The sun has been producing energy for billions of years and is the eventual source for all the energy sources we have been using today. People have used solar radiation for thousands of years to get warmth and to dry meat, fruits, and grains. With the passage of time and the revolution of science, people have developed technologies to gather solar energy for heat and to produce electricity.
In the modern age people use a variety of technologies to gather and convert solar radiation into useful heat energy for different purposes.
Solar thermal energy systems are used to heat:
· Water for utilization in homes, buildings, and swimming pools
· The interior of homes, buildings, and greenhouses
· Liquids to high temperatures in solar thermal power plants
Solar photovoltaic systems:
A solar photovoltaic system, or solar panel, converts sunlight into electricity. Tiny PV cells generate power for calculators and other electronic appliances. Through the arrangement of numerous solar cells in PV panels and by a combination of multiple PV panels in PV arrays electricity can be produced for an entire house. Few PV power plants have large arrays that enclose many acres to generate electricity for thousands of homes.
Elements of Solar Power System:
Photovoltaic panel. It is the main and utmost important part of the solar system. Once sunlight falls onto them, Solar panels produce DC current through the stimulation of electrons.
Inverter. Once DC current is produced, it is converted into AC electricity by the inverter.
Solar Racking: It joins the solar panels to the roof.
Battery Unit: Excessive energy produced during the day is stored in batteries.
Solar Energy Pros & Cons:
Like every other efficient and modern system, the solar system has some advantages and disadvantages. The main advantage of solar energy is that it is a feasible alternative to fossil fuels and has very less effect on the environment and the possibility for any country to produce it. The disadvantages are that it only generates energy when the sun is shining, needs an outstanding area of land, and certain solar technologies require vital materials.
1. Solar energy is pollution free and produces no greenhouse gases after installation.
2. Dependability on oil & fossil fuels is reduced.
3. Continuous renewable energy is available all the time.
4. One-time investment & no payment of utility bills.
5. No maintenance is required as solar panels last for over 25 years.
6. Excessive energy produced can be sold back to the power company if net metering is allowed.
7. Extra power can be stored in Batteries
8. Safer system than traditional electric current systems.
9. Solar system does not produce toxic air pollutants and carbon dioxide.
10. Solar system has negligible effects on the environment.
11. Solar system is independent of the grid system.
12. Have a great return on investment.
13. No effect of increase in the price of fuel or electricity.
14. Gives complete control over the use of electricity
15. Solar panels can increase the resale value of the home.
16. Many banks are now financing solar systems.
17. Solar system installment increases the home value
18. It is very helpful in controlling the global warming
19. The lifespan of solar system is up to 25 years
20. Generates the cheapest power on the planet
1. High initial cost of material and installation.
2. Large area is required for solar system installation
3. No working at night. Battery bank needed to store electricity at night.
4. Less energy production on cloudy days.
5. Less affordable as solar panels are not yet produced on a mass level.
6. In winter lower solar energy is produced.
7. Solar systems are not viable on every roof or home.
8. Not every roof design is viable to install a solar system.
9. Many brands are selling low-quality panels which do not last long.
10. Solar panels reduce the attractiveness of homes.
11. Chemicals used to produce solar panels are not environmentally friendly.
How many people have solar power systems in the USA?
Solar power system is one of the rapidly growing renewable energy sources in the US. According to a survey by the Department of Energy more than 2.9 million solar energy installations in the US and about 1 million were constructed in the last two years.
Residential solar systems produce less electricity than large commercial sector solar, such as solar panel farms. And all solar systems together generate only a small amount of the electricity used in the United States which is around 3%.
Solar Water Heaters:
In the modern age, most people are moving towards eco-friendly solutions, many homeowners endorse healthy attitudes and remodel their houses with simultaneous environment-friendly solutions. Installation of a solar water heater is an effective way to diminish the need for grid electricity while providing sufficient volumes of hot water.
By investing is solar water heaters we can reduce electricity bills considerably. Normally, the investment will pay for itself in about five to eight years, and the complete system will be in service from 20 to 40 years. That is a remarkable amount of free energy and cost reduction.
A solar water heater is a device that uses solar radiation to heat water for your home. It consists of a solar collector located on the roof of the building and a storage tank connected to it. This apparatus captures the maximum amount of solar radiation and converts it into heat.
The core processes run by every water heater are the same—a collector mounted on the roof gathers sunlight and turns it into heat. What happens with the heat next and which components take part in the process depends on the type of the heater
How Do Solar Water Heaters Work?
There are two main types of water heaters
1. Active Solar Water Heater
2. Passive Solar Water Heater
Active Solar Water Heater:
These heaters circulate household water through the collectors and into the home. They work efficiently in weather where it seldom freezes. Indirect circulation systems. Pumps transmit a non-freezing, heat-transfer fluid across the collectors and a heat exchanger.
Passive Solar Water Heater:
Passive solar water heating systems normally transfer heat by natural circulation as a result of buoyancy due to temperature differences between two regimes; that is why they do not need pumps to function. They are the most frequently used solar water heating systems for domestic purposes.