Solar Power Designing: Generate Energy From Sun...
Greenhouse gases trap the heat that reflects back up into the atmosphere. In this way, they act like the glass walls of a greenhouse. This greenhouse effect keeps the Earth warm enough to sustain life.PhotosynthesisAlmost all life on Earth relies on solar energy for food, either directly or indirectly.Producers rely directly on solar energy. They absorb sunlight and convert it into nutrients through a process called photosynthesis. Producers, also called autotrophs, include plants, algae, bacteria, and fungi. Autotrophs are the foundation of the food web.Consumers rely on producers for nutrients. Herbivores, carnivores, omnivores, and detritivores rely on solar energy indirectly. Herbivores eat plants and other producers. Carnivores and omnivores eat both producers and herbivores. Detritivores decompose plant and animal matter by consuming it.Fossil FuelsPhotosynthesis is also responsible for all of the fossil fuels on Earth. Scientists estimate that about 3 billion years ago, the first autotrophs evolved in aquatic settings. Sunlight allowed plant life to thrive and evolve. After the autotrophs died, they decomposed and shifted deeper into the Earth, sometimes thousands of meters. This process continued for millions of years.Under intense pressure and high temperatures, these remains became what we know as fossil fuels. Microorganisms became petroleum, natural gas, and coal.People have developed processes for extracting these fossil fuels and using them for energy. However, fossil fuels are a nonrenewable resource. They take millions of years to form.Harnessing Solar EnergySolar energy is a renewable resource, and many technologies can harvest it directly for use in homes, businesses, schools, and hospitals. Some solar energy technologies include photovoltaic cells and panels, concentrated solar energy, and solar architecture.There are different ways of capturing solar radiation and converting it into usable energy. The methods use either active solar energy or passive solar energy.Active solar technologies use electrical or mechanical devices to actively convert solar energy into another form of energy, most often heat or electricity. Passive solar technologies do not use any external devices. Instead, they take advantage of the local climate to heat structures during the winter, and reflect heat during the summer.PhotovoltaicsPhotovoltaics is a form of active solar technology that was discovered in 1839 by 19-year-old French physicist Alexandre-Edmond Becquerel. Becquerel discovered that when he placed silver-chloride in an acidic solution and exposed it to sunlight, the platinum electrodes attached to it generated an electric current. This process of generating electricity directly from solar radiation is called the photovoltaic effect, or photovoltaics.
Solar Power Designing: Generate Energy From Sun...
Solar DecathlonThe Solar Decathlon is a biannual international event presented by the U.S. Department of Energy. Teams compete to design, build, and operate the most attractive, effective, and energy-efficient solar-powered house. A team from the University of Maryland won the 2011 contest, and the next Solar Decathlon will be held in 2013.
More energy from the sun falls on the earth in one hour than is used by everyone in the world in one year. A variety of technologies convert sunlight to usable energy for buildings. The most commonly used solar technologies for homes and businesses are solar photovoltaics for electricity, passive solar design for space heating and cooling, and solar water heating.
Businesses and industry use solar technologies to diversify their energy sources, improve efficiency, and save money. Energy developers and utilities use solar photovoltaic and concentrating solar power technologies to produce electricity on a massive scale to power cities and small towns.
Solar energy is radiant light and heat from the Sun that is harnessed using a range of technologies such as solar power to generate electricity, solar thermal energy (including solar water heating), and solar architecture. It is an essential source of renewable energy, and its technologies are broadly characterized as either passive solar or active solar depending on how they capture and distribute solar energy or convert it into solar power. Active solar techniques include the use of photovoltaic systems, concentrated solar power, and solar water heating to harness the energy. Passive solar techniques include orienting a building to the Sun, selecting materials with favorable thermal mass or light-dispersing properties, and designing spaces that naturally circulate air.
Solar technologies are characterized as either passive or active depending on the way they capture, convert and distribute sunlight and enable solar energy to be harnessed at different levels around the world, mostly depending on the distance from the equator. Although solar energy refers primarily to the use of solar radiation for practical ends, all renewable energies, other than Geothermal power and Tidal power, derive their energy either directly or indirectly from the Sun.
Active solar techniques use photovoltaics, concentrated solar power, solar thermal collectors, pumps, and fans to convert sunlight into useful outputs. Passive solar techniques include selecting materials with favorable thermal properties, designing spaces that naturally circulate air, and referencing the position of a building to the Sun. Active solar technologies increase the supply of energy and are considered supply side technologies, while passive solar technologies reduce the need for alternate resources and are generally considered demand-side technologies.
In 1897, Frank Shuman, a US inventor, engineer and solar energy pioneer built a small demonstration solar engine that worked by reflecting solar energy onto square boxes filled with ether, which has a lower boiling point than water and were fitted internally with black pipes which in turn powered a steam engine. In 1908 Shuman formed the Sun Power Company with the intent of building larger solar power plants. He, along with his technical advisor A.S.E. Ackermann and British physicist Sir Charles Vernon Boys, developed an improved system using mirrors to reflect solar energy upon collector boxes, increasing heating capacity to the extent that water could now be used instead of ether. Shuman then constructed a full-scale steam engine powered by low-pressure water, enabling him to patent the entire solar engine system by 1912.
Solar concentrating technologies such as parabolic dish, trough and Scheffler reflectors can provide process heat for commercial and industrial applications. The first commercial system was the Solar Total Energy Project (STEP) in Shenandoah, Georgia, US where a field of 114 parabolic dishes provided 50% of the process heating, air conditioning and electrical requirements for a clothing factory. This grid-connected cogeneration system provided 400 kW of electricity plus thermal energy in the form of 401 kW steam and 468 kW chilled water, and had a one-hour peak load thermal storage. Evaporation ponds are shallow pools that concentrate dissolved solids through evaporation. The use of evaporation ponds to obtain salt from seawater is one of the oldest applications of solar energy. Modern uses include concentrating brine solutions used in leach mining and removing dissolved solids from waste streams.
Molten salt can be employed as a thermal energy storage method to retain thermal energy collected by a solar tower or solar trough of a concentrated solar power plant so that it can be used to generate electricity in bad weather or at night. It was demonstrated in the Solar Two project from 1995 to 1999. The system is predicted to have an annual efficiency of 99%, a reference to the energy retained by storing heat before turning it into electricity, versus converting heat directly into electricity. The molten salt mixtures vary. The most extended mixture contains sodium nitrate, potassium nitrate and calcium nitrate. It is non-flammable and non-toxic, and has already been used in the chemical and metals industries as a heat-transport fluid. Hence, experience with such systems exists in non-solar applications.
Several parabolic trough power plants in Spain and solar power tower developer SolarReserve use this thermal energy storage concept. The Solana Generating Station in the U.S. has six hours of storage by molten salt. In Chile, The Cerro Dominador power plant has a 110 MW solar-thermal tower, the heat is transferred to molten salts.The molten salts then transfer their heat in a heat exchanger to water, generating superheated steam, which feeds a turbine that transforms the kinetic energy of the steam into electric energy using the Rankine cycle. In this way, the Cerro Dominador plant is capable of generating around 110 MW of power.The plant has an advanced storage system enabling it to generate electricity for up to 17.5 hours without direct solar radiation, which allows it to provide a stable electricity supply without interruptions if required. The Project secured up to 950 GWh per year sale. Another project is the María Elena plant is a 400 MW thermo-solar complex in the northern Chilean region of Antofagasta employing molten salt technology.
Solar power is the conversion of energy from sunlight into electricity, either directly using photovoltaics (PV) or indirectly using concentrated solar power. Photovoltaic cells convert light into an electric current using the photovoltaic effect. Concentrated solar power systems use lenses or mirrors and solar tracking systems to focus a large area of sunlight to a hot spot, often to drive a steam turbine.
Photovoltaics were initially solely used as a source of electricity for small and medium-sized applications, from the calculator powered by a single solar cell to remote homes powered by an off-grid rooftop PV system. Commercial concentrated solar power plants were first developed in the 1980s. Since then, as the cost of solar electricity has fallen, grid-connected solar PV systems have grown more or less exponentially. Millions of installations and gigawatt-scale photovoltaic power stations continue to be built, with half of new generation capacity being solar in 2021. 041b061a72