The characteristics of solar energy imply certain advantages with respect to other sources of energy.
Although the characteristics are different in photovoltaic solar installations and solar thermal installations, we will treat the disadvantages globally.
Certain disadvantages of solar energy may imply that a solar installation may be unfeasible. The aspects to consider are the following:
- Energy efficiency is poor compared to other energy sources.
- The economic cost compared to other options.
- Performance is a function of the weather.
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,…
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…
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…
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…
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…
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…
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…
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…
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,…
Biofuels are fuels obtained from biomass (agricultural crops such as palm oil, sugar cane, soybeans, etc.) or from organic waste. The fuel generated is a liquid fuel that can be used in the engines of vehicles.
This energy source is considered non-renewable energy because the generation and recovery time of the fields is less than the consumption time.
The biofuels generated can be of two types:
- Bioethanol, a substitute for gasoline, produced from sugarcane, beet, corn, wheat and oats.
- Biodiesel, a substitute for diesel, produced by plants such as sunflower,…
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.
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…