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…
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…
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.
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…
Autonomous photovoltaic installations are those installations that are isolated from the electricity grid. All electrical energy generated by solar panels is consumed directly.
This type of photovoltaic installation is designed for the cases in which the cost of maintenance and installation of the 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 in the form of direct…
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…
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 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,…
The efficiency of photovoltaic cells is one of the elements that determine the production of a photovoltaic solar energy installation. The other factors that determine the performance of a solar plant are latitude and climate.
The conversion efficiency value of a photovoltaic cell depends on several factors. When we refer to conversion efficiency, we refer implicitly to the thermodynamic efficiency, to the separation efficiency of the load carrier, to the reflectance efficiency and to the values of conduction efficiency. These parameters are difficult to measure…
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…
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…
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 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
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…
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.
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.…
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…
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.
A hybrid solar panel (more correctly defined as a PVT collector, an acronym P hoto V oltaic and T hermal) is a device that allows the conversion of the energy radiated by the sun partly into electrical energy and partly into thermal energy through the combination of the effect of a photovoltaic module and a thermal solar panel (photovoltaic cogeneration).
Therefore, a hybrid solar panel is composed of a photovoltaic collector to which a heat exchanger is associated, capable of heating a fluid thanks to the part of the solar radiation not converted into electrical energy. Origin…
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…
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…
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…
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…
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…
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.…
What is wind power?
Wind energy is a renewable energy whose origin is wind. This energy source takes advantage of the kinetic energy generated by the effect of air currents to transform it into other useful forms for human activities. Historically, wind energy has been used since ancient times to move sail-driven boats or operate mill machinery when moving its blades.
The most common use of wind energy is the generation of electricity. Wind turbines are machines that convert the kinetic energy of wind into electrical energy.
Wind energy is an abundant, renewable,…
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…
In the early days 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, 12, 24, 48 volts in direct current. This made a big difference with the users that had electricity distribution network or generator sets at 220 volts AC.
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 priced appliances that…
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…
Renewable energy is that energy that comes from practically 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.
In most cases they are simple to dismantle and it is not necessary to guard their waste, as it…
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…
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.
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…
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 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…