We have two definitions of electricity depending on whether ns refer to physical phenomena on a macroscopic scale or on a microscopic scale.
With the term electricity we refer generically to all physical phenomena in a macroscopic scale that involves one of the fundamental interactions, the electromagnetic force, with particular reference to electrostatics. At the microscopic level, these phenomena are due to the interaction between charged particles on a molecular scale: the protons in the nucleus of atoms or ionized molecules and the electrons. The typical macroscopic effects of such…
Hydropower is a source of renewable energy or alternative energy. This renewable energy exploits the transformation of gravitational potential energy, possessed by a certain mass of water at a certain elevation, in kinetic energy to overcome a certain difference in height. The mechanical energy obtained can be used directly to rotate the shaft of a turbine or in some application or machine that works using hydropower. The most common is to use this kinetic energy to generate electrical energy. In this case, we talk about hydroelectric power.
In hydroelectric power, the kinetic energy…
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
Hydropower is the electric power produced in a hydroelectric power station from a current, vertical or horizontal, of a river. In other words, it is electricity (electrical energy) obtained from hydraulic energy (mechanical energy of water in movement of rivers, lakes and marshes).
The difference between hydroelectric and hydraulic energy is that hydraulic energy can be used to generate electrical energy but also to obtain energy of another type, for example, mechanical energy. While hydropower refers only to the use of hydropower to obtain electric power or electricity.
In electricity, the rated voltage of an electrical device is the voltage that must not be exceeded in normal operation. The nominal adjective is because that tension usually serves to characterize the device, to name it. The nominal value indicates the theoretical or ideal value of anything that can be quantified, as opposed to the real value, which is what is obtained in a given measurement.
Another definition of rated voltage: The rated voltage is the specific potential difference for which a device or installation is designed.
As it is a nominal value it implies that the voltage…
In electronics, a photoelectric cell or a photovoltaic cell is an electrical / electronic device that converts the incident energy of solar radiation into electricity through the photovoltaic effect. Photovoltaic cells are the basic components of photovoltaic modules, which are solar panels capable of generating electrical energy from solar radiation. It is therefore the essential basic element for this type of renewable energy.
Compounds of a material that has a photoelectric effect absorb photons of light and emit electrons. When these free electrons are captured, the result is an…
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,…
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…
A photovoltaic solar installation connected to the network has only three basic elements:
- A group of photovoltaic solar panels. These solar panels are usually located on the roof of a building or integrated into any structural element of the same building. The photovoltaic panels can also be arranged directly on any land near the electricity grid.
- Ondulator or electronic inverter-converter. This device transforms the energy in the form of direct current provided by the solar panels, in alternating current of the same type and value as the one transported by the electric…
A photovoltaic power plant or a photovoltaic power station is a set of facilities designed to supply electricity to the grid through the use of large-scale photovoltaic systems. The function of the photovoltaic power station is to capture and transform solar radiation into electricity.
A photovoltaic power plant is a power plant consisting of photovoltaic modules and an inverter. The photovoltaic panels are in charge of transforming the solar radiation, into electrical energy of direct current. The inverter is the electronic equipment whose function is to convert the direct…
For the conversion of fossil energy into electrical energy, the technology of a thermal power plant is often used. At the moment in which a thermal power station is fossil fuels fossilized from a source of non-renewable energy generation.
A thermal power plant (or thermoelectric plant) is a plant that generates electricity by transforming heat. Historically heat energy is converted into electricity by transferring heat to a working fluid and then transforming the energy of this fluid into mechanical energy. Finally, mechanical energy is transformed into electricity. The…
The constant price increases in electricity rates are reflected in the monthly bills of our home and therefore, more and more people are looking for alternatives to electricity and natural gas in order to save a few euros at the end of the month . One of these alternatives that has been implemented for a few years in Spain is self-consumption from solar panels .
With the installation of solar panels and the use of solar radiation, it is possible to generate electricity and / or heat in the home in a clean and renewable…
The watt (symbol: W) is the power unit of the International System, it is the amount of energy in joules that is converted, used or dissipated in one second. It is a derived unit that takes its name from the engineer, inventor and constructor of Scottish instruments James Watt, for his contribution to the development of the steam engine, which was one of the triggers of the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.
The watt unit was adopted by the Second Congress of the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1889, which meant its international recognition as a power unit,…
An inverter is an electronic device. The function of the inverter is to change a DC input voltage to a symmetrical AC output voltage, with the magnitude and frequency desired by the user. The inverters use in a great variety of applications, from small power supplies for computers, to industrial applications to control high power. The inverters are also used to convert the direct current generated by photovoltaic solar panels, accumulators or batteries, etc., into alternating current and thus be able to be injected into the electrical network or used in isolated electrical installations.…
An inverter is an electronic device. The function of the inverter is to change a DC input voltage to a symmetrical AC output voltage, with the magnitude and frequency desired by the user. The inverters use in a great variety of applications, from small power supplies for computers, to industrial applications to control high power. The inverters are also used to convert the direct current generated by photovoltaic solar panels, accumulators or batteries, etc., into alternating current and thus be able to be injected into the electrical network or used in isolated electrical installations.
We refer to the photovoltaic effect in everything related to obtaining energy through the action of light.
The most used light source for photovoltaic installations is that coming from the Sun, that is, solar energy. Although there are small devices, such as calculators, that can work with artificial light. Photovoltaic solar energy
Solar photovoltaic energy is a methodology for obtaining electrical energy thanks to photoelectric cells. It is a renewable energy since its energy source, the Sun, is considered inexhaustible.
Photoelectric cells are the main component…
The electric current generated by a photovoltaic solar energy installation can be poured into the electricity grid as if it were a power plant. The consumption of electricity is independent of the energy generated by the photovoltaic panels. In these cases, the user continues to buy the electric energy consumed by the distribution company at the established price and also owns an electric power generation facility.
The most usual powers measured in vations are 2.5 and 5 kilowatts (kw) or multiples of 5 to 100 kilowatts (kw). There are larger solar installations, but they…
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.…
Geothermal power plants are the plants responsible for converting geothermal energy into electricity. A geothermal plant is a facility where electricity is generated by geothermal energy.
Geothermal energy is the thermal energy contained inside the Earth. These facilities perform a thermodynamic exchange at a certain depth of the terrestrial layers to heat a fluid. This heat is used to generate electricity. Because the heat inside the Earth is inexhaustible, it can be said that this form of electricity generation is a source of renewable energy.
Thermal energy is the energy released in the form of heat. It can also be called heat energy. In a more technical way we can define thermal energy as part of the internal energy of a thermodynamic system in equilibrium that is proportional to its absolute temperature and is increased or decreased by energy transfer.
The thermal energy can be transformed using a thermal engine (a thermoelectric power plant uses thermal energy to generate electricity); or in mechanical work (for example, a car, airplane or ship engine).
The obtaining of thermal energy can imply an environmental…
In the field of renewable energies, there are other renewable technologies in the development phase. Cellulosic ethanol, geothermal energy from hot and dry rock and marine energy are technologies that can complement traditional photovoltaic solar energy, wind energy or hydropower, for example.
However, these technologies are not yet sufficiently developed or have limited commercialization. Many of these new sources of renewable energy have great potential, but they still have a long way to go in research and development.
There are numerous organizations within the academic…
Geothermal energy is a long-term source of energy worldwide. With the geothermal energy stored in the top three kilometers of the Earth's crust, theoretically, the current energy demand could be covered for more than 100,000 years. However, only a small part of this energy is technically usable and the effects on the earth's crust during extensive heat dissipation are not yet clear.
When geothermal energy is used, a distinction is made between direct use, that is, the use of heat in itself, and indirect use, the use for conversion into electricity in a geothermal power plant. With the…
Thermosolar energy is a technology to generate electricity or electricity by thermal energy from the Sun (solar heat). It is a type of solar thermal energy. Solar thermal energy is characterized by using solar radiation to heat a fluid. This hot fluid (usually water) can be used for many applications such as heating or hot water (DHW). But another application that can be given is the generation of electric power.
This type of energy is also often called thermoelectric power.
This process of electricity generation takes place in the so-called thermoelectric solar or solar thermal…
The volt is the international system unit measures for measuring electromotive force and voltage.
The volt is represented by the symbol V. The measuring instrument for measuring voltage is the voltmeter.
Two different definitions of volt can be given:
On the one hand, we can consider that a volt is the voltage between two points of a conductor through which passes a current of one ampere (A) and a power of one watt (W) is dissipated.
Another alternative way to define it: The volt is equivalent to the potential difference that exists between two points of a conductor…
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.…
A photovoltaic cell is an electronic device that allows to transform the energy of light into electricity through the photovoltaic effect. It can also be called photocell or photoelectric cell.
Technically, what interests us about light is the photons. Photons are present in all kinds of light but the one that we find most interesting is that which comes from the Sun, solar radiation.
The photovoltaic cell, therefore, is an essential element for the development of photovoltaic solar energy. Features of photovoltaic cells
Compounds of a material having a photoelectric…
A solar panel is a device to take advantage of solar energy. It can also be called a solar module.
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.
The denomination of solar panel…
The applications of photovoltaic solar energy are many and varied. In this field, they include from large power generation plants through photovoltaic panels, to small solar calculators.
A first way to classify the applications of photovoltaic solar energy is to distinguish the applications connected to the electrical network and the isolated installations.
The use of photovoltaic panels in isolated buildings is very useful since the investment needed to place solar panels on the roof of a farm, a chalet in the mountain or in a hotel in a secluded spot, is much less than what it…
In the autonomous electricity supply facilities, it is necessary to store the energy captured during the hours of solar radiation in order to cover supply during the hours when there is no (daily cycle and seasonal cycle).
- Electric batteries have a very important and fundamental to the proper functioning and duration of a solar photovoltaic installation function.
- They must have sufficient capacity to ensure supply of electricity during periods of clouds (autonomy of installation).
- It is reversible electrochemical systems…
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 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…
After the repeal of the "Sun Tax", a new regulation has been promoted for producers and self-consumers of photovoltaic solar energy. In this article we will review the keys of this new legislation and we will reveal what is the ideal light rate for self-consumers of photovoltaic solar energy. The rate of self-consumers
Many people mistakenly think that once the solar panels are installed, it is never necessary to be connected to the electricity grid. Nothing is further from the reality, since to make this possible it is necessary…
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 photovoltaic effect is the photoelectric effect characterized by the production of an electric current between two pieces of different material that are in contact and exposed to light or, in general, to electromagnetic radiation.
The photovoltaic effect consists of converting sunlight into electrical energy by means of photovoltaic cells. These cells are semiconductor devices made from pure silicon with the addition of impurities of certain chemical elements. Photovoltaic cells are capable of generating electricity in direct current, using solar radiation as a source.
A solar accumulator is a device that allows to store the solar energy captured by the solar panels. The objective of the compilers is to take advantage of the energy obtained at the time when solar energy can not be produced (during the night, cloudy days, etc.)
For this we distinguish two types of solar compulators:
- Thermal solar compulators.
- Electric solar compulators.
Solar thermal compulators store heat. This type of acomulator is related to thermal energy installations. In these installations the solar…
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…
In the beginnings of photovoltaic solar energy, the electrification facilities used electricity for consumption at the same voltage and with the same form that they received from photovoltaic solar panels and accumulators, that is, at 12, 24, 48 volts in direct current. This made a big difference with the users who had electricity distribution network or generator sets at 220 volts alternating current.
The appliance market has adapted to the majority of users and we can find any appliance with 220 volts of alternating current. Therefore, getting reliable, quality, and reasonably…
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…
An ampere-hour is an electric charge unit. It is represented by Ah. The ampere-hour is not part of the International System, since the hour is not either.
The ampere-hour indicates the amount of electrical charge that passes through the terminals of a battery (or an electrical conductor) providing an electric current of 1 ampere (A) for one hour (h).
The ampere-hour is used to measure the capacity of a battery, ie the amount of electricity it can store during charging and return during discharge.
A battery that has, for example, a capacity of 100 Ah, theoretically can give…
Nuclear energy is the energy that is obtained from the division (nuclear fission) or from the union (nuclear fusion) of an atom. Despite the existence of a large number of applications related to nuclear energy (medicine, industry, transport, etc.), the main application of this technology is the generation of electrical energy.
Electricity of nuclear origin is generated in nuclear power plants. At present, all nuclear power plants operate through nuclear fission reactions. The nuclear fuel they use is usually uranium or plutonium (by an artificial process). Because…
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.
Photovoltaic solar energy consists of the direct transformation of solar radiation into electrical energy. This type of energy is often referred to directly as photovoltaics.
This transformation in electrical energy is achieved by taking advantage of the properties of semiconductor materials through photovoltaic cells. The base material for the manufacture of photovoltaic panels is usually silicon. When sunlight (photons) hits one of the faces of the solar cell, it generates an electric current. This generated electricity can be used as an energy source.
The ampere (symbol: A) is the base unit SI that is used to measure the intensity of the electric current.
It takes its name from the French physicist André-Marie Ampère (1775-1836), one of the leading scholars of electromagnetism.
Being one of the seven basic SI units, all other electromagnetic units are derived from it. By definition, an ampere is the intensity of an electric current that, if maintained in two parallel linear conductors of infinite length and negligible cross-section, placed one meter apart…
A solar storage tank is a reservoir that separates the solar energy supply from the energy collection. That is to say, it is frequent, especially in the field of solar energy, that the electrical power that one wants to use does not correspond to the electric power that is being obtained at a certain moment. For example, hot water may be required at night, but solar radiation is not available to heat it.
To do this, the accumulator stores thermal energy from the solar collectors. It can be considered as a battery that stores heat energy.
When the system needs, for…
The Francis turbine is a hydraulic turbine used in hydropower installations with a considerable height of fall.
The Francis turbine is a type of hydraulic turbine built by British-American engineer James Bicheno Francis. The function of the Francis turbine is mainly to generate electricity with the help of a generator. Francis turbines have a high utilization capacity of more than 90% and a wide range of activities compared to the height (building drop) of the fluid flowing through the turbine. This is particularly emphasized in water where it achieves optimum performance in a building…
Solar thermal energy uses solar radiation to increase the internal energy of an element. Said in one way: to heat an element. Normally a liquid is heated to be able to transport this energy more easily to the place where you want to take advantage of it.
In single-family homes it is very common to see solar collectors. The function of these collectors is to heat sanitary hot water for domestic use or for heating. They are generally support systems but allow considerable financial savings. The installation of these solar collectors is very popular in certain areas due to its low installation…
Hybrid solar energy systems are hybrid energy systems that combine the solar energy of a photovoltaic system with another source of energy that generates energy. A common type is a hybrid photovoltaic diesel system, which combines solar photovoltaic (PV) and diesel generators, or diesel generator sets, since PV has only a marginal cost and is treated with priority in the network. Diesel generator sets are used to constantly fill the gap between the current load and the actual power generated by the photovoltaic system.
Since the solar energy fluctuates and the generation capacity of…
The installation of large photovoltaic power plants in the world continues to increase both in number and installed power. As of today, there is already an installation in India that produces 1000MW. However, even larger photovoltaic solar power plants are still being built.
In this sense, the countries that lead the production of photovoltaic solar energy are China, the United States and India.
From the main photovoltaic solar installations in the world we highlight: Kurnool Ultra Mega Solar Park. 1,000 MW. India
The Krnool Ultra Mega Solar photovoltaic park is located…
Active solar energy classifies technologies related to the use of solar energy that use mechanical or electrical equipment to improve performance or to process the energy obtained by converting it into electrical or mechanical energy. These equipments can be fans, water pumps, etc.
In contrast, solar systems that do not use these devices are classified as passive solar energy systems. Examples of active solar energy
The applications of active solar energy can be classified into two types:
- Thermal solar energy
- Photovoltaic Solar Energy
The direct current is a type of electric current very important in solar energy where the direction of flow of electric charges (electrons) does not vary. In many devices the symbol to indicate direct current is DC (direct current), or using the symbol of a continuous line (-) flanked by three shorter lines (---), for the alternating current that is used instead of AC (alternating current) or the symbol (~).
The flow of charges occurs through a conductor, such as a metallic thread. The flow could also be established through a semiconductor, an insulator or even vacuum as in a cathode…
One kilowatt (kw) is a power unit in current use, equivalent to 1000 watts (w).
One watt (w) is a power unit of the international system equivalent to one joule per second.
If we express the watt in units used in electricity, we can say that a watt is the electric power produced by a potential difference of 1 volt and an electric current of 1 ampere (1 volt ampere).
Frequently the watt hour (Wh) is also spoken as an energy unit. The watt hour is a practical unit of energy equivalent to the energy produced by a power of one watt for one hour. Common errors related…
In chemistry, the term electrolyte refers generically to substances that in solution or in the molten state undergo subdivision into ions of their molecules. Substances that do not dissociate are called non-electrolytes.
The term "electrolyte" refers to the ability to conduct electricity through the intervention of ions, a peculiar characteristic of these chemical species. Therefore, an electrolyte constitutes what is called an ionic conductor or, alternatively, a conductor of a second species. Electrolytes are capable of conducting the electric current, once dissolved in solution, precisely…
In this section we intend to answer the main questions related to solar energy.
Generally, these are general topics that could be located in several sections of the web. Our intention is to expand this section in the future to publish generalist articles and curiosities of nuclear energy.
Most of the questions are focused on small solar installations, comparative with solar thermal energy and photovoltaic solar energy.
In the future we will also answer on more oriented questions in the field of physics: thermodynamics, forms of energy, mechanical energy, potential energy,…
The most important part of a photovoltaic module is the set of photovoltaic cells that are responsible for the transformation of solar radiation into electrical energy. The rest of the elements that are part of a solar panel have the function of protecting and giving firmness and functionality to the whole.
The photovoltaic cells are encapsulated with reinforced glass and several layers of plastic material. Subsequently, all this set is reinforced by forming an outer frame with aluminum metal profiles.
The photovoltaic solar panels that are used at present are formed of the following…
The generation of fuel through solar energy is a technique based on generating chemical reactions using solar radiation. These chemical processes allow the generation of energy that would otherwise come from a source of fossil fuel or nuclear energy.
A great advantage of the generation of solar fuels is that they can be transported and stored easily. However, adding a step in the generation of electric power (fuel generation) implies a reduction in efficiency: adding an additional step between the storage of energy and the production of electricity drastically decreases the…
Fossil fuels are non-renewable energy resources because they require millions of years for their formation in a natural way. Due to their high calorific power they are useful energy sources to generate thermal energy and their use has allowed the great economic and demographic growth linked to the industrial revolution of the 19th century. Although now they are fundamental for our economy. In 2007, the combustion of coal, oil and natural gas accounted for 86.4% of the world's primary energy. However, its combustion is one of the main sources of atmospheric pollution and global warming, which…
What is silicon?
Silicon is a chemical element of atomic number 14 and symbol Si. This chemical element belongs to group IV A of the periodic table. JJ Berzelius 1824 isolated it by reduction with potassium of silicon tetrafluoride (SiF4).
The crystalline elemental silicon is grayish in color with a metallic luster, very hard, with very high melting and boiling points, and is an intrinsic semiconductor. The amorphous form of the element occurs in brown powders, conductive of electricity, which can be easily melted and vaporized.…
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…
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…