As of 2015, there are two types of solar energy collection in common use. The first type of solar power uses photovoltaic cells to create energy by collecting light from the sun. The second type of solar energy focuses the light from a large area onto one point to boil a liquid.Know More
Photovoltaic cells use specially treated semiconductor wafers that have positive and negative sides. The light hitting the wafer knocks electrons loose from the semiconductor. Conductors that have been hooked up to the cell transmit the electric current to an end point, such as a battery or a light. The amount of current produced by each cell depends on the amount of light that strikes the cell. These photovoltaic cells produce only a small amount of electricity, but they can be wired together to form modules. Modules can then be wired together to form arrays.
Concentrated solar energy involves the use of mirrors to gather sunlight and refocus the light from a wide area onto a small point. The focus point may be for each individual mirror or for the entire array. Both curved and flat mirrors are used in this application. The sunlight is focused to boil liquids, which turns a steam-powered turbine that produces electricity.Learn more in Sustainability
The chief limitations of solar energy include an inability to generate power at night, an inability to ramp up power production to meet demand, and the cost of solar panels. Transferring the electricity from areas where solar is more efficient to other areas of the planet is also a problem.Full Answer >
A solar chimney is a passive solar ventilation system that allows cool air into a building while pushing hot air out. During the day, solar energy heats the air within the chimney, causing an updraft. The suction created at the base of the chimney then ventilates the building.Full Answer >
According to the Solar Energy Industry Association, solar power can involve generating current directly from the action of ultraviolet radiation on treated silicon using the sun's heat to boil water and drive an electric turbine with steam. Small-scale solar power installations, such as those on a private residence, usually use photovoltaic cells. Industrial-scale solar power plants tend to use solar thermal technology to create power.Full Answer >
Solar power, or the conversion of the sun's energy into electricity, is sustainable and renewable. The conversion process is silent and emission free and, solar panels usually require little maintenance. However, the sun is an inconsistent fuel source, the movement of the sun affects the efficiency of fixed solar panels and solar power systems are normally expensive and bulky.Full Answer >