SOLAR ENERGY ADVANTAGESFor thousands of years, people have used Solar Radiation for warmth. As well as a source of fire and to dry foods – meat, grains, fruits and fish among others. As they were advancing in this technology, they adopted the use of non-renewable resources like gas, coal, and oil. Helped to fuel the Industrial Revolution. Solar Energy Advantages today is one of the fastest growing industries. Therefore, there are many Solar Energy Advantages. After a period of time, alarm bells sounded in regards to the use of Fossil Fuels. As well as their impact on the environment. As a result, scientists and engineers came up with a new technology that would be used to harness the Solar Energy advantages. And convert it into alternating current for use at home. There is an interesting article on how Exon Oil Scientists in the early 1970s reported to the board at Exon oils that global warming was becoming a real threat. In fact so much so that instructions were given to increase the hight of all new Oil Rigs being built to accommodate this rise of an estimated one meter in sea levels. However, none of this was related to any relevant governmental authorities. Even when one takes the Advantages and disadvantages into account. The Solare Energy Advantages far outway the disadvantages. As these products will still recover there cost of installation in a short period of time and therefore giving many years of energy saving.
Solar Energy AdvantagesThere are many Solar Energy Advantages today. In fact from creating hot water systems for the home or business to save energy. Additionally, the Solar Energy Advantages extend to creating electricity in the home. In some Countries, Entire towns make use of Solar Energy Advantages at a fraction of traditional energy costs. As we know in South Africa we have a very serious energy problem. This has given many homeowners the ability to benefit from the Solar Energy Advantages of the new age. In fact, many homeowners are now living off the grid with the advancements of Solar Power.
The United States Noted The Solar Energy AdvantagesDid you know that 99% of new electricity added to the US grid in the first quarter of 2016? Originated from Renewable Energy Sources where the Advantages of Solar Energy contributed 64%? Well, now you know. Therefore this is one of the best examples of what all countries should be striving to achieve. In fact, this is if we want a future for generations to come. In fact, even our little ones that are born in this era. Will have a bleak prospect ahead unless we do something radical now to preserve life on earth.
What is Solar Energy?Also referred to as Solar Power, this technology is utilised to harness the sun’s Radiation. Therefore converting it into direct current (DC) and later into alternating current (AC) for use in homes and offices. For billions of years, the sun has been radiating an enormous amount of energy throughout the Solar System. Did you know it only takes 9 minutes for the rays of the sun to reach Earth? Well, you will be surprised to know that Solar Energy can make such a short time to travel through space yet the sun is 93 million miles away (149.6 million km). But where does this energy originate? Well, the sun is a star and a big gas ball composed of Helium and Hydrogen. It can generate Solar Radiation at its core through a process called fusion. Here is how it works. The sun’s surface experiences high temperature and pressure. Resulting in Hydrogen atoms separating to form Hydrogen Isotopes. When four Hydrogen Isotopes combine, they create a single Helium Atom. During this process, some matter is lost. And therefore emitted as radiant energy.
History of Solar CellsOver the past thousand years, people learned how to harness Solar Energy to light fires and help in drying food. It was not until the late 19th century specifically 1839. At this time interest in the use of Solar Radiation to generate electricity started. This is when the people at this time realised that there were real Solar Energy Advantages. At the time, Alexander E. Becquerel found out that there were materials – Selenium - with the ability to generate small amounts of electric current after being exposed to Solar radiation. As a result, he was able to discover Photoconductivity of Selenium. 37 years later specifically 1876. William G. Adams and his student, Richard E. Day found out that Selenium could generate electricity when exposed to Solar Energy. An important discovery. Discovering that Selenium cells were not able to generate electricity efficiently from Solar Energy. The good news is that they were able to find out that power would be generated without the use of moving parts. In fact, at this time the Solar Energy Advantages were minimal. In mid 20th century specifically 1953, Daryl Chapin, Gerald Pearson and Calvin Fuller created the first Silicon Solar Cell. The new Solar Cell was able to generate a direct current which was enough to run small devices. To highlight the important discovery, the New York Times published the following statement “the beginning of a new era", leading eventually to the realisation of harnessing the almost limitless energy of the sun for use by civilisations.”
The first Commercial Solar Cells Produced in 1956The primary commercial Solar Cells were made available in 1956. However, the cost was too high at $300 or (R 4500) for 1-watt solar cells. It was during this time that Solar Cells included in radios and toys. Thankfully, the cost of solar cells had reduced in the early 1970s. In fact, from R1400 or ($100) per watt to R 280 or ($20). Today, solar cells are available everywhere – from cars to satellites and homes. In fact, when we look back today at the early Advantages of Solar Energy costing was excessively high.
The Advancement of Solar PanelsSince 1975, the cost of Solar Cells per watt has reduced tremendously. Unlike back then when the price of solar cells per watt was R 1400 or ($101), today the cost per watt is lower than R 14 or ($1) per watt. As you can see, the price of solar cells per watt was 227 times higher than today. As a result of the lower cost per watt, there has been a rise in solar panel installation in several homes around the world. Did you know that a Solar PV system is now installed every 4 minutes in the US? As a direct result of the Solar Energy Advantages worldwide. The aforementioned has helped to fast-track the use of Solar Power which has lowered the use and dependency on non-renewable sources like coal, gas, and oil. Also, it has helped to reduce the emission of Greenhouse Gases which in turn has started to reverse the effects of Global Warming – drought and adverse weather effects like storms. However when we look at the Solar Energy Advantages today as well as the costs of running Solar Energy. We can now see that all the years of hard work and effort have paid off with great Solar Energy Advantages. These improvements in the growth and the Solar Energy Advantages will continue to improve and become one of the biggest and most affordable options for energy.
What is a Photovoltaic Solar Panel?That refers to a group of Solar Cells made of Silicon and constructed with a Positive layer and Negative layer bound by conductors. Several Solar Cells/modules are connected to form a Solar Panel. And therefore can convert Solar Radiation into direct current. This power is used to charge batteries for later use or fed into micro inverters which convert DC to AC for use at home. In fact, with all the load shedding as a result of shortages in the supply of electricity may homeowners turned to the Solar Energy Advantages at relatively high costs in 2016. Having said this the pricing of these units have dropped substantially as new technology and supply and competition increases.
Types of Photovoltaic Solar CellsThere are three types namely:
- Polycrystalline silicon solar cells
- Monocrystalline silicon cells
- Thin film solar cells
Monocrystalline Silicon Solar CellsMade from silicon castings which are a cylindrical shape, monocrystalline Silicon Solar Cells have a higher efficiency level than polycrystalline Silicon Solar Cells. Therefore it improves their performance. Therefore even lower the costs of the Solar Cells, four sides are usually removed finally resulting in silicon wafers. That is what gives the Solar Cells their characteristic look. Also called single Crystalline. Recognised by the colouring. Aside from being more efficient than Polycrystalline Silicon Solar Cells. More space efficient since fewer cells per unit are required for the generation of electricity.
Advantages of Monocrystalline Silicon Solar Cells
- The highest efficiency rate 20% thanks to the use of high-grade silicon.
- They have the longest lifespan – 25 years.
- Perform better than polycrystalline silicon solar cells at low light conditions.
- They are space efficient which means they require the least amount of space during installation.
- Disadvantages of monocrystalline silicon solar cells
- They are among the most expensive solar cells especially when compared to polycrystalline silicon solar cells
- There is the potential of the entire circuitry breaking down when covered by shade, with snow or dirt
- Since a single silicon wafer must be cut out from a cylindrical casting, there is a lot of wastage during manufacturing
Thin Film Solar CellsCharacterized by a narrow design and an efficient semiconductor. Thin film Solar Cells are considered the lightest photovoltaic cells with the capability of absorbing more Solar Radiation than a standard silicon solar panel. Thin Film Solar Cells are made using one of the following technologies: Cadmium Telluride – contains significant amounts of Cadmium which account for 50% of the thin film Solar Cell market. That has helped to surpass the cost of efficiency for Solar Cells which operates between 9% to 11%. Amorphous Silicon – as the second most popular option of thin film Solar Cells, it is regarded as the best option than its counterpart – Cadmium Telluride. Attributed to the high toxicity levels in Cadmium. The problem is it's less efficient which makes it suitable for use in devices that require small loads. Copper Indium Gallium Selenide- This is another thin film solar cell technology that has attained efficiency highs of 22.3% during lab tests. Unlike Cadmium solar cells, Copper Indium Gallium Selenide contains less toxicity. Production of these solar cells started in 2011 in Germany. Gallium Arsenide – considered as the most expensive technology, it holds a record of 28.8% efficiency levels for just a single junction of solar cells. Commonly used on spacecraft. As a result, this is an awesome Solare Energy Advantage.
Advantages of thin film Solar CellsCan be mass produced at cheaper costs compared to crystalline-based Photovoltaic Solar Cells. They have an appealing appearance. They are flexible. High temperatures have less impact on the Solar Cells Performance. "Employing less space."
Disadvantages of thin film Solar CellsHas low space efficiency which increases the cost of the equipment. They degrade faster than crystalline-based Solar Cells
How Photovoltaic Solar Cells workA single solar cell is composed of a conductor (circuit), n-layer (negative conductor), crystalline semiconductor and the p-layer (positive conductor). When photons strike a single Solar Cell, they Ionize the silicon semiconductor finally knocking off electrons. Therefore making them break free. As a result of the semiconductor structure, the Electrons are directed to flow in a single direction. As a result, creating the flow of electrical current. That is how solar cells produce Direct Current. Solar Panel systems connected to a micro inverter which helps to convert DC power to AC power. Also, micro inverters help to provide useful system statistics. With fault protection and support in the distribution of excess Solar Power to the national grid. Central Inverters were very popular until microinverters were included. They helped to optimize all Solar Panels. As a result, the solar panels have been able to perform at a higher efficiency.
Solar Heating and CoolingThe Earth receives around 174 Petawatts of solar radiation. And 30% is reflected back into space by the upper atmosphere. While oceans and clouds absorb the rest, some of it can reach the Earth's surface and used to heat water for use in the shower, bathtub or swimming pool.
What is a Solar Water Heating System?Aforementioned is a system designed to heat water by absorbing solar energy via a collector. A typical solar water heating system is composed of the following components:
- Rooftop collector.
- Storage tank.
- Heat exchanger and insulated piping.
- Electronic controls.
- This system typically works by collecting solar energy via a sun-facing collector which then heats water or a heat transfer liquid that heats the water finally distributing it for use at home.
Types of Active Solar Water Heating Systems
- Direct circulation
- Indirect circulation
How Direct Circulation System WorksUsually, water pumped from the storage tank up to the Solar Collector. Here is where it is heated and sent to the storage tank again. The system derives its name – Draindown – from the Draindown valve which is electrically powered and is key to the protection of the system against freezing. During the day when the sun is shining, the Draindown valve is activated. This activates the pump to circulate water from the storage tank into the solar collector. All this happens in a Pressurized loop. If the outside temperature drops below 32 degrees F and the sun is not shining, the sensor will signal the controller which in turn will deactivate the Draindown valve. The pressure will drop, and water will discharge into the drain. Once the temperature rises, the valve will be activated again, and the process of heating water will begin. In fact, we are all aware of the high cost of heating water in the home. Therefore the Solar Energy Advantages of a home is significant. Resulting in energy savings that will cover the cost of the Solar units in a few years thereafter giving years of free energy savings.
Indirect Solar Water CirculationPopular in areas where freezing weather conditions occur. As it consists of a Solar Collector and Pressure relief valves. Drainback tank, controller, wrap around heat exchanger and pump. The system also includes an inlet that draws cold water into the heat exchanger. As well as an outlet that draws hot water out. A drain pipe which connected to the pump. Aforementioned frequently located at the bottom level of the hot water tank.
How Indirect Solar Water Circulation Systems WorkAlso referred to as the Drainback solar water system. It works by emptying the Solar Collector that will avoid the freezing of pipes. As a closed loop system, thermal fluid such as Glycol is heated in the solar collector. Being pumped to the Heat Exchanger where heat from the thermal fluid is carried to the water. The antifreeze solution used is food safe. Since the heat exchanger is located at the bottom of an insulated storage tank, any breach to the tank may result in the leak of glycol (food safe antifreeze solution) into the water. If the antifreeze solution was not food safe and the water was used for drinking, it could lead to poisoning and other health complications.
Advantages of Active Solar Water Circulation Systems
- The system lacks no air vents; no pressure gauges nor check valves. As a result, the performance of the system will not be impeded.
- The system requires the use of large piping and insulation.
- The drainback system is popular for being reliable and simple
- It requires the least maintenance compared to other solar water heating solutions
- The risk of high pressure, bursting pipes, boiling water and high pressure is very low
- The placement of the tank is usually indoors during winter. That helps to reduce heat loss.
- There are Drainback systems which use distilled water in place of antifreeze solution.
- In such a system, the probability of corrosion is very low.
- Such systems opt for distilled water instead of antifreeze solutions because distilled water has better heat transfer capabilities. As a result, this will boost the performance of the system.
- In such a case, single wall heat exchangers are used since they are inexpensive and more efficient
- When it comes to space heating, Drainback systems are usually superior. Have the ability to exceed the recommended collector to storage ratio.
- That means the solar collector has the potential of collecting more solar energy. And is, therefore, able to turn cold water into hot water quickly
Disadvantages Of Active Solar Water Circulation
- The components of a Drainback system cost 15% to 20% more than those of a Draindown system
- There is significant heat loss especially when the pump is not working for instance during the night. As a result, installing the biggest pump possible is essential.
- There is the possibility of metal corrosion which affects the quality of water. The reason why corrosion may occur is that hot air is usually present.
- During installation, the trickiest part is the design. Designing the system in a manner that allows all water from the Solar Connector to drain into a smaller reservoir. That is in case the pump ceases to work.
- Maintenance of Active solar water heating solutions
- Ensure that Active solar water heaters can perform efficiently at all times. The storage tanks must be cleaned every year. That helps to remove any mineral build-up and dirt that may have sneaked in. As a result, of domestic cold water pumped into the system.
- The valves and pumps need maintenance too. Since they are electromechanical gadgets, they are susceptible to damage. Especially the moving parts which are sensitive to normal wear and tear. Therefore, identifying corrosion during the maintenance. Although this is not common with Drawback systems that feature distilled water. Other methods that feature antifreeze solutions may be susceptible to corrosion.
- If the pipes corrode, the water will be infected. And if the water is for drinking, the rust particles will find their way into your body.
- What you ought to know is that maintenance is crucial. As it helps to lengthen the lifespan of the system. A well maintained active solar water heating solution.
- Lasting up to 35 years before the need for replacing important, parts arises. Considering that Solar heating reduces the impact of Global Warming and Climate
Passive Solar Water Heating SystemsPassive Solar Water Heating is considered to be less expensive and is less efficient. The good news is that they have a longer lifespan and are more reliable. There are two types namely integral and Thermosyphon systems. The Integral passive system is suited for areas where temperatures don’t fall below freezing point while Thermosyphon systems work by allowing hot water to rise as cold water sinks. It is composed of a collector that is installed below the storage tank. The problem is the system is much more expensive than the integral passive system. Just like Active solar water heating systems. Passive solar water heaters use Solar Energy to heat domestic water for use at home. They are cost effective and highly reliable. The system has the capability of supplying an average of 85% to 95% of a home hot water requirements. As a smart investment, it can cut down on energy costs by more than 50%. The good news about a Passive solar water heater is that it can pay for itself in less than three years. These Solar Energy Advantages are phenomenal as you can see the percentage benefits. This is a no-brainer with these types of Solar Energy saving costs of the Solar unit will be recovered in no time. Therefore allowing homeowners the luxury of years of savings. It is self-sufficient providing you with peace of mind since you don’t have to worry about increasing energy bills. Also, your household will have hot water even when your home lacks electricity temporarily. Although they are highly efficient, they cant compare to an Active Solar Water Heater. Despite this, they do last longer than their counterparts.
Types of Passive systems
- Integral collector storage system
- Thermosyphon systems
Here is an in-depth look at the above methodsEssential collector storage system: Also referred to as a batch water heating system, it is composed of a solar storage water heater which acts as a backup, a spigot drain valve which that must be installed for cold climates and bypass valves. The batch solar collector and cold water supply are also components of the system. As you may have noticed from the mention of the components above, there is no pump connected to the system. The reason for this is that the system does not require a pump to function like Active solar water heaters.
How Integral collector storage system worksCold water delivered to the Solar Collector this is where it is exposed to Solar Energy. The Solar Collector is etched with a black lining to improve the absorption of heat. Since the Solar Collector is exposed to the Sun. As a result, heat is absorbed by water finally raising its temperature. As the hot water is heated, it’s directed to the storage tank and finally into the home. Flowing into the house when the hot water tap is used. Aforementioned occurs when pressure from the home plumbing system lowers. As a result, drawing hot water from the solar collector and storage tank. Due to this action, cold water will be drawn into the solar collector to replace the used hot water. What you ought to know is that Passive solar water heaters feature cylindrical storage tanks. Also used as a Solar Collectors. The cold water is heated directly in these applications. Passive systems are prevalent in tropical areas where the sun is present for more than six months in a year. During the rainy season when cloud cover is familiar, water should be drained from the solar collector and storage tank.
Advantages of Passive Solar Water
- Has a simple and low-cost design which makes it very easy to maintain and install
- Since the system relies on pressure to draw water into the Solar Collector and hot water into the house, no mineral build up will be present. That is great especially when the installed system is in areas with hard water
- As said earlier, the system does not have a pump. As a result, you don’t have to worry about maintenance or replacing any moving parts. Commonly used in tropical areas the system does not require controllers or antifreeze solutions.
- These systems can supply the home with hot water in case electricity is absent temporarily.
- Homeowners don’t have to worry about future fuel costs
- While the system requires low investment, it has a high ROI as it can repay for itself in three years
- Thirty-year lifespan. Also, it can resist hurricanes
- A 10-year warranty is commonly provided with every new purchase of an integral storage collector system
- Disadvantages of Passive Solar Water Heating
- The system lacks versatility
- Not suitable for all climates especially where winter is frequent. In this case, the solar collector will freeze. Therefore draining the water from the collector is essential. Although one must take into account the Advantages of Solar Energy far outway any disadvantages.
- Since they are commonly installed on rooftops, a sturdy roof is needed.
Thermosyphon systemAs one of the most popular Passive solar water heating system, it is composed of the following components:
- Storage tank
- Air vent
- Solar collector
- Freezing prevention valve
- Bypass valve
- Pressure relieve valve
How Thermosyphon Systems WorkThe Solar Collector for the Thermosyphon system is generally installed a foot below the storage tank. To permit the process of thermal syphoning. A process where heated water can move to the storage tank in an upward movement thanks to natural convection. Here is how it works. When a Solar Collector is heated by the rays of the Sun, it absorbs solar energy. Cold water is pumped into the solar collector thanks to the city line pressure. It gains entry into the solar collector from the bottom section. When it absorbs heat thanks to the black etching of the solar collector, the hot water becomes less dense. As a result, it starts to rise towards the top of the solar collector. Since the heat exchanger or storage tank is connected at the top of the solar collector, the hot water will gain and get stored in the tank before distribution inside the house. When the sun is not present which is common during cloud cover or during the night, the hot water will be available to the household. In case the outside temperature drops below freezing point, then the water can contract to lead to the bursting of pipes. This is the reason why direct Thermosyphon systems cannot be able to work in areas where freezing conditions are present. The good news is that under the right conditions, the Thermosyphon system is quite efficient supplying your home with 50% to 70% of your hot water needs. Therefore Solar Energy Advantages can be seen clearly by the savings.
Advantages of Thermosyphon systemsAs said earlier, Passive systems lack a pump and rely on natural convection. Thanks to the simple design, not only is the system easy to install but it eliminates complexity involved with other systems especially when it comes to utilizing solar energy to heat water. The system is more reliable thanks to its simplistic design. In addition, it requires less maintenance since it lacks controllers with sensors and pumps with moving parts The system can be operated efficiency because it lacks any components that require electricity to operate. Thermosyphon system can be protected with ease against freezing conditions. The anti-freezing solution which is food safe is used thus eliminating the risk of damage to the components, especially during cold weather. It is common for the storage tank to be heavily insulated especially when it comes to Thermosyphon systems. This is done to prevent heat loss and to prevent water from freezing. If this happens, it will expand and burst the pipes. For homes with added space like an attic or high ceiling, the storage tank can be installed under the roof thus having additional protection from the elements.
Disadvantages of Thermosyphon systemsPassive systems are usually not suitable for all climatic conditions. They are suitable for the tropical climate only since they rely on natural convection to operate Thermosyphon systems are installed on rooftops, and since the whole system is heavy, it is not suitable for installation on all roofs. Also, contractors must determine the structural integrity of roof structures before installation. If not, the roof may cave in during or after installation. Since the system relies on natural convection, it is not compatible with traditional gas or electrical heating components. As a result, contractors cannot be able to create hybrid systems to ensure the system works in other climatic conditions or to improve its performance. Although the Thermosyphon passive system has limitations, it is reliable and requires less maintenance compared to other solar water heating solutions. As a result, your home will be supplied with hot water at a minimal cost. Also, your heating energy costs will be low allowing you to save. Don’t forget that the system does not require any maintenance for several years to come which means it will pay off itself in less than three years. Once again proving the Solar Energy Advantages for years to come.
Hiring The Right Contractors For The Best Solar Energy AdvantagesHiring the right contractor will ensure that your Solar Water Heating System will be correctly installed. As a result, it will be able to supply your home with all your hot water needs. Before you know it, your energy bills will reduce while the system will pay itself off within a few years – usually three to five years. Having an experienced Solar Energy Contractor is very important if you want to get the full Solar Energy Advantages.
Other Types of Solar Water CollectorsTherefore let us take a look at them below. Evacuated Tube Solar Collectors: Composed of transparent glass tubes which are arranged in parallel rows, each glass tube is attached to a fin. The fin absorbs solar energy which is used to heat water. While doing so, the fin also prevents heat loss. Evacuated tubes are able to heat water between 77 degrees C to 177 degrees C. Integral collector Solar Collectors: Also referred to as batch collectors, it features Black Piping which is sealed, in an insulated glazed box. It works by allowing cold water to pass through the piping where it is pre-heated thanks to the black piping ability to absorb solar radiation. Once the water, is heated, its redirected back to the storage tank and circulated in the home for use. This system can store hot water for an extended period especially if the household demand is low. A tempering valve is usually installed to prevent scalding. It works by mixing cold water with hot water to lower the temperature. Not recommended for cold climates. Flat Plate Solar Collectors: As a heat exchanger, it works by capturing and converting solar energy which in turn is used to heat water for bathing and washing. It consists of a large plate made of aluminium or copper. The Plate is etched black to improve its ability to absorb solar energy. Copper pipes called risers run across the plate. They are soldered on the plate’s surface to improve surface contact thus heating water efficiently.
Advantages of Solar Water Heating Systems
- Solar Power is an abundant resource and available for free.
- Solar Heating collectors take up less space than photovoltaic solar panels.
- They are highly efficient in that they convert 80% of the radiation into heat.
- Eliminating the need for electrical or gas water heating systems.
- This saves you on energy bills.
- Cheaper to install, unlike Photovoltaic Solar Panels.
- Allows you to lower your carbon footprint by reducing greenhouse gases emissions
Disadvantages of Solar Water Heating Systems
- The Performance will be prevented, in case of cloud cover.
- Maintenance is required annually.
- Trees surrounding your home will be a problem. In fact, you may end up cutting them down. Unfortunately, this is against your contribution towards reducing the carbon footprint.
- Your roof design may impede the installation of the Solar Water Heating System
Concentration Solar PowerAlso referred to as Solar Concentration Technology. Therefore this technology is composed of mirrors which concentrate Solar Energy onto several receivers. The receivers collect the Solar Energy converting it into Thermal Energy. Aforementioned, in turn, is used to power turbines thus producing electricity. Also, the thermal energy obtained may be used to drive engines. Which in turn drive generators, leading to the generation of electricity. A vast majority of Concentrated Solar Power Plants can be found in the US where they have been able to generate electricity for use – day and night. According to Solar Server, it is speculated, that by 2030, concentrating solar power technology will be supplying over 7%. And will, therefore, grow to a further 25% as time progresses.
Types of Concentrated Solar Power TechnologiesThere are three major options in this type of Solar Energy:
Solar Dish Engine systemsAre Composed of mirrors spread over a parabolic surface, the method concentrates Solar Energy to a receiver located at the focal point of the Parabolic Surface. Unlike other Concentration Solar Power systems that generate electricity, by heating water to produce steam. The Dish engine system uses hydrogen. The liquid is usually heated up to 1,200 degrees F finally being pumped to power an engine. Resulting, in the generation of electricity.
Solar Power Tower systemsComposed of a central tower which acts as a receiving point and computer controlled mirrors (flat in design), the system can track the sun. As this occurs along two axes. The flat mirrors are designed to focus Solar Power towards the top of the tower. This energy is then used to heat a transfer liquid up to 1,000 degrees F finally producing steam which in turn powers a generator. The first Power Tower system is located, in Tonopah, Nevada. It can generate 110 MW which can provide over 75,000 homes with reliable power.
Parabolic Trough systemComposed of Parabolic Trough Mirrors, they are used to focus Solar Energy onto a receiver tube. The receiver tube runs at the centre of the trough and inside is a heat transfer fluid that Absorbs Solar Energy reflected and collected by the trough mirrors finally attaining a temperature of 750 degrees F. The heat transfer liquid is passed, through a heat exchanger where it heats water resulting in the production of steam. Used to drive a conventional steam turbine system that finally generates electricity. Large-scale Parabolic Trough Systems are composed of hundreds of trough mirrors connected in a series. They are positioned on a North to South axis to ensure they can track the sun –East to West.
Compact Linear Fresnel Reflector Solar Power SystemUnlike the Parabolic Trough system, the Compact Linear Fresnel Reflector system is composed of long rows of lower cost flat mirrors. This system is designed to use the same principles as the trough system. The Compact Linear Fresnel Reflector system is built to focus solar energy onto receivers. The receivers, which are composed of tubes where water is pumped through, are elevated above the mirrors. As a result of this water is heated finally generating steam at high pressure. Redirected to a steam turbine where it helps to generate electricity. One of the largest Compact Linear Fresnel Reflector systems are located in Bakersfield, California and have the ability to produce 5 MW.
Advantages of Concentrating Solar Power
- Helps to lower greenhouse gas emissions thus reducing the effects of global warming.
- They substitute the use of fossil fuels such as oil, gas, and coal.
- Helping to create permanent jobs as well as stimulating the local and national economy.
- There are no risks associated with nuclear power.
- Environmental risks associated with a natural gas such as water pollution during extraction are not prevalent.
Disadvantages of Concentration Solar Power
- Concentration Solar Power technologies require large tracts of land.
- Exposed to the extended duration of solar energy such as deserts.
- The technology disrupts the habitat of ground-dwelling animals.
- There is the probability of Solar Influx. In fact, this is where extreme heat will be generated, as a result of concentrated solar energy.
- As a result, the extreme heat has the potential of killing bats and birds.
- The systems rely on water not only to generate steam but to cool the steam into water.