Solar technologies transform sunlight into electrical energy to generate electricity or store it in batteries.
FREMONT, CA: In an hour and a half, the amount of sunlight that hits the earth's surface is enough to power the entire world's energy consumption for a year. Photovoltaic (PV) panels or mirrors that focus solely on solar radiation are used in solar technologies to convert sunlight into electrical energy. This energy can be converted into electricity or stored in batteries or thermal storage.
Here are some resources and information regarding solar radiation, photovoltaic and concentrating solar-thermal power technologies, electrical grid system integration, and solar energy's non-hardware aspects (soft costs).
Solar radiation is light that is emitted by the sun, also known as electromagnetic radiation. Even though every place on earth receives some sunlight over a year, the amount of solar radiation that reaches any particular spot on the planet differs. Solar technologies absorb this radiation and convert it to the energy that can be used in various forms.
Photovoltaics (PV) and concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP) are the two primary forms of solar energy technologies.
People are most familiar with PV, which is used in solar panels. When the sun shines on a solar panel, the solar energy is absorbed by the PV cells on the panel. This energy causes electricity to flow by causing electrical charges to shift in response to an internal electric field in the cell.
Concentrating Solar-Thermal Power Basics
Mirrors reflect and concentrate sunlight into receivers, which absorb solar energy and transforms it to heat, which can then be used to generate electricity or stored for using it in future, and this entire process is known as concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP) systems. It's used mainly in massive power plants.
Systems Integration Basics
Solar energy technology is not limited to PV or CSP systems for generating electricity. These solar energy systems must be incorporated into existing electrical grids, which could include a combination of conventional and renewable energy sources.
Soft Costs Basics
Soft costs, or non-hardware costs, influence the cost of solar energy. Permitting, financing, and installing solar are among these costs, as are expenditures incurred by solar firms to attract new customers, pay vendors, and cover their bottom line. Soft costs account for most of the total costs for rooftop solar energy systems.
Solar Industry Basics
Solar energy systems are available in a variety of shapes and sizes. Solar panels are being installed on rooftops, and companies are heading the same way. Utilities are also constructing massive solar power plants to provide electricity to all grid customers.