Solar Electricity System
Article by Jeff LaPointe
In today’s era, Electricity is one of basic needs for surviving. We need electricity to listen music, for cooking, and for almost all other daily chores. This huge demand of electricity is covered by power plants and most of these plants are now running on fossil fuels. In the near future, these fossil fuels will deplete. Also, burning fossil fuels emits greenhouse gases and other unwanted by products. Solar energy is a strong alternative to burning fossil fuels for electricity. The sun is an unlimited source of energy. For the electricity we use in one year, the sun produces that amount of energy in only one hour. This fact is really interesting and describes a lot of possibilities in producing electrical energy from solar power. Just imagine a world or country with clean sources of energy: it would be solar-powered, smokeless, odorless, and environmentally friendly. Doing this also helps a lot in saving ozone layer and clean environment.
We can use both indirect and direct methods for harnessing the energy of the sun. Indirect methods use photovoltaic cells, also known as solar cells; these are made from thin slices of crystalline gallium arsenide, silicon, or other semiconductor materials to convert solar radiation into electricity. We connect large numbers of these cells into panels. The electricity that is generated by these photovoltaic cells is in form of DC but home appliances run on AC, so to avoid this problem this solar power equipment are supplied with battery and inverter. Battery is used to store produced electricity and inverter is used to convert DC into AC.
Utilizing indirect methods of harnessing solar energy, we use the concentration of solar radiation to focus the energy to heat or boil certain liquids like water, to power turbines and eventually produce electricity. One other common technology which is used in harnessing solar energy is a parabolic trough which consists of a linear parabolic reflector that concentrates solar energy into a receiver positioned on the focal line of the receiver.
There is a big problem in harnessing solar energy in that it is available in only day time not in night time or the rainy/cloudy seasons. Also, the energy generated by photovoltaic cells has very low efficiency.
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