Learn about the four different types of solar energies that help the world stay green
The recent years have seen the focus shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources for the production of energy. The main reason being renewable resources are available aplenty. In all of these, solar energy is emerging as the fastest growing renewable power source in the world. A powerful energy source, its environmental friendliness and economic viability make it a preferred option. With the sun here to stay, it is time to tap on its abundant resources.
The electromagnetic radiation of the sun is captured by solar technologies and turned into usable energy. Let’s take a look at the different types of solar energy.
Photovoltaic Solar Energy directly converts sunlight into electricity using the photoelectric effect; wherein certain materials absorb photons and release electrons, thereby generating an electric current. The photovoltaic cell (PV cell) used is very small and produces 1 or 2 watts of power. They are connected together in chains to form modules or panels. These modules can be used individually or can be connected to form arrays which can be further connected to electrical grids. Making them capable of meeting almost any size of electric power need.
The use of photovoltaic energy technology is more widespread particularly in consumer electronics like watches, calculators, etc., remote area power supplies and satellites.
Solar Thermal Energy is the thermal power (heat) produced by harvesting the solar energy. In this process, a thermodynamic fluid producing steam, drives a steam turbine to produce electricity. This heat can be utilized for water heating, space cooling and heating, industrial process heat or can be even transformed into electricity. Solar thermal energy is also used in crop drying to increase the shelf life of food and food products and while maintaining its nutritional value as well.
Concentrated Solar Energy uses mirrors or lenses to produce this type of energy. It generates electricity when the concentrated heat on a receiver drives a steam turbine which is connected to an electrical power generator. This type of energy can be used round the clock, even when there isn’t enough sunlight. There are 4 different types of concentrators which vary according to the way they track the sun and focus the light. Locations that are dry and at a high altitude have a higher potential for CSP projects.
Water Heating Solar Energy collects the thermal energy of the sun using a sun-facing collector. Water gets heated when this energy is passed on to a storage system surrounded by pipes containing working fluid. This form of energy is majorly used in residential applications and in some industrial applications.
There are several types of solar energy applications that can be implemented based on factors that include the usage, environment and other available resources. When you opt for solar energy, you lessen the dependency on traditional energy producing methods which directly helps reduces air and water pollution and lowers the impact on climate change. After all, solar energy is the way to go today!Want to know more? Follow us to join the community of Sun Lovers.