As already outlined, there are two ways of turning the energy contained in sun- light into electricity. The first, called solar thermal power generation, involves using the sun simply as a source of heat. This heat is captured, concentrated, and used to drive a heat engine. The heat engine may be a conventional steam turbine, in which case the heat will be used to generate steam, but it could also be a closed-cycle turbine system using an organic thermodynamic fluid, a gas turbine, or a Sterling engine.

The second way of capturing solar energy and converting it into electricity involves use of the photovoltaic or solar cell. The solar cell is a solid-state device like a transistor or microchip. It uses the physical characteristics of a semiconductor such as silicon to turn the sunlight directly into electricity. The simplicity and durability of the solar cell makes it an extremely attractive method of generating electrical power.

As with several other renewable technologies, solar energy is intermittent; it is only available during hours of daylight. In many parts of the world where there is a good solar resource, high levels of sunlight often coincide with a peak in demand for air conditioning, so solar power, particularly in the form of rooftop solar panels, can provide synchronized peak power. In addition, some solar thermal power plants can incorporate thermal energy storage, which will allow them to operate round-the-clock, depending on the size of the energy store. Otherwise, solar power is generated when the sun shines and must be fed into the grid immediately. This means that under normal circumstances, the solar power must be dispatched when it is available, while other generating plants must be ready to provide an alternative source of power when solar power is not available.

Related posts:

Batteries and fuel cells:Fuel cells.
Medium-Voltage Switchgear and Circuit Breakers:DC Hi-Pot Test
Low-Voltage Switchgear and Circuit Breakers:Assessing Service Life of Low-Voltage Breakers
Motors and Generators:Motor and Generator Maintenance
Motors and Generators:Belts, Gears, and Pinions
Capacitor Application:Failure Modes and Case Ruptures
Development of Wind Power Technologies
The Current Situation and Perspectives on the Use of Wind Energy for Electricity Generation:Sweden
Introduction to The Current Situation and Perspectives on the Use of Nuclear Energy for Electricity ...
The Current Situation and Perspectives on the Use of Nuclear Energy for Electricity Generation:Franc...
The Current Situation and Perspectives on the Use of Nuclear Energy for Electricity Generation:Switz...
Probabilistic Modeling and Statistical Characteristics of Aggregate Wind Power:Individual Wind Plant...
Introduction to A Review of Interconnection Rules for Large-Scale Renewable Power Generation
Energy Hub Management with Intermittent Wind Power:Problem Formulation

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *