Solar Energy is the energy produced by the sun. Initially, it was expensive to install solar power technology because it was believed to be inefficient and unreliable. But with today’s recent findings, it has become the easiest method to harness clean, low cost, and environmentally friendly energy. People can harness the solar energy in 5 powerful ways.
- Photovoltaic Systems (or sometimes called, PV Systems) has cells that absorb the sun’s light and converts it directly into electricity. A group of photovoltaic systems is known by the name, solar panel. When the panels are exposed to sunlight, heat, and light is used to shake, the loosen electrons to create an electric current. This method of harnessing solar energy has 15 percent efficiency.
- Solar Water Technology has a rectangular chambers which collects the solar heat, flat-plate collectors are attached, these are multiple small tubes that circulates water or another kind of fluid. Electricity is made from the steam created from the heat of the sun. How does this work? Simple, the sun’s rays is concentrated by the mirrors or reflectors to heat the liquid. The heat from the liquid then boils the water to create steam. The steam then spins the turbine that is connected to a generator. From the generator the electricity is produced. The steam cools and condenses back to water, it is then recycled, reheated, and converted into steam again.
- Active systems use a pump to let the fluid circulate between the collector and the heating system. As the fluid circulates, the heat absorbed by the collector is transferred to the fluid. The hot fluid is stored in a tank and used to heat water.
- Passive systems are simpler, it uses gravity to directly heat the water without needing the assistance of pumps. As water flows through, it heats up and is stored in a tank ready to be used.
- Passive Solar Energy can be achieved by two different methods (direct method and indirect method). It collects the heat through the sun’s rays that passes through the south-facing windows of the building, and retains it within the thermal mass. The direct method design is the sunlight enters the house through south-facing windows and the sun’s rays should strike on masonry floors or walls, which absorbs and stores the solar heat. An indirect method has the thermal storage in between the south-facing windows and the living spaces, the Trombe walls are painted black and made from heat-absorbent materials.
- Solar Thermal Electricity is a system that generates electricity through the collection and concentration of sunlight to produce a high temperature heat. It can be concentrated to heat water and run turbines to generate a clean electricity. The sunlight can be concentrated through three main systems.
- Parabolic troughs system
- Solar power towers
- Solar dishes or engines
- Solar Heating and Cooling absorb the heat of the sunlight and transfer it to useful applications, the major solar thermal technologies used are unglazed solar collectors, transpired solar air collectors, flat-plate solar collectors, evacuated tube solar collectors, and concentrating solar systems.
This article was written in collaboration with Greenhive Eco