Solar Energy System
he solar energy system is the energy that generates from the sun in thermal or electric energy that we use to run our appliances or to heat our indoor spaces
The solar energy system is the most abundant form of energy that is available to earth now. This, additionally, is the vastest, sustainable, and reliable form of energy to mankind. Since the beginning of human civilization, man is getting a huge benefit from solar energy. The energy system is serving every walk of life from residential, commercial, and utility. Besides its use in electrical energy conversion, it however is most feasible for thermal energy purposes. We normally see a lot of residential and commercial properties that own the solar energy system.
These vicinities use solar energy in heating the insides of their buildings as well as the water system. In this way, the owners thus are taking full advantage of solar energy using solar system technology. In residential areas, the solar energy carries almost 5 to 20 kWh mostly on the rooftops.
Why Solar Energy System Afterall?
Looking at the benefits of the solar energy system, we come to know many more than we imagine. The foremost benefits of a solar energy system are the health perks. We all love sun rays and heat and love to tan in open sunlight. Everybody loves the presence of sunshine. This is because the light carries heat as well as vitamin D. This is an essential component for our healthy bones.
This thereby helps us in making ourselves more stress-free, healthier, and happier. However, regardless of the said benefits of maintaining the serotonin level in the body, there is much. With the presence of the sunlight, the existence of life in any form gets threatened. Sun rays carry an essential form and amount of energy that is integral to support life. With it, the purpose of life and survival becomes an impossible phenomenon.
Without light and essential, every organism on the planet would die. Similarly, we also rely on sunlight to get electricity from it. This collection of electric energy using solar energy panels and technology is what we called solar power. Solar power is also interchangeably used with the solar energy system. Today, the importance of solar power energy is never been more integral for us.
This is because the population of the globe is rising with the increasing demand for fossil fuels. The ecosystem that is why hence faces extreme danger and equilibrium. To sustain the eco-system and the global rising temperature, it is now imperative for users to rely on a more sustainable form of energy. This thereby calls us to rely on more renewable forms of energy. These are sustainable energies that comprise wind, tidal, biomass, and solar as reliable alternatives to fossils.
What You Need to Know About Solar Energy System
Generally, the solar energy system holds three main sectors of livelihood. These three sectors cover residential scale, commercial scale, and utility-scale. Residential scale carries the least amount of energy as it usually installs on rooftops or limited ground areas. However, the commercial facilities carry many large solar systems to utilize their large-scale needs.
This is because the commercial facilities aim to provide non-stop as well as consistent energy. This energy provision is pertinent for non-profit and business units. Furthermore, last but not least is the utility sector which comprises the largest solar energy system formation. Utility sectors usually carry a much larger system of several megawatts. This happens to provide large utility areas and utility communities.
There are nonetheless those residential sector users, who are not able to afford the solar energy system. They largely comprise the residential sectors. For those, a commercial solar system of great utility. The commercial solar energy system is the most viable solution for such users.
This is because the commercial solar energy unit helps in providing the utility-scale energy needs to residential users. This is the reason why the community solar system panels lie usually in central locations than to remote facilities. So, in this way, residential users can get a lot of benefits by utilizing community solar energy. This also helps the residential users in getting rid of the need for owning their energy system.
Working Principle of Solar Energy System
A solar energy system works on providing electric energy using a variety of tools and components. The most important component of the system is the solar panel. A technical name of a solar panel is also a solar module. The solar module consists of a layer of small silicon cells. It also comprises a metal frame that attaches a glass casing. Furthermore, there is a set of wiring that helps in transferring electric current from silicon cells to batteries. The use of silicon here is of great importance.
In the chemistry periodic table, the atomic number of numbers of silicon lies at 14. This thereby makes it’s non-metal and hence a great conductor of electricity. The non-mental therefore absorbs and converts the light signals from the sun into electricity. The electricity is from then on use for utility purposes. So, here is the phenomenon of how it works:
When the sunlight touches the silicon, it incites the outermost electrons in the silicon to set in the motion. The motion of electrons thereby causes the flow and initiation of the electric current. The production of current through this way is what we call the “photovoltaic effect”. The effect of photovoltaic also happens to explain how the solar system works. Therefore, the working principle of the solar energy system is a bit technical. Which therefore demands a constant bearing with the article.
Photovoltaic thereby is an ability of the system to turn the solar radiations into an electric current. Initially, the current that solar cells generate is in the form of Direct Current (DC). However, the system later converts DC into an alternating current (AC). A DC to AC convertor hence helps in this regard. The AC from then on is useful to power up our homes and business activities.
Historical Background of Solar Energy System
As we have already discussed that the basic working principle of the solar energy system is the photovoltaic effect. The effects themselves were first discovered in the year 1839. The discoverer of this phenomenon was Edmond Becquerel. Initially, however, the effects of turning light energy into an electric current are limited to specific materials.
These specific materials are now semi-conductors as we know them. This property hence permits to generate electric current when exposing to the sunlight and rays. At the time of discovery, Edmund was just 19 years old. However, even after the discovery of the system, the solar panels come to the surface way later. Furthermore, it was in 1954, when Bell Labs first develops a photovoltaic solar power panel. Nevertheless, before the photovoltaic cell, the conversion of sunlight into electric current was still in practice.
But it was after 1954 when solar energy becomes the source to utilize power devices at home. It hence becomes a viable source of energy to utilize electric current for a long and extended period. Additionally, the first solar power panel converts solar energy into an electric current at an efficiency of 4%. For the sake of realization, a comparison between older and new system helps in understanding the development.
In comparison to the late systems, new power panels are working at an efficiency of 20%. This thereby explains the rising trend, success, and development of solar power energy. Even after the successful implementation and operation of the solar energy system, there is still a lot of issues. The adoption of solar power as the primary source is still slow in rate. The authorities, states, and federation still require to do a lot in making the most widely adopted method.
What Is the Cost of Solar Energy System?
As we have discussed the continuous rise in the efficiency of the solar energy system. This is because of the rapid research and development and innovation in the working principle. Similarly, with the rise in the global efficiency of the solar power system, the cost of solar energy falls. It falls substantially and considerably at an alarming rate. The low cost and rate of solar power panels lower to 60% in the last decade alone.
This low rate and cost of solar power panels encourage the energy experts to predict further low in prices. They are of the view that in the coming year they are expecting a substantially low rate of solar power. This low rate and cost hence also encourage the users to adopt the system. In the UK alone, 11 million household units are meeting their utility needs from the solar energy system.
This figure, however, is a few numbers from the total household units of 126 million. This is only because of the efficiency of the solar system. Furthermore, the incentives, rebates, and subsidies are also contributing to the low-rate phenomenon. This means that the low rate depends upon where do you live. Some areas, states, and federations are offering rebates and incentives.
This thereby helps in reducing the overall cost of the solar power system. In the UK, you may hear of a Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC). The ITC is one of the primary incentives in the country for the one interested in solar energy installation. The tax thereby allows the user in facilitating a 26% deduction of the overall federal tax. The low rate and incentive, however, won’t last long. The ITC incentive will last till 2023 and will reduce to 22%. Furthermore, in 2024, it will completely vanish off.
Solar Energy System Is A Renewable Source of Power
The solar energy system is the cleanest source of energy. This hence makes it the most renewable source of energy which also is inexpensive. The reason for this is that sunlight is the energy that is everywhere. Everywhere in the world, you can harness this source of energy. Wherever the sunlight hits the earth, it has the right potential to convert sun rays into electricity. In the UK, when direct sunlight is not available, we even then can convert it into electricity. However, more sunlight means more power and more electricity.
By thus it means that for the north and west there is 25% considerably less solar power than the South. This thereby makes this Spring 2020 in the UK the sunniest day recorded. With this, the UK has collected the highest amount of solar power. Also, it makes it the most reliable and non-depleted source of energy.
Since solar energy is coming from the sun, therefore the amount of energy that we receive is limitless. Additionally, we know that renewable energy is something coming from an infinite resource. In comparison to that of electricity generates using fossil fuel. Usually, it takes hundreds of years for fossil fuels to take such forms. By this, we infer that upon burning any of the fossil fuels, the resources are getting close to depletion.
This is why solar; wind and hydropower are limitless sources. Hence, they are not prone to depletion. Solar energy is thereby the constant reaching source of energy to the earth’s surface. Even after turning the light into electricity, there is still an ample amount of light every day for the future. This property hence makes solar energy the most reliable, substantial, sustainable, and renewable form of energy.
How and Where to Use and Store Solar Energy?
The rise in the development and its subsequent use, solar energy system makes the rapid growth. With rapid growth and proliferation of the system, there is a global parallel rise in subsequent products. This can be noted by the fact that batteries and other energy-storing systems grow rapidly. With each day, we witness another advanced system for storing electric current. Similarly, the rise in the manufacturing of electric vehicles also encourages the phenomenon of the solar energy system.
These two sectors eventually promise to bring the revolution as soon as there is solar energy. There are millions of gasoline vehicles running each day. This thereby requires a huge amount of fuel burn. This not only is causing environmental issues but also are depleting energy resources. On the contrary, we have a solar energy system that promises a huge number of benefits. It also brings revolutions in certain sustainable industries.
Solar power batteries are therefore revolutions in themselves. By this, it means that for days when there is no sunlight, batteries help in storing the power. Batteries thereby help in using the stored electric energy for later usage. You can draw an electric current when the amount of light energy is relatively low or on rainy days. An electric vehicle is another industry that benefits from the rising trend of solar energy.
The built-in power of these vehicles is considerably higher than the gasoline engines. Furthermore, it carries a low maintenance cost as well as are more efficient in fuel consumption. Furthermore, solar energy emits zero carbon and hence is an eco-friendly energy system. Unlike fossil fuels that leave significant environmental hazards and footprints. Electric vehicles therefore are set to make a milestone in the coming years. This thereby makes solar energy the reliable most solution for our electrified future.
How Solar Energy System is Benefitting our Homes
At homes, rooftops are usually the best locations for the solar energy system. Through this way, the panels receive energy directly and convert them into electric energy. This thereby helps in utilizing the energy for the same applications that we do through a grid system. However, the regular cost and maintenance of solar energy power are zero. It thereby only requires the initial installation cost.
The daily household applications include lighting up your lights. It also utilizes running home appliances like refrigerators, TV, and air conditioners. The system also helps in heating the inside of the home by keeping it constantly warm. Also, it helps in heating the water system. The efficiency of the solar system in comparison to that of the grid is of equal extent. By this, we mean that you will feel no difference between grid power and solar power.
The Efficiency of a Solar Energy System
The efficiency of the solar system is realized by the fact that it comes directly from the sun. Therefore, the one factor that we have to rely upon would be the sun. Also, it will be here forever. This thereby making solar power a more sustainable and renewable form of energy for the planet. However, the extent of efficiency varies greatly. In 1955, the first-ever silicon PV solar panel was able to convert only 4% of the solar energy.
It doesn’t seem much impressive right. However, until now there is much development. With innovation and a lot of research in solar energy, the efficiency rate rises to 20%. The average efficiency of the solar system however lies between 15% to 20%. The initial cost of the more efficient system will be higher. Nevertheless, as efficiency increases, the maintenance and post-production cost remain low.
Alternative Ways for Storing Solar Energy
You may have come across moments when the sunlight is on the peak and the system is producing electricity. However, there are times when you don’t need the electricity that your system generates. And sometimes you only require energy at night time when the sun is not up.
This thereby calls us to store solar energy. This, therefore, helps us in utilizing in hours when we don’t have direct sunshine. Without actually storing the energy we can only utilize it when there is broad daylight and the sun is shining. Furthermore, at night, without storing your electricity will automatically switch to a grid system. There are various alternative ways of storing that includes:
- Thermal Storage: The energy that generates from solar panels helps in heating the insulated hot water tanks. This allows heating water from a natural source.
- Electric Storing Batteries: This is the most primary form of storage option for storing solar energy. This comprises Lithium-ion batteries that help in storing electricity for running our appliances. However, lithium-ion batteries themselves are not the most reliable content because of the non-renewable property. Hence, even are not the eco-friendly components.
- Heating Batteries: Heat Batteries help in storing solar energy in the form of heat that helps in heating the homes and water. Heating batteries are much lighter in weight than lithium alternatives. This is the reason they last much longer than electric batteries. However, these batteries are not very common in the residential sector.
Advantages of Using Solar Power System
The solar energy system brings many fruitful benefits for the users. This includes:
- Reduction in Bills: Solar power is free power. You only need to install the solar power system. Once you have it, there are more additional charges. This thereby helps in reduction in electricity bill up to $300 a year.
- Eco-Friendly Mechanism: In the end, everything is not about just the money. Solar power in comparison to that of fossil energy is clean and green energy. It is free from carbon footprints and hence no carbon emission. This thereby helps in making the world a sustainable place to live. This also helps in changing climate goals. A single solar system helps in the reduction of 1.6 tons of carbon each year.
- Reduction in Noise and Air Pollution: Solar energy system is a silent way of creating and converting electric current. Also, the silicon that uses in solar panels is non-toxic. This thereby helps in reducing air pollution and noise reduction which is a major global issue.
- A Source of Revenue: Feed-in tariff is the facility that helps consumers to export the excess of electricity back into grids. This helps in getting payment for excessive electricity. But for this, users will need to register their system. There also is an alternative system that works on a similar system and is a Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) system.
The use of solar energy is useful for the world however it is not necessary. This is because turning away from fossil sources is a need. Nevertheless, there are other sources as well that offer natural energy production. This includes Tidal, Wind, and Biomass as well. The IEA claims recently that the solar energy system is the cheapest source of electricity in human history.
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