Utilization Of Solar Energy can be an alternative way to obtain better environment and a definitely healthier, happier life
I don’t want to write scientific treatise about Solar Energy Utilization, because many, more experienced scientists and experts have already done it. As an electrical engineer, I’ve got the chance to obtain the necessary knowledge of how Solar Systems work, I’ve learned their physics, the principles of photovoltaic elements, and I’ve examined them from very closely.
The information I’d like to share with you will include some basic terms – with explanation – and suggestions, how-to-s. You may find practical applications and various ideas, hints, products in the appropriate section as well.
First of all, let’s make a short comparison between the renewable and traditional energy sources, than see some examples for the utilization of the power of the Sun.
Let’s examine the types of energy available today:
There are two different types of energy can be defined as: non-renewable and renewable energy.
1. Non-renewable energy sources
It is now considered as the traditional, non-renewable resources, such as fossil, and nuclear energy. At the moment, these are our primary energy sources. Their main feature is, that due to the continuous extraction, the available quantify of non-renewable energy sources decreases, and unfortunately, constantly. This fact is well-known, and we are aware of the fate of these kind of energy sources: we will run out of them sooner or later (in large quantity). Although, they can reproduce themselves, but this process would take a very long time, 1000s’ of years). Just think of the crude oil, or nuclear power plants.
- they are available almost immediately
- easy processing
- high energy density. This energy density means that using only relatively few of them might result large amount of energy obtained form them.
- their quantity is permanently decreasing due to the continuous extraction and production
- they pollute the environment during their application (usually dangerous and harmful to the environment)
- storage of the waste generated during the operation is difficult and becomes more and more unsolvable.
2. Renewable energy sources
If we want to compare the two categories, and examine the renewable energy sources, we can see, that – using the principle of sustainability – their (and our) future is not threatened by the depletion. These renewable energy sources are: wind (windmills), water (water plants), biomass, ocean energy recovery plants (wave-power), geothermal, solar energy. Once you have placed and installed a renewable energy source, it will generate you energy constantly.
- renewable feature
- lower maintaining costs
- no pollution
- less waste and easier waste-storage
- long life
- Lower energy density. Because this lower energy density, the utilization of renewable energy sources needs a different strategy. We might use them separately, but, if we want to gain significant energy during the utilization process, we should build, install and apply higher quantity of them. Generally, it is e.g. a solar energy cell farm, or wind mill farm, water plant.
- relatively higher product and/or installation costs.
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Who will be the winner?
In the next part, I’ll show you some examples for the effective application of solar energy, such as using it as a residential solar system.
First of all: What is Solar Energy?
As Wikipedia says: “Solar energy, radiant light and heat from the sun, is harnessed using a range of ever-evolving technologies such as solar heating, solar photovoltaics, solar thermal electricity, solar architecture and artificial photosynthesis.”
Our topic for today is Solar Energy for Heating, and for Generating Electricity.
1. Solar Energy for heating.
Principle: “Active solar heating systems use solar energy to heat a fluid — either liquid or air — and then transfer the solar heat directly to the interior space or to a storage system for later use. If the solar system cannot provide adequate space heating, an auxiliary or back-up system provides the additional heat. Liquid systems are more often used when storage is included, and are well suited for radiant heating systems, boilers with hot water radiators, and even absorption heat pumps and coolers. Both liquid and air systems can supplement forced air systems.” – as written by Energy.gov, http://energy.gov/energysaver/articles/active-solar-heating.
What kind of products would we need to install a Solar Heating System?
First of all, you would need a liquid solar collector. The most common is the Flat-plated, but you may find evacuated-cube, and concentrating collectors in the current market as well. Before planning, you have to decide where to place your solar collector, and how to integrate it to your existing heating system (if any, for instance if you are building a new house). Don’t forget to make calculations about the heater capacity of your heating system, because an inappropriate planning may affect the efficiency of your heating, and it can be economically disadvantageous.
2. Solar Energy for generating Electricity- home improvement and industrial utilization
Principle: A Solar Cell is the basic of a Photovoltaic System. The Solar Cell was discovered by Alexandre-Edmond Becquerel (24 March 1820 – 11 May 1891), French physicist.
“A solar cell (also called a photovoltaic cell) is an electrical device that converts the energy of light directly into electricity by the photovoltaic effect. It is a form of photoelectric cell (in that its electrical characteristics—e.g. current, voltage, or resistance—vary when light is incident upon it) which, when exposed to light, can generate and support an electric current without being attached to any external voltage source.” – Wikipedia.org, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_cell.
As I’ve mentioned above, we use Solar Cells for creating a larger structure called Photovoltaic System.
Watch this video – created by US. Department Of Energy – to understand it easier:
“A Photovoltaic system (informally, PV system) is an arrangement of components designed to supply usable electric power for a variety of purposes, using the Sun (or, less commonly, other light sources) as the power source.” – Wikipedia.org, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_photovoltaics
In this video, we could see and understand the operation principle of a small Photovoltaic System. These localized systems may generate sufficient electric energy to provide not only a small flat, but even an entire house with supplementary electricity. The amount of the generated electricity depends on the size of the designed Solar Unit, the orientation of the destination (to the Sun), and the amount of sunrise (hours/year).
If you are planning to generate more electricity utilizing solar energy, and provide even an entire town or district with it, you want to build a complete Solar Plant. In this case, you have to design the system for the “worst case”, and you have to care care of the existence of the necessary background services, supplementary materials. The best solution for all cases is to involve especially for this area specialized experts and engineers.
3. How can we utilize the electricity given by Solar Energy in our everyday’s life?
You might see many useful applications in our environment. Solar Energy can be utilized almost everywhere, where any kind of electricity used. See some examples below and you will know immediately how multipurpose the Solar Energy can be.
1. If we think only of the electric cars, there is a great need to establish (or expand the existing ones) special kind of Fuel Stations which are eligible to serve electricity for charging these vehicles. The electric cars may be equipped with stand-alone solar cells and accompanied devices for helping their operation as well.
2. Don’t forget about the consumer electronics. You might find solar powered pocket calculators, watches, navigation systems, garden lams and other useful devices in the repository. It can be very good idea to own a solar charger – with or without accumulators – to recharge your mobile, notebook during your long journey or camping.
The opportunities are really endless, your imagination is the only limit.
I hope I could help you with this short, concise summary how to utilize, and begin planning and designing your new solar system. You might find other useful, supplementary materials on my Ideas, Hints, Products page.
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