What is solar energy?
Solar energy is produced by light – photovoltaic energy – or heat from the sun – thermosolar – for electricity generation or heat production. Inexhaustible and renewable, since it comes from the sun, it is obtained through panels and mirrors.
Photovoltaic solar cells convert sunlight directly into electricity by the photoelectric effect, by which certain materials are capable of absorbing photons (light particles) and releasing electrons, generating an electric current. On the other hand, thermal solar collectors use panels or mirrors to absorb and concentrate solar heat, transfer it to a fluid and transfer it through pipes for use in buildings and facilities or also for the production of electricity (thermoelectric solar).
What benefits does solar energy have?
Solar energy has numerous benefits that place it as one of the most promising. Renewable, non-polluting, and available all around the world, it contributes to sustainable development and job creation in the areas where it is implemented.
At the same time, the simplicity of this technology makes it ideal for use in isolated network points, rural areas, or difficult to access. Solar energy is also useful for generating large-scale electricity and injecting it into a network, especially in geographical areas where meteorology provides abundant hours of sunshine per year.
The solar collection modules require relatively simple maintenance, which, together with the progressive and accelerated decrease in the cost of photovoltaic cells –-, explain the favorable prospects currently available for solar technology. Also, solar plants do not emit polluting gases and are extremely quiet.
Another beneficial aspect of solar energy is its condition of generating local wealth since its implantation in one country reduces the energy dependence of other countries. While it is true that solar energy – such as wind power – is intermittent, that is, directly dependent on the weather or day-night cycles, the rapid progress experienced by electric storage technologies will increasingly minimize these circumstances, and increase the participation of this type of energy in the energy system.
Summary of Solar Energy Benefits
- Avoid global warming
- Reduce the use of fossil fuels
- Reduce energy imports
- Generate wealth and local employment
- Contributes to sustainable development
- It is modular and very versatile, adaptable to different situations
- Allows applications for large-scale power generation and also for small cores isolated from the network
How do you get energy from the sun?
The sun provides energy in two different ways:
- It provides heat, used by mirrors so that the sun’s rays are concentrated in a receiver that reaches temperatures of up to 1,000 ° C. Heat is used to heat a fluid that generates steam. The steam finally moves a turbine and produces electricity.
- It provides light that is converted into electricity through photovoltaic solar panels. The photovoltaic panels are formed by groups of cells or solar cells that transform light (photons) into electrical energy (electrons).