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…
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,…
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…
One of the applications of solar thermal energy is the obtaining of sanitary hot water (ACS). Solar collectors capture the energy of solar radiation to increase the temperature of a fluid.
Domestic hot water (DHW) is water intended for human consumption (potable) that has been heated. It is used for sanitary uses (bathrooms, showers, etc.) and for other cleaning uses (washing dishes, washing machine, dishwasher, floor scrubbing). In terms of energy, the ACS is an important component to take into account, since it represents between 25 and 40% of the energy consumption of homes.
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…
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…
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 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…
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…
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.…
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…
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 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…
Although in principle it seems that in an installation of photovoltaic solar energy just need solar modules and batteries, there is a key element in these facilities is what ensures that, in the charging process as in the discharge accumulators, is made so that they are always within the correct operating conditions: the charge controller.
Solar panels are designed so that they can give a higher than the end voltage battery charging voltage. This ensures that the solar panels are always able to charge the battery, even when the temperature of…
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…
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.…
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…
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…
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…
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…
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 notion of watt-peak is used to compare the performance of photovoltaic solar installations and to predict the amount of electricity that can be produced under optimal conditions.
To compare the capacity of solar panels, there are established standard conditions: at an irradiance of 1 kW / m², whose spectrum corresponds to the spectrum of sunlight in an air mass of 1.5 (this means that sunlight passing through the atmosphere is equal one and a half times the average thickness of the atmosphere), and a cell temperature of 25 ° C.
The objective of having the maximum…
A solar accumulator is a reservoir that separates the energy supply from the energy capture. That is, because we will not always need energy at the moment of solar radiation, the compiler is entrusted to store this energy to supply it when needed.
For this, the accumulator stores thermal energy from the solar collectors.
When the system needs, for example, domestic hot water the accumulator supplies this hot water and replaces it with cold water that comes from the network. The cold water will pass through the circuit of solar collectors exposed to solar radiation and increase…
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…
A solar thermal collector is a component of a solar thermal installation. A solar collector is a type of solar panel responsible for capturing solar energy and transforming it into heat. It is also called the solar thermal collector.
The solar collector is the basic element of this renewable energy source.
From solar collectors there are many types. The solar collector used will depend on the use that is going to be given. For example, if we want to heat a pool to a temperature of 25-28ºC, in the spring, we need a simple sensor, since the ambient temperature will easily be…
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…
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…
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…
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,…
The photovoltaic solar panel is the element that captures solar radiation and is responsible for transforming solar energy into electricity through the photovoltaic effect.
But in addition to the photovoltaic panel, the photovoltaic installations require a series of complementary elements that are necessary to guarantee the functionality, control and durability of the solar installation. Main elements of a photovoltaic solar installation Photovoltaic cell
The photovoltaic cell is the part of the photovoltaic panel responsible for transforming solar radiation into…
Any implementation of a sustainable photovoltaic solar energy system implies the optimization of the resources to be used. This is the basis of the design and assembly of solar installations.
To achieve optimum optimization of solar radiation, that is, the use of the Sun, it is essential to know the solar trajectory, the profile of the needs and the conditioners of the location. All this involves determining the orientation and inclination of the solar panels in fixed installations to achieve the minimum cost of the kilowatt hour of this type of renewable energy.
For reasons of…
Tidal energy is the energy obtained from the movements of water caused by the tides. It represents a source of renewable energy since it uses an inexhaustible resource.
The tide, the rhythmic rise and fall of sea level caused by the gravitational action of the moon and the sun, generally has a width (difference between high tide and low tide) of less than one meter, but in some areas, due to the particular configuration of the site, the difference in height can reach high values, interesting for the exploitation and production of energy, which is currently predominantly electrical. In…
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…