Solar tech helps efficiency

Millie HennickSeptember 21, 2018 1018 0

Solar tech helps efficiency

Global warming is a menace that is driving the worldwide movement toward renewable energy sources. There is an intensive search for ways to make solar energy generation cheaper and more efficient. Solar technologies extract energy by harnessing power from the sun. There are two technological principles that can be used to produce this:  Accumulating thermal energy from the sun, known as solar thermal; and converting light into electricity, through the photovoltaic process. Solar thermal and photovoltaic (PV) can be built into buildings. Applications for PV include building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV), solar home systems that are not connected to the grid and solar charging stations. Solar home systems and solar charging stations are most appropriate for use in rural and remote areas where grid power is not easily available or too costly. Most BIPV applications are grid-connected which enables surplus energy to be produced and then transported to the grid.

Solar thermal water heater

In its most simple form, the solar thermal water heating system consists of a collector and a water storage tank. The collector is a plate made from a black colored metal sheet with metal tubes attached. The metal sheet is backed by a thermal insulation layer, and overlaid on top with a glass panel to reduce heat loss and provide protection from the adverse weather conditions. The collector tube is connected to a water tank which is located on top of the collector. The collector collects solar heat, which is transmitted to the water circulated in the metal tube. The heated water then expands and is stored in the water tank through natural convection. Then cool water automatically fills the space in the metal tube.

Combination systems

Recently, solar thermal energy has grown to include dual-use systems, combining both water heating and space heating (combi-systems). These systems decrease energy use for space heating during the winter for buildings located in temperate regions. One disadvantage is that the systems must release surplus heat during the hot summer season. This issue has been defeated by combining solar cooling and combi-systems, which maximizes the use of solar thermal technologies year-round. Solar cooling is a practical choice for use in hot climatic regions. During an average day, the top demand for space cooling matches the peak of solar radiation. This large-scale implementation of solar cooling technology will aid in helping decrease peak loads of electricity. A BIPV system is made of PV panels and a DC-AC inverter. A solar panel includes a series of connected cells made of semiconductor substances. When PV modules are exposed to sunlight, they generate direct current (DC) electricity, which is converted to alternating current (AC) electricity – a standard form of electricity that can be used in most appliances and lighting systems. The AC electricity can then be fed into one of the building’s AC distribution boards, or attached to the main electricity grid. PV panels, which are integrated into the roof, façade, skylight or sun-shading devices, considered as building integrated photovoltaic technologies (BIPV). With BIPV, PV modules are normally used as a substitute for other building components. Although a proven technology, PVs are still subject to research and development. The goal is to improve the efficiency of energy production and to reduce manufacturing costs. The common PV technologies can be broadly categorized into two groups – crystalline silicon and thin film. Crystalline silicon technologies account for the majority of PV cell production, whereas thin film is newer, less efficient, but growing in popularity.

There has never been a better time to install a solar energy system!

Solar power is here to stay, and the sooner you explore how much you can save, the sooner you can enjoy the benefits of residential solar power. There has never been a better time to install a solar energy system.

Please visit our solar blog to find out more about the benefits of going solar.

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