In general, both photovoltaic solar energy and, above all, solar thermal energy has a very good acceptance in society. However, it is convenient to know the advantages and disadvantages of solar energy to reinforce or contrast our opinion.
When we talk about energy sources, most people are positioned in favor or against a certain type (solar energy, nuclear energy, wind power, etc.). The arguments for positioning are varied: energy efficiency, pollution, safety, cost ... Therefore, we will try to analyze the advantages and disadvantages of solar energy in the most objective way possible.…
Wind energy is a source of energy that is becoming very popular in many countries of the world. The advantages associated with the use of wind energy (renewable energy, clean, respectful with the environment, etc.) are helping a lot to its growth and implementation in many countries.
However, the disadvantages of wind power are also notable and must be considered before investing in a wind power plant. Sometimes the contrast between advantages and disadvantages of solar energy or other sources of energy can vary from one place to another.
In this article we analyze the…
Solar energy allows to take advantage of the energy that comes from solar radiation. One way to take advantage of sunlight is to convert the radiation into electrical energy (photovoltaic solar energy) or thermal energy (solar thermal energy). Photovoltaic solar energy requires a chemical process to obtain a continuous current, while solar thermal energy only requires a thermodynamic process.
The characteristics of solar energy imply certain advantages with respect to other sources of energy. Mainly if the other sources of energy are non-renewable energies that come from fossil fuels.…
Geothermal energy is a renewable energy obtained from the heat stored inside the Earth. Thanks to the laws of thermodynamics, thermal energy is transferred from the interior of the Earth to a fluid. In this way, energy is transported in the form of internal energy.
Geothermal energy is basicaly based simply on taking advantage of the fact that the subsoil temperature is warmer than on the surface, in winter, and instead cooler, in summer. This is a consequence of the fact that the surface layers of the Earth are heated and cooled much more easily than the interior, which is maintained…
Renewable energy is energy that comes from virtually inexhaustible natural sources. They are considered inexhaustible either because of the large amount of energy they contain or because they can be regenerated naturally.
Among the main advantages of renewable energies we highlight the following:
Renewable energies are respectful with the environment and do not pollute. In this sense, they are safer and pose fewer health risks than other sources of non-renewable energy. The more energy generated by clean energies will need to generate fossil energy mes and decrease,…
Geothermal energy is a type of renewable energy. It is considered renewable energy because it does not consume resources and is practically inexhaustible.
Its principle of operation is based on the use of heat inside the Earth. One of the most used techniques to take advantage of the internal energy of the rocks is to build wells of about 150 meters through which a fluid circulates. The fluid falls with a low temperature, at the bottom through a thermodynamic process it is heated and goes up with the thermal energy acquired to the surface.
It is a new technology…
Hydropower is a source of renewable energy that uses water to generate energy. Normally, it uses the potential energy of water at a certain height to generate turbines and with them, electricity.
The mechanism of operation is to take advantage of the potential energy of water at a certain height, it is dropped to convert this energy into kinetic energy. With the kinetic energy of water a turbine that is connected to an electric generator is activated.
Generally, the installations responsible for hydroelectric production are hydroelectric power plants. Usually these facilities…
The generation of biofuels, a priori, represents several advantages with respect to obtaining fossil fuels used to obtain fossil energy. The main advantage is that the regeneration of resources is not millions of years as it happens with coal, oil or natural gas. Anyway, the regeneration of biofuels is not fast enough to be considered a renewable energy source either. They are considered, then, a non-renewable source of energy.
On the other hand, biofuels continue to be an indirect way of harnessing solar energy. In this case, solar energy is exploited thanks to the photosynthesis of…
Within the history of solar energy, in one form or another, solar energy has always been present in the life of the planet being this imprescidible for the development of life. However, the way in which human civilization has exploited it invented new strategies and tools has undergone a long evolution.
The Sun is indispensable for the existence of life on the planet: it is responsible for the water cycle, photosynthesis, etc. Already the first civilizations realized this and, as civilizations have evolved, they have also evolved techniques to harness their energy. At the beginning they…
A forced circulation for solar water heater is an installation in which the water circulates inside the circuit driven by a pump. With forced circulation system, the movement of water in the closed circuit is forced by a pump. This feature makes a big difference with respect to sanitary hot water installations with thermosyphon. In this way, it artificially moves the hot water not to the highest point of the closed circuit, but it does so from the solar collectors down to where the accumulator is located.
In many occasions it is not viable to install solar thermal equipment…
The solar thermal energy consists of the use of the energy coming from the Sun to transfer it to a medium that carries heat, generally water or air.
Among the different applications of solar thermal energy there is the possibility of generating electrical energy. The current technology allows heating water with solar radiation to produce steam and then obtain electrical energy.
Although the principle of operation is very similar there are two main applications of solar thermal energy:
- Use of solar thermal energy in homes and small installations…
A solar concentrator is a concentration system of solar energy that is used to convert solar energy into thermal energy. Its operation is based on the exploitation of the reflection of the solar rays obtained through reflective surfaces (substantially of mirrors), in order to concentrate on a receiver of contained size. Similar to a magnifying glass focusing its light on a point, the concentrators reflect sunlight by means of an arrangement of mirrors aligned towards a lens capable of capturing that energy for its use.
In general, heat is converted into mechanical energy by means of…
Solar collectors are the elements that capture solar radiation and convert it into thermal energy, into heat. It is a type of solar panel designed for use in solar thermal installations. It is also known as a solar collector.
The function of solar thermal energy is to take advantage of solar energy to obtain heat, to heat a fluid. Unlike photovoltaic solar energy whose function is to generate electricity.
Solar collectors are those with flat plates, evacuated tubes and absorber collectors without protection or isolation. The flat (or flat plate) collection…
Photovoltaic modules or solar panels are devices that are used to capture the energy of the sun's light. Photovoltaic solar panels contain a set of solar cells that convert light into electricity. It is called solar because the sun is one of the strongest energy sources for this type of use. Solar cells are sometimes called photovoltaic cells, and photovoltaics literally means "light-electricity". Solar cells have the photovoltaic effect to absorb the sun's energy and cause electrical current to flow between two charged layers in the opposite direction.
Currently, the costs associated…
Geothermal energy is that energy that can be obtained by man through the use of heat from the interior of the Earth. This type of energy has many applications. One of these applications is the generation of electric power.
The generation of electricity from geothermal energy is a good complement for hydroelectric plants, which also has the advantage that it is constant throughout the year. Geothermal plant
Geothermal power plants are the plants responsible for converting geothermal energy into electricity. A geothermal plant is a facility where electricity is generated…
Geothermal energy is a type of renewable energy on a human scale that is obtained from the heat of the interior of the Earth. Equestrian thermal energy can be obtained without the combustion of any material, it is therefore a form of clean energy without carbon dioxide emissions.
The temperature in the inner layers of the Earth remains constant during the different seasons of the year. Generally the inner layers are hotter than the surface in winter and cooler in summer. This is because the surface layers are heated and cooled more easily according to the laws of thermodynamics.…
Solar thermal energy is a way to harness the heat of solar energy from to get heat. Of the different techniques to convert solar radiation into thermal energy, in this section, we explain high-temperature solar thermal energy.
We refer to high-temperature solar thermal energy to those solar systems that use solar collectors that work at temperatures above 500ºC. In this type of installations, once the solar radiation has been transformed into heat energy, the next objective is to transform this heat into electrical energy.
The geothermal heat pump is an air conditioning system for buildings that exploits the heat exchange with the superficial subsoil, by means of a heat pump. Since the heat in the subsoil comes largely from the interior of the Earth, geothermal energy of low enthalpy is classified as a source of renewable energy, although the heat pump itself consumes electricity, generally produced from other sources of energy (for example, fossil fuels).
The heat pump allows the exchange of heat between a "source" at a lower temperature than the "well", or the point where the heat is introduced. In a…
Alternating current (AC) is a type of electrical current that is characterized by changing over time, either in intensity or direction, at regular intervals.
The voltage varies between the maximum and minimum values cyclically, the value of the voltage is positive half the time (positive half cycle or half positive period) and negative the other half. This means that half the time the current flows in one direction, the other half in the other direction. The most common form of undulation follows a sine-type trigonometric function, since it is the most efficient and practical…
The batteries in a photovoltaic solar energy system is to accumulate the energy produced by the photovoltaic panels during the hours of Sun to be able to use it at night or on cloudy days.
The use of batteries also allows to provide a higher current intensity than a functioning photovoltaic panel can offer. This would be the case if several electrical appliances were used at the same time.
A battery consists of small 2V accumulators integrated in the same element; Has direct current at 6, 12, 24 or 48V. The accumulator is the cell that stores energy through an electrochemical…
In the market there are several types of photovoltaic solar panels for domestic use. The most common types are monocrystalline photovoltaic panels, polycrystalline solar panels and thin-film solar panels.
Around 90% of the photovoltaic technology is based on the use of some silicon variation. In the case of solar panels intended for domestic use, this percentage is even higher.
The main difference between the different types of photovoltaic panels is the purity of the silicon used. The purer the silicon, the better aligned its molecules are, and the better it converts solar energy…
The term solar energy refers to the use of the energy that comes from the Sun. It is a type of renewable energy. The energy contained in the Sun is so abundant that it is considered inexhaustible. The Sun takes 5 billion years emitting solar radiation and it is estimated that it has not yet reached 50% of its existence.
Solar energy, in addition to being inexhaustible is abundant: the amount of energy that the Sun pours daily on…
Autonomous photovoltaic installations are those installations that are isolated from the electricity grid. All the electrical energy generated by the solar panels is consumed directly.
This type of photovoltaic installations are designed for the cases in which the cost of maintenance and installation of power lines is not profitable. For example, this would be the case of mountain refuge.
The main element of autonomous photovoltaic installations is the photovoltaic panel. The photovoltaic panel is responsible for transforming solar radiation into electrical energy…
The function of a solar thermal installation is to take advantage of solar energy to generate heat. The solar panels of these facilities capture the heat of the solar radiation that falls on them to heat a fluid. The different ways to take advantage of this hot fluid allows us to use this type of renewable energy in multiple applications.
A solar thermal installation consists of:
- Solar collectors
- Primary and secondary circuits
- Heat exchanger
- Accumulator, pumps
- Glass of expansion
- Main control panel.
Low-temperature solar thermal installations are considered those installations of solar thermal energy that provide useful heat at temperatures below 65 ° C through solar energy.
A low-temperature solar thermal installation consists of solar collectors, two water circuits (primary and secondary), heat exchanger, accumulator, expansion vessel and pipes.
The circulation of water inside the circuits can be obtained by thermosiphon, taking advantage of the density difference of the water at different temperatures or by means of a circulation pump. Although with a circulation…
The parabolic cylinder solar collector is another type of solar thermal collector. This type of solar panel used in solar thermal installations uses parabolic cylinders to concentrate all the solar radiation in a point. Instead of heliostats, this type of collector employs parabolic trough mirrors. For the focus of the parabola passes a pipe that receives the concentrated rays of the Sun, where the fluid is heated, usually a thermal oil. Currently the fluid reaches temperatures close to 400º C.
Until recently, the use of thermal solar CCP concentration systems was restricted to…
A hydroelectric power plant is a set of hydraulic engineering working located in a certain succession, together with a series of suitable machines. The objective of a hydroelectric power plant is to obtain electricity from the potential energy of moving bodies of water. This is what is called hydropower.
The energy produced by hydroelectric plants must be classified in all aspects as renewable energy because, at least in theory, water can be reused endlessly for the same purpose without undergoing a purification process. The concept of renewability is subordinated to the constancy of…