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 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…
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…
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
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…
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…
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 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…
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…
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…
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…
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…
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…
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,…
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.
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 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…
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…
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.…
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…
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…
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…
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…
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…
A photovoltaic panel is a type of solar panel designed for the use of photovoltaic solar energy. Its function is to transform solar energy into electricity.
Photovoltaic panels can be used to generate electrical power in both domestic applications and commercial applications.
The photovoltaic modules are formed by a set of interconnected photovoltaic cells. The photovoltaic cells that make up a photovoltaic panel are embedded and protected. The photovoltaic panel is in charge of directly transforming the energy of solar radiation into electricity, in the form of direct current.…
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…
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…
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…
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…
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…
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,…
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…
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.
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…
These installations are mainly used in locations where there is no access to the electricity grid and it is more economical to install a photovoltaic system than to lay a line between the grid and the point of consumption. The electricity generated is intended for self consumption.
The main applications of isolated systems are:
- Electrification of houses and buildings, mainly for lighting and low-power appliances
- Street lighting
- Agricultural and livestock applications
- Water Pumping and Treatment
- Telephony antennas isolated from the network…
Coal is a fossil fuel that is used to obtain fossil energy through its combustion. The thermodynamic properties of coal allow obtaining a large amount of heat energy during its combustion process.
Coal is a natural resource limited. The generation of coal is a process of several million years, while the consumption of this energy resource is very fast. For this reason, coal is considered a non-renewable source of energy.
Coal is a sedimentary rock of organic origin, black or dark brown. It is used mainly as a fossil fuel because of its high calorific value…
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,…
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…
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…
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.
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…