The important reason to use solar energy is that, the solar energy has less impact on environment when compared other fossil fuel and non-renewable resources. The comparison between the solar energy and other non renewable energies are given below:
Solar vs Hydro energy
Solar energy is available everywhere in the world but there is a lack of hydro resources in some places. The components needed for hydro power generation is complicated whereas the components needed to generate solar power is easy to maintain.
Renewable energy is a natural energy that has an infinite supply. Renewable energy source capture the energy from on going natural processes, existing flows of energy, etc.
The list of renewable energy sources are Biomass, Hydro, Geothermal, Solar, Tidal, Wave, Wind, Wood, etc.
Types of renewable energy
There are six types of renewable energy. They are:
- Hydro power renewable energy: The greatest energy source is hydro power renewable energy. It is one of the most efficient electricity generating sources. Hydro power plants are of low cost to build and easy to maintain. Hydro power electricity is generated by passing water through a turbine.
- Wind renewable energy: Wind energy can be used in a reliable way, if the wind turbines are placed in the correct location. The disadvantages in wind turbines are it generate noise pollution and cause injurious to birds.
- Solar renewable energy: Solar renewable energy is also known as photovoltaic renewable energy which uses solar energy to generate electricity. Solar cell convert’s solar energy into electricity.
- Geo thermal renewable renewable energy: The process of trapping heat underground and building the energy near the surface of Earth in the form of heat. This heat generate hot water or steam which is used to turn steam turbine in order to generate electricity.
- Biomass renewable energy: Biomass renewable energy uses plant matter such as dead wood from forests to generate electricity. Poplar, willow and heap are some of the biomass crops.
- Biofuel renewable energy: Biofuel renewable energy is derived from burning plants and animal substance. This process is known as combustion. It is similar to biomass renewable energy.
A solar cooker is a device which uses the energy from sun to heat or cook the food. The solar cooker is also known as Solar oven. The principles used in solar cooker are concentrating sunlight, converting light to heat, trapping heat and greenhouse effect.
Concentrating sunlight: A polished glass or metal is used to concentrate the light and heat from the sun on cooking area, in order to increase the heating power.
Converting light to heat: A solar cooker contains low reflective surface in order to convert the sunlight into heat, which in turn improves effectiveness of the cooker.
Solar vehicle is powered completely by direct solar energy. Solar panel present in the vehicle contains solar cells which will convert solar energy into electric energy. Solar energy is used to power all or some parts of a vehicle’s propulsion. Solar vehicles are not used as day-to-day transportation device. Indirectly solar-charged vehicles are distributed and solar boats are available commercially.
Solar cars contains Photovoltaic(PV) cells which converts sunlight into electricity for the propulsion of electric motors. The technologies used in aerospace, bicycle and automotive industries are combined together and used in solar cars. Solar cars are mainly built for solar car races. The World Solar Challenge and the North American Solar Challenge are the two famous solar car races.
Solar street lighting system is a system for illumination of streets, squares and cross roads. The solar energy is converted into electricity with the help of solar panels. The converted energy is stored in the battery and used for street lighting during night time.
Solar street light system has five major components. They are:
There are three types of solar panels available. They are: Mono crystalline solar panels, Poly crystalline solar panels and Amorphous solar panel.
Mono crystalline solar panels
Solar panels made of single-crystalline silicon is known as mono crystalline solar panels. This type of solar panel is also known as single silicon solar panel. Mono crystalline solar panels are made out of silicon bar which is cylindrical in shape. The four sides of the silicon bar is cut to make solar wafers in order to optimize performance and lower cost of a single crystalline solar panel.
The usage of solar power system reduce the electricity bills and installation of the solar panel is more efficient and affordable. There are three criteria to be considered during installation of the solar panel. They are exposure to the sun, roof size and roof sloop.
Exposure to sunlight:
Solar panel must be installed in a north facing roof, this is because the exposure of sunlight throughout the day is more in north facing roof. Even the solar panels can be installed in east or west facing roof’s, but it is not much efficient like north facing roof. Installation in south facing roof is not efficient and not recommended. The panels must be completely exposed to sunlight between 9a.m and 3p.m even in the middle of winter. Letting shades of the trees and neighbouring buildings fall on the solar panel will reduce the efficiency to convert sunlight into electricity.
The use of solar energy has been drastically increased over the past few years. As oil price rises, people are looking for alternative energy sources in order to save money. Currently, solar energy is used in homes for many purpose. Here are some of the application of solar energy in everyday lives of people.
Solar power ventilation
The energy from sun is also used to operate fans for ventilation in homes. The cost of electricity will be reduced if you use solar energy to run ventilation fans even throughout the day. These fans will allow you to keep air clean and clear.
Solar energy storage is an important issue because solar is available only during day time. In order to provide the continuous availability of energy throughout the year, you must store the energy. Solar energy is a periodical energy source which means that the output must be taken when it is available. The stored energy is either used when it is needed or even transported to the places where it is required. Solar energy is more in summer than in winter. Solar power is seasonal, particularly in northern/southern climates, away from the equator, suggesting a need for long term solar energy storage method.
Energy storage method using salts
Molten salts are used to store the solar energy at high temperature.
Since salts are low-cost, have a high specific heat capacity and can deliver heat at temperatures compatible with conventional power systems they are used
as an effective storage medium. This method of energy storage is allowing to store 1.44TJ in its 68m3 storage tank, enough to provide full output for close to 39 hours with an annual storage efficiency of about 99%.
Using pumped-storage hydroelectricity
Pumped-storage hydroelectricity is a type of solar energy storage. In this method, the energy is stored in the form of water, it is pumped when excess electricity is available, from a lower elevation reservoir to a higher elevation one. The energy is recovered when demand is high by releasing the water: the pump becomes a turbine, and hydroelectric power is generated by the motor.
Artificial photosynthesis refers to the use of nanotechnology to store the solar energy in chemical bonds, by splitting water to produce hydrogen fuel or combining with carbon dioxide to make bio polymers such as methanol. Many research projects on artificial photosynthesis are trying to operate under a variety of atmospheric conditions.