Use of solar energy
By thermal conversion at high temperature (photothermal system):
It consists of transforming solar energy into thermal energy stored in a fluid. To heat the liquid, devices called collectors are used.
By photovoltaic conversion (photovoltaic system):
Photovoltaic conversion consists of the direct transformation of light energy into electrical energy. For this, solar panels are used consisting of photovoltaic cells (silicon or germanium).
Photovoltaic solar cells convert sunlight directly into electricity through the so-called photoelectric effect, by which certain materials are capable of absorbing photons (light particles) and releasing electrons, generating an electrical current.
On the other hand, solar thermal collectors use panels or mirrors to absorb and concentrate solar heat, transfer it to a fluid and guide it through pipes for use in buildings and facilities or for the production of electricity (solar thermal energy).
What are the benefits of solar energy?
Solar energy has many benefits that make it one of the most promising. Renewable, non-polluting and available worldwide, it contributes to sustainable development and job creation in the areas where it is applied.
Likewise, the simplicity of this technology makes it ideal for use in isolated points of the network, rural areas or areas with difficult access, such as the rural area of Cajamarca in Peru. Solar energy is also useful for generating electricity on a large scale and injecting it into grids, especially in geographic areas where the climate provides abundant hours of sunshine per year.
Solar collector modules require relatively simple maintenance which, together with the progressive and accelerated decrease in the cost of photovoltaic cells, explains the favorable prospects currently available for solar technology. In addition, solar plants do not emit polluting gases and are extremely quiet.
Another beneficial aspect of the energy that comes from the sun is its status as a generator of local wealth, since its implementation in one country reduces energy dependence on other countries. Although it is true that solar energy, like the wind, is intermittent, that is, it depends directly on the weather or on the cycles of day and night, the rapid progress experienced by electrical storage technologies will increasingly minimize this. circumstance and the participation of this type of energy in the energy system will increase.
In summary, the following benefits of solar energy can be mentioned:
- Avoid global warming
- Reduce the use of fossil fuels
- Reduce energy imports
- Generate wealth and local employment
- Contribute to sustainable development
- It is modular and very versatile, adaptable to different situations
- It allows applications for large-scale power generation and also for small isolated network cores.
How do you get energy from the sun?
There are two ways to harness the energy provided by the sun:
- It provides heat, exploited by mirrors so that the sun’s rays are focused on a receiver that reaches temperatures of up to 1,000 ̊C. The heat is used to heat a fluid that generates steam. The steam eventually drives a turbine and produces electricity.
- It provides light that is converted into electricity through photovoltaic solar panels. Photovoltaic panels are made up of groups of cells or solar cells that transform light (photons) into electrical energy (electrons).
Importance of solar energy
In recent times, Clean Energies have been given greater importance, being these obtained through the use of renewable resources, generally from nature, to transform them into electricity that can be used at home or in any installation. of the electrical network of a particular building, institution or environment.
This is opposed to the use of thermoelectric plants, which generally generate the electricity that we use daily, obtained by burning fossil fuels, which release a large amount of thermal energy and, by operating different turbines, produce electrical energy that is subsequently transmitted to the electrical network, emitting through chimneys or vents a variable quantity of polluting gases. One of the sources of renewable energy is solar energy, also called photovoltaic solar energy, because the technology to be used is the installation of photovoltaic solar panels, plates of variable thickness that are responsible for capturing solar radiation and transforming it into a usable resource.
Another variation offered by this technology is solar thermal energy, which instead of capturing solar lighting, is responsible for collecting the thermal energy provided by this natural source, being one of the most used to heat water, used for easy installation in homes and sports institutions. In order to use this source of energy, it is necessary to have space for the installation of solar panels, generally with roofs or terraces, which also benefit from a better use of space, although there is also the location of the so-called solar parks, which consist of in large installations and are used to supply electricity to a large number of homes, as well as to supply entire cities.
Types of solar energy
Currently, there are basically three ways to harness solar energy.
- Passive solar energy.
- Photovoltaic Solar Energy.
- Thermal solar energy.
Passive solar energy is the oldest method of harnessing solar radiation. It is the method that ancient cultures already used as explained in the history of solar energy. This system consists of taking advantage of solar radiation without the use of any intermediate device or device, through the proper location, design and orientation of the buildings, correctly using the properties of the materials and their architectural elements: insulation, type of roof. , protections, etc … The application of bioclimatic architectural criteria can significantly reduce the need for air conditioning and illuminate them.
Photovoltaic solar energy takes advantage of the photovoltaic effect to generate an electrical current. The current generated by the solar panels is direct current, which is treated correctly (converting it into alternating current), it can be used to supply electricity in autonomous installations or it can be used to supply it (sell it) directly to the electricity grid.
Another very common and inexpensive way to use it is solar thermal energy. Its operation is based on the use of solar radiation to heat water through solar collectors. Solar collectors increase the temperature of the fluid by increasing its internal energy. In this way, it is easy to transport the thermal energy generated and use it where it is needed: it can be used to obtain hot water or to heat a house.