Panels photovoltaic solar energy

Installation of thermal solar energy

Solar power plant

Electric Generator

Electric Generator

An electric generator is a device designed to produce electricity from a different form of energy.

The different forms of energy, which are transformed into electricity, are usually mechanical energy, chemical energy, photovoltaic energy or directly thermal energy.

Depending on their characteristics, there are several types of electric generators. The analysis of these generators is not limited only to the generators used in photovoltaic solar energy, but we will make a brief review of all types of electric generators.

Photovoltaic generators

Photovoltaic generators use photovoltaic solar panels to generate electricity. Each solar panel is composed of an array of photovoltaic cells. The photovoltaic cells are responsible for generating electricity thanks to the photovoltaic effect.

Photovoltaic panels are capable of converting light directly into electricity.

Use is (as is obvious) more convenient in areas with good light radiation.

Electric Induction Generators

These electric induction generators are based on the induction of electric current in a circuit due to Faraday's law and are the most important in terms of electricity production.

This category includes mainly the dynamo, for the production of direct current, and the alternator, capable of generating alternating current.

Electrochemical Generators

When the flow of electrons is produced by an oxidation-reduction reaction, there is an electrochemical generator. The most common are batteries and fuel cells.

Radioisotope Generators

Generation in the radioisotope thermoelectric generator is based on the decomposition of radioactive isotopes; radioactive decomposition produces emission of particles and heat. The production of electricity can be obtained directly from the displacement of electrically charged particles, or indirectly from the heat produced by caries.

Differential thermal generators

The production of electricity is obtained from a temperature difference for the Seebeck effect, the system can exploit, although with modest yields, any thermal gradient.

Piezoelectricity Generators

Piezoelectric generators exploit the property of particular crystals to produce a potential difference if they are subjected to compression. The phenomenon is exploited in some types of kitchen lighters, but its use has been studied to generate electricity in general, derived from pressure thrusts.

Ideal electric generation

In the theoretical study of electrical phenomena and circuits, generators are generally considered ideal. An ideal generator can produce any voltage and current without limit and has no internal resistance. The value of current or voltage generated is independent of the applied load.

Actually, there are no ideal generators, since any device has its intrinsic internal resistance, it is also capable of generating voltage and current only within certain limits.

An actual voltage generator can be represented as an ideal voltage generator with serialized internal resistance, while the actual current generator can be represented as an ideal current generator with parallel internal resistance.

In theory, if a circuit comprising an ideal current generator is opened, the output voltage should rise to infinity. However, in the real generators there is a voltage limit value above which the current drops to zero. From the theoretical point of view, in the theoretical representation of the real generator, the current output of the ideal generator closes on the internal resistance.

Generation in current or voltage

The electrical generation can be carried out in such a way as to establish the electrical voltage (potential difference at the ends of the conductors) or the electric current (current in the conductor). So, conceptually, there are two types of electric generators:

  • Voltage generator
  • Current generator

The voltage generator produces a defined and constant voltage (or otherwise a predetermined trend as a function of time). The variation of the load applied implies a variation of the current leaving the generator in accordance with the provisions of Ohm's law. On the other hand, the current generator maintains an electric current, and when the load varies, the voltage leaving the generator varies so that, due to Ohm's law, the current remains at the correct value.

Other types of generators

The technologies capable of generating energy are many, but in general the energy produced is lower and the cost of energy produced by different systems is higher than what can be obtained from electrodynamic generators, which is why applications of Other types of technologies are limited. This type of generators are only for some niche sectors.

Climate Change
Climate change

The term climate change refers to the variations of the Earth's climate of one or more years. For this, multiple environmental and climatic parameters are taken into account in their average values.

February 18, 2020

What Is The War Of The Currents?
War of the currents in the USA

The war of the currents is a term for the fight between the manufacturers of the two different feeding systems, alternating current and direct current in the United States.

April 18, 2020

Stirling Engine
Stirling Engine

The Stirling Engine was invented as an alternative to the steam engine. Its operation is based on the expansion and contraction of a gas using a heat source.

March 20, 2018

What Is Kinetic Energy?
What is kinetic energy?

Kinetic energy is a form of energy that a body has in motion due to the inertia of mass. The kinetic energy is directly proportional to the mass and the square of the velocity.

May 8, 2019

What Does Photovoltaic Mean?
What is photovoltaic?

Photovoltaic is everything related to the conversion of light to electrical energy. For example, a photovoltaic panel, the photovoltaic effect the photovoltaic cell or the photovoltaic energy.

February 19, 2019

Steam Turbine
Steam Turbine

A steam turbine is a device that is used to convert the high pressure of the steam into the rotation of an axis that provides power output.

April 26, 2019

What Is The Thermal Sensation?
Thermal sensation

Thermal sensation is a measure of the sensation of cold or heat that humans perceive in the air as a function of wind, the Sun or humidity.

March 16, 2020


The electrolyte, in the case of batteries used in photovoltaic systems, is a diluted solution of sulfuric acid in which the different processes that allow the charging and discharging of the battery are verified.

February 26, 2018

What Is A Photon?
What is a photon?

Each of the particles that make up the light. A photon is the quantum of energy in the form of electromagnetic radiation, emitted or absorbed by matter.

May 1, 2020

Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions About Solar Energy

Frequently asked questions and answers about domestic solar installations. Photovoltaic and thermal, amortization, maintenance ...

October 5, 2018


Published: May 13, 2015
Last review: February 22, 2018