We are in the 21st century. The major power sources that we have today are enough to fulfill our needs today but in the coming future, our demand for the energy will increase and so the need of power. It is expected that in the coming future we may lose our major sources of energy that are electricity, coal, petrol, gas, etc. so, the scientist and explorers are working hard to find a way in which energy can be restored. They are also working on discovering new sources of power and thus we can expect to have new ways of finding energy in the near future.
One of the energy sources discovered by the life savers, or the so called scientists is “Solar Energy”. Now you might be thinking what solar energy actually is. Be patient. I am going to explain everything about solar energy and the ways of finding it below.
Solar power, as the name suggests, is the power or energy that we can get directly from sunlight. Sunlight is, undoubtedly, the continuous source of energy which we can get till the end of the universe. So, the scientist thought a way to reuse this energy in such a way so that it can fulfill our needs besides providing heat. And so, they discovered the so called “Solar Power”, an everlasting energy source. If you’re interested in solar battery chargers for many of your gadgets and even RV car – check information here.
MECHANISMS OF SOLAR CONVERSION AND SAVINGS:
Solar energy can be converted into other power like electricity using the following two mechanisms:
- Using photovoltaics (PV)
- Concentrated solar power (CSP)
Each one of these mechanisms is described in detail below.
This mechanism uses photovoltaic cells to convert sunlight into electrical energy. Usually a number of solar panels are connected in series to consume solar power directly from the sunlight. As a result, the electrons in semi-conducting material are excited resulting in the generation of electric current. The semi-conducting material used is usually silicon.
Usually a lot of PVs are connected together to create a PV panel. PVs generally produce electricity depending on the intensity of sunlight falling on the panels. It will produce comparatively less electricity in cloudy days and so, some sort of mechanism should be applied to get energy from them during such weather.
Some batteries or power generators are connected with the photovoltaics to store generated energy for consumption at night or when sunlight is not available i.e. in cloudy or rainy weather.
PVs are mostly used for small electricity consumptions and are not used for commercial use as it is not totally reliable because of the unavailability of sunlight in rainy or cloudy weather and at night as well. Several uses of PVs are:
- House hold generators
- Road signs
- Weather stations
- Parking signals, etc.
PVs generally cost much less than CSPs as it do not use any fuel or fluid like in CSP. The modules used in PVs usually lasts up to 40 to 50 years. Moreover, maintenance is also not as much required. The only cost involved with it is the set up cost. So it is quite affordable as compared to CSPs.
CONCENTRATED SOLAR POWER (CSP):
CSP systems use mirrors to focus a beam of sunlight into a smaller portion to produce heat energy that in turn is used to drive engines or steam turbines that produces electricity. Generally, some kind of fluid like water is heated to run turbines. Concentrated sunlight is used for heating purpose.
TECHNOLOGIES USED FOR CSP:
Following are some of the recent technologies that are used for concentrated solar power generation:
- Parabolic trough
- Compact linear Fresnel refractor
- Power tower
CSPs are inexpensive source of energy that can find its usage in a number of fields like:
- Commercial use
- Industrial use
- Agricultural use
CSPs are quite expensive as compared to PVs and cannot be used for house hold purposes because of its high cost. It requires millions of dollars for installation and involves a lot of modules along with the panels that increases its cost as well. It usually lasts for a longer period of time but regular maintenance is required to keep the system perfectly well for working.