To understand solar thin-film we need to understand: What exactly is solar power ?
Solar energy is radiant energy that’s produced by the sun. The sun radiates more energy in a single second than people have used since the beginning of time!
The energy of the Sun comes from within the sun itself. Like other stars, the sun is really a big ball of gases––mostly hydrogen and helium atoms.
The hydrogen atoms in the sun’s core combine to create helium and generate energy in a process called nuclear fusion.
During nuclear fusion, the sun’s extremely high pressure and temperature cause hydrogen atoms to come apart and their nuclei (the central cores of the atoms) to fuse or combine. Four hydrogen nuclei fuse to become one helium atom. But the helium atom contains less mass compared to four hydrogen atoms that fused. Some matter is lost during nuclear fusion. The lost matter is emitted into space as radiant energy.
Simply a small part of the energy radiated by the sun into space strikes our planet, one part in two billion. Yet this amount of energy is enormous. Every day enough energy strikes the usa to supply the nation’s energy needs for one and a half years!
Where does all this energy go? (If you want it to go to your house…click here for solar thin film estimates)
About 15 percent of the sun’s energy that hits the planet earth is reflected back into space. Another 30 percent is used to evaporate water, which, lifted into the atmosphere, produces rainfall. Solar energy is also absorbed by plants, the land, and the oceans. The remaining could be used to supply our energy needs.
How we use solar energy and solar thin film today ?
Solar energy can be used in a number of different ways, of course. There are two simple kinds of solar power:
* Solar thermal energy collects the sun’s warmth through 1 of 2 means: in water or in an anti-freeze (glycol) mixture.
* Solar photovoltaic energy converts the sun’s radiation to usable electricity.
Listed below are the five most practical and popular solutions solar power can be used:
1. Small portable solar photovoltaic systems. We see these used everywhere, from calculators to solar garden products. Portable units may be used for everything from RV appliances while single panel systems are used for traffic signs and remote monitoring stations.
2. Solar pool heating. Running water in direct circulation systems through a solar collector is an extremely practical method to heat water for your pool or hot spa.
3. Thermal glycol energy to heat water. In this method (indirect circulation), glycol is heated by sunshine and the heat is then transferred to water in a warm water tank. Using this method of collecting the sun’s energy is a lot more practical now than ever. In areas as far north as Edmonton, Alberta, solar thermal to heat water is economically sound. It can pay for itself in three years or less.
4. Integrating solar photovoltaic energy into your home or office power. In numerous parts on the planet, solar photovoltaics is an economically feasible method to supplement the power of your property. In Japan, photovoltaics are competitive with other forms of power. In the USA, new incentive programs make this form of solar technology ever more viable in many states. An increasingly popular and practical way of integrating solar energy into the power of your home or business is through the usage of building integrated solar photovoltaics.
5. Large independent photovoltaic systems. For those who have enough sun power at your site, you could possibly go off grid. It’s also possible to integrate or hybridize your solar power system with wind power or other kinds of sustainable energy to stay ‘off the grid.’
How do Photovoltaic panels work ?
Silicon is mounted beneath non-reflective glass to create photovoltaic panels. These panels collect photons from the sun, converting them into DC electrical power. The power created then flows into an inverter. The inverter transforms the energy into basic voltage and AC electrical power.
Solar cells are prepared with particular materials called semiconductors such as silicon, which is presently the most generally used. When light hits the Photovoltaic cell, a specific share of it is absorbed inside the semiconductor material. This means that the energy of the absorbed light is given to the semiconductor.
The power unfastens the electrons, permitting them to run freely. Solar power cells also have one or more electric fields that act to compel electrons unfastened by light absorption to flow in a specific direction. This flow of electrons is a current, and by introducing metal links on the top and bottom of the -Photovoltaic cell, the current can be drawn to use it externally.
Solar Pro Arguments
- Heating our homes with oil or gas or using electricity from power plants running with oil and coal is a cause of climate change and climate disruption. Solar energy, on the contrary, is clean and environmentally-friendly.
- Solar hot-water heaters require little maintenance, and their initial investment can be recovered in just a relatively limited time.
- Solar hot-water heaters can work in nearly every climate, even in very cold ones. Simply choose the best system for your climate: drainback, thermosyphon, batch-ICS, etc.
- Financial incentives (USA, Canada, European states…) can help to eliminate the price of the first investment in solar technologies. The U.S. government, as an example, offers tax credits for solar systems certified by by the SRCC (Solar Rating and Certification Corporation), which amount to 30 percent of the investment (2009-2016 period).
Solar Cons Arguments
- The first investment in Solar Hot water heaters or in Solar PV Electric Systems is higher than that required by conventional electric and gas heaters systems.
- The payback period of solar PV-electric systems is high, as well as those of solar space heating or solar cooling (only the solar warm water heating payback is short or relatively short).
- Solar water heating do not support a direct combination with radiators (including baseboard ones).
- The efficiency of solar powered systems is rather influenced by sunlight resources. It’s in colder climates, where heating or electricity needs are higher, that the efficiency is smaller.
The author – Barbara Young writes on solar RV panels in her personal hobby site 12voltsolarpanels.net. Her work is focused entirely on helping people save energy using solar powered energy to reduce CO2 emissions and energy dependency.