Sun produces radiation which generates radiation, electricity and also causing chemical reactions. If we can use solar energy to the extreme it can satisfy all the needs of energy in future. Solar energy is renewable energy as its source is inexhaustible and it has also non-polluting characters. Solar Energy will be the direct replacement to the finite fossil fuels such as coals, petroleum and natural gas. Sun is an extremely powerful source of energy and sunlight is the largest source of energy which the earth receives. Solar Energy is free but the collection, conversion and storage of solar energy are costly so it can’t be affordable for all. It’s the only limitation of solar energy.
Solar energy can be converted into thermal energy or electrical energy. There are flat-plate collectors which capture the solar energy and convert it into thermal energy. Flat-plate collectors are useful for solar heating applications. The intensity of solar radiation on the earth is low because earth atmospheres and clouds either absorb or scatter half of the radiation. As the intensity of solar radiation is low so the area of flat-plate collectors should be high enough so that it can capture enough radiation to produce thermal energy.
Flat-plate collectors are consists of black material and sheet of glass. These sheets are heated by sunlight falling on it directly. This heat is transferred to air or water that flow past back of the plate. Now the collected heat can be used directly or it can be stored in another medium. Flat-plate collectors are mainly useful in house heating.
There is another method of collecting thermal energy. Solar radiation can be converted into thermal energy in solar ponds. In solar ponds, the bodies of saltwater are designed to capture and collect solar energy. The energy produced by solar ponds uses in the production of chemicals, industrial products. This heat can warm greenhouse, swimming pools. Solar ovens are products which cook food by using solar energy.
There are specially designed solar cells or photovoltaic cells which can produce directly electrical energy. In photovoltaic cells when light strikes the junction between a metal and silicon semiconductor electric voltage generates. A single photovoltaic cell can produce 2watts power. We can produce thousands of watts of power by connecting these photovoltaic cells. In big solar panels, there is a huge number of photovoltaic cells that are connected together. There is limitation also as the solar radiation is low in earth surface so even to produce a small amount of electricity huge cost incurs.
These types of cells are used in watches, calculators as the power source. Large solar panels are used in communication centres and in satellites. The large solar panel even provides power to water pumps. Thin-film solar cells can be installed in the rooftop to eliminate the electric charges.
Application of Solar Energy:
There are various applications of solar energy. We can use solar energy to produce salt from seawater by evaporation. Some European countries use solar energy to produce salt from seawater by using solar energy. Solar power desalination can transform seawater into drinking water. Solar energy technology also uses for cleaning and renewable hydrogen production. We can recreate the photosynthesis process to break water into hydrogen and water. Silicon-based artificial leaves are in use to recreate the photosynthesis process. This process results in zero pollution but it needs modification so that it costs less for industrial uses.
FAQs about Solar Energy
Q.1 Describe the solar PV system.
Answer: Solar PV system is a machine which produces electricity from sunlight. PV system consists of photovoltaic cells. A single photovoltaic cell can produce 2 watts power. In PV system thousands of photovoltaic cells are connected together to produce a huge amount of electricity.
Q.2 Can a solar panel produce the same amount of electricity all year long?
Answer: No. A solar panel can’t produce the same amount of electricity all year long because the angle and light of the sun will vary with the seasons. In the winter season, the angle of sunlight is low hence the panel will capture less sunlight. In the summer season, the angle of sunlight is high hence the panel will capture more sunlight and produce more electricity.
Q.3 Describe net metering.
Answer: Net metering is a system by which can count the amount of power generated by the solar panel.