Shedding light on Solar Power
We keep hearing about alternative energy, renewable energy, green energy, solar power, carbon emissions, and various other jargon all the time. Are you curious to know more? Are you willing to join a revolution that is quietly transforming our energy landscape into a greener, brighter and sustainable future? If your answer is ‘YES’, then you are in the right place. Taking the first step is not complicated at all, read on this article shedding light on Solar Power.
In today’s fast-paced and power demanding world, our need for electricity is evermore increasing and only set to grow further. But our present solutions and technology for producing electricity remain very old and very basic. By burning fossil fuels like coal, diesel, we are emitting tonnes of carbon in the atmosphere, polluting the air we breathe and spoiling our environment we live in. There are many alternative renewable energy sources and there are several modern technologies available today to help us produce, provide ever-lasting and sustainable energy.
One basic form of a renewable energy source that is abundantly available to us, is solar energy. Solar energy is the foremost responsible source for all forms of energy on earth. We can produce electricity or otherwise called solar power, directly from the sunlight that falls on our rooftop, terrace and the ground.
But why solar power?
Below are some facts that tilt the alternate power source balance in favor of solar power.
- Our earth gets over 175 peta-watts of solar radiation and sunlight into our atmosphere and eventually to our rooftops. About 70% is absorbed by oceans, clouds, and landmasses.
- This sunlight on our rooftop can be converted into electricity, by installing solar panels or solar power systems.
- A typical 2-3 bedroom house would modestly require about 15-25 units of power per day. This can be produced by a 3-5 kW solar power system.
- A residential 3 kW solar power system only requires 300 sq ft of shadow-free rooftop space.
Depending on household needs, a solar power system can pay for itself in just about 4-6 years from installation and the electricity produced after that is completely free. The average lifetime of a typical solar panel would be about 25 years.
What is the working principle of a solar panel or solar cells?
The photovoltaic effect:
- The photovoltaic effect was first observed by a French physicist A. E. Becquerel in 1839.
- Solar panels contain PV (photovoltaic) cells made of silicon semiconductors that take in the sunlight that falls on their surface and produce electricity. This solar energy is converted into direct current (DC) for further use at our electrical appliances and machinery either directly or by converting it into alternating current (AC) by using a solar inverter.
Solar PV and Solar thermal panels:
- Solar PV panels convert around 18% – 20% of the sunlight they receive, into electricity.
- Solar thermal panels, on the other hand, heat the water and air directly by absorbing the warmth of the sun. Around 90% of the radiation they receive is converted into heat.
There are, however, some factors that affect the wide-scale adoption of solar power systems. Like, high initial costs, availability of installation space and power production during shadow overcast situations. As technology advances, the cost of solar panels and systems are progressively reducing and becoming easily affordable these days.
These challenges can be addressed in various ways, by both individuals and community-based initiatives. Some states in India are introducing the concept of ‘solar net-metering’ and ‘solar gross metering’ which allows individuals houses to generate and supply solar electricity to the grid at a fixed rate, thereby lowering the stress on the existing grid and also rewarding the power-producing household.
Don’t you think it is only fair as a responsible human being, we should do our part with very simple measures to save our mother earth and make way for our children and future generations to have cleaner air, a healthier environment, and sustainable society?
In our upcoming blogs, we will be discussing in detail, some of the points mentioned above. Topics like, how a simple solar power system works, types of solar power systems (On-Grid or Grid-Tie, Off-Grid and Hybrid Systems), etc.
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