What is Solar Power, Definition & Meaning
Solar power simply can be defined as “the conversion of sunlight into electricity”. The sunlight can be converted into electricity either directly or indirectly. In first method sunlight is converted directly into electricity by using photovoltaics (PV), and in second method sunlight is converted indirectly into electricity by using concentrated solar power (CSP). In concentrated solar power systems mirrors or lenses and tracking systems are used to focus a large area of sunlight into a small beam. Photovoltaics convert sunlight into electric current by the help of the photovoltaic effect.
Types of Solar Energy
The five common type of solar energy are as follow
- Passive solar energy is refers to the harnessing of the sun’s energy without using any mechanical devices. Using south-facing windows in home to provide natural lighting and heat are examples of passive solar energy.
- Active solar energy is that type of solar energy which uses different mechanical devices in the collecting, storing, and distributing of solar energy.
- Solar thermal energy is that form of solar energy which is created by converting solar energy into heat.
- Photovoltaic solar power is that type of solar energy which is created by converting solar energy into electricity by the help of photovoltaic solar cells.
- Concentrating solar power or CSP is a well-known type of solar thermal energy that is used to generate solar power electricity. Nowadays scientist and researches are aimed to large-scale energy production by the help of CSP.
Key Advantages & Disadvantages of Solar Power system
Advantages of Solar Power
- Solar energy is free source of power but cost will be incurred in the building of ‘collectors’ and other required equipment to convert sunlight into electricity or hot water.
- Solar energy does not cause any pollution so this is consider environment friendly. However, solar collectors and other related equipment are manufactured in factories that cause some pollution.
- Solar energy can be used in such remote areas where it is highly expensive to extend the electricity power grid.
- Many everyday small items such as calculators and low power consuming electronic devices can be powered by solar energy effectively.
- According to recent research it is estimated that the world’s oil reserves will last for 30 to 40 years. But on the other hand, solar power is infinite (forever).
Disadvantages of Solar Power
- Solar energy cannot be harnessed in cloudy weather or during night, it can only be harnessed during daytime and sunny.
- Solar collectors, equipment, panels and cells are expensive to manufacture although the prices of all solar equipment are falling rapidly.
- Solar power stations are also very expensive. They can be built but there power output is less than the similar sized conventional power stations.
- In countries like the UK, the unreliable climatic conditions means that solar energy is also unreliable as a source of energy. Cloudy skies reduce effectiveness of solar power in such areas.
- A very large areas of land is required to capture the sunlight to convert in electricity. Collectors are arranged together to producing electricity for using in the same location.
Summing up! Solar power is the free source of energy but still there is strong research required to utilize this resource in best inexpensive manners.