Solar energy is different from any other energy form. It is a special one because it is clean and environmentally friendly. More importantly, it has two essential functions at least. One is that it can be used to generate electricity, and the other is that it can be used to generate thermal energy. The former is now becoming more and more popular. The following are five frequently asked questions.
1. What can solar energy do for us?
Firstly, it can be used to generate electricity. In today’s average conditions, people use solar cells and panels to generate direct current and then convert it into alternating current with a device usually called solar inverter. Secondly, it can be used in a system called solar thermal power generation system, which generates power with the heat of solar energy. Thirdly, its heat can help us to heat something. For example, it can be used to heat water for bathing or other uses. Fourthly, it can be used to warm our house and in air conditioners. And there are more.
2. What is PV power generation?
PV stands for photovoltaic. This one uses solar panels to convert sunlight into electricity (direct current) and then uses a conversion device to turn the direct current into the current (alternating current) that is used at home. In current conditions PV power generation is equal to solar power generation because it is the mainstream of solar power generation. In addition, one of its branches is distributed PV, which now becomes more and more popular today. This one means solar electricity can be generated in both residential and commercial buildings, and the building owners don’t have to depend on the state grid any more for daily power consumption.
3. How does solar cells generate electricity?
A solar cell is one kind of semi-conductor which can convert sunlight into electricity. It can directly turn solar radiation into direct current, and it is the most basic element in PV power generation. The most important function of it is that it adds some element such as phosphorus or boron to crystalline silicon and makes an eternal imbalance in the molecule electric charge of the material, so as to form a kind of semi-conductor material with special electric features. Basking in the sun, this special semi-conductor can produce free electric charges, which move in a directional way, accumulate and then form an electromotive force. When some conductor is used to close the two ends of it, a current is produced. This is how electricity is produced by solar cells.
4. What components are used in a PV power system?
The system consists of solar arrays, a controller, batteries (optional), a PV inverter and other components. The two most important parts in it are the solar arrays and the PV inverter (If the owner uses microinverters, he uses a series of them not a single one).
5. What are the advantages of PV power generation?
Firstly, sunlight is extremely resourceful, and so this form of power generation has nearly no ends. Secondly, it is environmentally friendly. It doesn’t need biofuels when generating electricity, and so it won’t emit carbon dioxide to pollute the air. Besides, it has no noise. Thirdly, it can be widely utilized. As long as sunlight can reach, this system can be used. Fourthly, the system has no machinery components, and so it can be easily operated and maintained. Fifthly, resources that are used for it are rich and can sustain for many years. At least, you know silicon is richly stored in the earth’s crust. Finally, such a system can be used for over two decades. On average crystalline silicon’s lifespan can reach as long as 20 – 35 years.