Solar Energy

Solar Energy

Solar Energy is a renewable source of energy. The most abundant energy resource on Earth is Solar Energy. Sun is the ultimate source of energy.

What is solar Energy?

Solar energy is the most readily available source of energy from the Sun.
Those energies which we get from the sun is Solar Energy.

The nuclear fusion reaction occurring inside the sun releases enormous quantities of energy in the form of heat and light.

Solar energy does not belong to anybody and, therefore it is free. It is the most important non-conventional sources of energy because of that it is Non-polluting and helps in lessening the greenhouse effect.

Photovoltaic cells or Solar cell

The material used for the photovoltaic cell are monocrystalline silicon, polycrystalline silicon, amorphous silicon, cadmium telluride, gallium and copper indium selenide/sulfide.

When solar radiations fall on them, a potential difference is produced which causes in the flow of electrons, because of the flow of electron electricity is produced produce.

The photovoltaic cell is made of silicon and gallium
Photovoltaic cells

Several solar cells put together to form a solar panel

A simple p-n junction formed by a wafer of silicon with wires attached to the layers.
When sunlight falls on the wafer than the current is produced.

As of 2010, solar photovoltaics generates electricity in more than 100 countries. Germany is the current leader in solar energy production.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Solar Cell :
AdvantagesDisadvantages
Moderate net energy yieldNeed access to sun
Little or no direct emission of CO2 and other air pollutants.Need electricity storage system or back up
Easy to install, move around and expand as neededHigh costs for older systems but decreasing rapidly
Competitive cost for newer cellsSolar-cell power plants could disrupt desert ecosystem
Advantages and Disadvantages of Solar Cell

Solar energy is used for :

  • Domestic lighting
  • Street lighting
  • Village electrification
  • Water pumping
  • Solar devices
Traditionally, solar energy is used for :
  • Drying of clothes
  • Foodgrains
  • Preservation of food
  • Salt – seawater

Advantages and Disadvantages of Solar Energy

AdvantagesDisadvantages
Maintenance cost is lowNeed a large space
Renewable energy source Cost
Quick InstallationOthers take time
Work on cloudy daysLow efficiency
Fairly high net energyNeed access to sun
Diverse ApplicationsSolar Energy Storage is Expensive
Reduces Electricity BillsWeather Dependent
Advantages and Disadvantages of Solar Energy
Advantages :
  • Solar energy is free – it needs no fuel and produces no waste or pollution.
  • Solar power can be used to get electricity to a remote place.
  • Handy for low-power uses such as solar powered garden lights.
Disadvantages :
  • Doesn’t work at night. It can be unreliable unless you’re in a very sunny climate.
  • Very expensive to build solar power stations, although the cost is coming down as technology improves.

Solar Furnaces

Solar Furnaces use a huge array of mirrors to concentrate the Sun’s energy into a small space and produce very high temperatures.

Small plane mirrors are arranged in concave reflectors, produces up to 3000 oC temprature.
Solar Furnaces

Small plane mirrors are arranged in concave reflectors, produces up to 3000 oC temprature.

There’s one at Odeillo, in France, used for scientific experiments. It can achieve temperatures up to 3,000 degrees Celsius.

Solar furnaces are basically huge “solar cookers”.

Solar energy : Methods of Harnessing

Solar heat collectors :

Solar heat collectors can be passive or active.

Passive solar heating systems -absorbs and stores heat from the sun directly within a well-insulated structure. Walls and floors of concrete, adobe, brick, or stone, and water tanks.

Solar heat collectors can be passive or active.

An active solar heating system – captures energy from the sun by pumping a heat-absorbing fluid (such as water or an antifreeze solution) through special collectors, usually mounted on a roof or on special racks to face the sun.

Passive or Active Solar Heating
AdvantagesDisadvantages
Net energy is moderate(active) to high(passive)Need access to sun 60% of time during day light.
Very low emission of CO2 and other air pollutants Sun Can be Blocked by trees and other structure.
Very low land disturbanceHigh installation and maintenance costs for active systems
Moderate cost (passive)Need backup system for cloudy days.
Solar energy : Methods of Harnessing

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Vishnu Prabhakar

Hello readers !! I am Vishnu Prabhakar Currently pursuing B.tech(IT) from VIT University, Vellore. I have an interest in writing blogs, that I'm trying to explore.

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