHAT SOLAR ENERGY IS AND HOW IT IS USED

Private households are no longer just consumers of energy, but also producers thanks to the sun’s energy. But how does this system work? How is it possible that the light that comes from the sun is transformed into an energy that we can take advantage of?

To take advantage of this natural resource, the first thing that must be done is the installation of a photovoltaic plate. These solar panels are what will allow us to save on the electricity bill. Of course, you must always take into account the initial investment in the  photovoltaic installation.

To be able to take advantage of the sun’s energy, it is necessary to install these solar panels but also the network inverters. This device is used to pass the direct current (which is how the solar energy arrives) in alternating voltage to be able to use it in certain domestic appliances.

In addition, to take advantage of the sun’s energy we must have solar and photovoltaic batteries. These devices are a deposit where the energy obtained from the photovoltaic panels is stored. To prevent these batteries from overloading, they must carry a charge regulator.

Of course, electrical wiring is also necessary, where all the elements must be connected.

How does a photovoltaic installation work?

Once we have everything installed, the photovoltaic modules are responsible for transforming the solar radiation into electrical energy. That energy obtained goes to the charge regulator (if you have it) and then goes to the batteries (if you have them).

In the event that there is no regulator or batteries, it passes to the inverter where it becomes a direct voltage. From there it goes to the box of protections that every home possesses, to later be able to be used in any electrical element.

In the case that we have solar batteries, the alternating energy is stored until it is demanded by a user of the house.

Of course, electrical wiring is also necessary, where all the elements must be connected.

In the case that we have solar batteries, the alternating energy is stored until it is demanded by a user of the house.

The advantages of solar energy are:

  • • It is an inexhaustible energy source on a human scale and non-polluting.
  • • Through technologies that achieve their concentration, temperatures of up to 3,000 ºC can be reached, which in principle allow high-performance thermodynamic cycles to be started up.

The drawbacks of this energy source are:

  • • It can not be stored, so it has to be immediately transformed into another form of energy (heat, electricity, biomass or pumping water into the reservoirs).
  • • Its use requires having catchment systems that occupy large areas of land and some of its main components are very expensive.
  • • It is discontinuous and random because of the variability of insolation. It does not guarantee continuous energy supply, but it can be an important help to reduce the use of other polluting energies.

Therefore, the solar energy that reaches the Earth is free, but its transformation into useful energy is very expensive and, in many cases, it is in the experimentation phase.

The use of solar energy can be done in two ways: thermal and photovoltaic.

  1. Thermal path: transforms the energy from the Sun into heat energy. This transformation can occur at low, medium and high temperature. The transformation to low temperature is used, generally, for domestic heating, air conditioning of premises, heating of water in hospitals, swimming pools …. Flat collectors are used that lodge a circuit with a fluid that absorbs the solar radiation and transmits it in form of heat to the heating system. These systems take advantage of solar energy at temperatures that oscillate between 35 ºC and 90 ºC, being currently the main application of solar thermal energy in Spain.

In installations that work at medium temperature, between 90 ºC and 200 ºC, they use a set of concentration collectors in different ways:

  1. Cylindrical-parabolic: they collect solar energy and transmit it to a fluid (thermal oil) in the form of heat.
  2. Heliostats: generally formed by steerable mirrors so that the incident radiation is reflected at a fixed point. The applications of this type of facility are mainly industrial.

High-temperature installations are thermoelectric plants with temperatures above 400ºC. They are formed by a large surface of heliostats supported by supports that reflect the solar radiation and concentrate it in a small receiving point.

This receiver transmits solar radiation in the form of heat to a fluid (water, air, liquid metals) that circulates through a primary circuit. In a steam generator, this energy is transmitted to a second circuit, producing water vapor capable of driving a turbine-alternator group that produces electrical energy. The performance of these facilities is approximately 20%.

  1. Photovoltaic conversion: photovoltaic solar systems are formed by a set of solar or photovoltaic cells arranged in panels that directly transform solar energy into electrical energy.

Sunlight transports energy in the form of a flow of photons. When these photons affect certain types of materials and under certain conditions, they cause an electric current. This is what is known as the photovoltaic effect.

Solar or photovoltaic cells are small elements made of a doped semiconductor crystalline element, silicon-germanium (Si-Ge). When they impact on them, the photons produce a movement of electrons inside the cell and a difference of potential appears between their ends, which makes them a small electrical generator. The current cost of these cells is very high, their performance is low (10-15%) and their manufacturing is very polluting.

The development of these systems is linked to the technique of artificial satellites. In a first stage, due to the reliability of its operation, its low weight and its scarce maintenance needs, these systems were used to cover the energy needs of the satellites.

Technological development strives to improve the performance of these systems and reduce their cost to make them economically viable.

Solar energy: how is it generated?

Solar energy is the radiant energy that the sun emits. This energy consists of heat and light. The thermal energy can be used in summer and in good weather. The energy of light can always be generated. Also in winter, and even in our rainy and cloudy country. It is good to know for people who think that it is not profitable to generate solar energy in the Netherlands.

Generate solar energy yourself

There are several options to generate or convert solar energy to yourself. The most known and most used forms to generate or convert solar energy are:

  • By the use of solar collectors.
  • Installing solar panels

Generate solar energy with solar collectors.

Solar collectors convert the sun’s energy into heat. The operation is simple. A solar collector heats up when exposed to the sun for a long time. This heat will be used, for example, to heat tap water or a room. Most solar collectors are black, so they can absorb more energy. Solar collectors work particularly well in summer and in countries with lots of sunlight.

Generate solar energy with solar panels

WHAT SOLAR ENERGY IS AND HOW IT IS USED

When talking about generating solar energy, most people will immediately think of solar panels. Solar panels are used to convert the energy of sunlight into electricity.

Solar panels consist of a large number of solar cells, which in turn consist of two layers, one positive and one negative. Under the influence of light (not heat), an electric current begins to flow between these two layers. This current can be used or stored.

Solar cells are also called  photovoltaic cells  , after the Greek word for light, photos and the name of electric current, volts. The abbreviation for photovoltaic panels is photovoltaic panels. If you read something about solar panels or photovoltaic panels, in principle you always understand the same thing.

The benefits of solar energy

There are several advantages of a (partial) change to solar energy. For one person, the most important reason to buy solar panels is, for example, environmental benefits and sustainability, while others would like to depend less on the whims of energy companies. However, a large proportion of people place panels for a clear reason: they want to save money.

The main reasons to buy solar panels according to the Nature & Environment research:

 

  • Saving money
    In the long term, panels are a profitable investment that means you can save a lot of money.
  • Contributing to a better environment
    With panels, you reduce your CO2 emissions.
  • Less dependence on the energy provider
    Many people want to be less dependent on large energy companies (and their price increases!)
  • Reduced dependence on fossil fuels
    The  fuels  fossils are increasingly scarce and therefore more expensive
  • Sustainability
    Solar panels last between 30 and 40 years and, therefore, are a very sustainable investment.
  • Silent and low maintenance mode to generate energy
    Solar panels do not emit any noise and their maintenance is particularly low.
  • Benefit from government subsidy
    Many people buy solar panels because they want to benefit from a  local subsidy

The disadvantages of solar energy.

Solar energy not only offers benefits. There are also disadvantages, the most important being:

  • The costs  initial purchase and installation  For most people, the initial costs are the main reason for not  buying and installing  solar panels. For people who abstain from solar panels due to high purchase costs, it is good to know that it is also possible to rent panels. This way you are not stuck with the high startup costs.
  • Location
    Not all locations are equally suitable. For example, houses that are surrounded by many trees will produce less return than separate houses.
  • Solar energy can only be used during the day.
    It is possible to install a storage system, and in this way use the surplus energy generated during the day at night and at night.
  • The appearance of solar panels
    Some people find that the solar panels on their roof are ugly. However, Nature & Environment research shows that 56% of Dutch people believe that solar panels increase the value of a house. This can be a patch on the wound.

read more about how electricity can be used