Solar Energy: Definition, How It Works, Advantages and Disadvantages

is called solar energy The kind of energy that comes from Radiation from the sun Which is the source of energy renewable among those on earth. You may have already heard that it is a full power source Cleaningbecause it does not provoke CO2 انبعاثات emissions And it does not emit fine dust, but it is also inexhaustible, because it is almost always available.

Its importance is also related to the fact that most of the other sources of energy we use are derived from solar energy specifically, more or less directly, from trench fuels to wind or hydropower. However, in the near future, solar radiation is converted to obtain Electricity And the heatthanks to the different types of techniques I’ll include later.

So let’s see in detail How is it obtained? Solar energy, which is the most important Benefits Regarding its use and what is used today in Italy and in the rest of the world.

How it works

according to one Definition of Very simple, solar energy is that energy emitted from the sun in the form of solar radiation. Like I told you, it’s a source of energy renewableAnd Cleaning And never endsfrom which almost all other forms of energy are derived, with the exception of geothermal energy and nuclear energy, which are obtained from the movement of tides.

Now that you understand What is that?However, it is necessary to understand exactly how it works, or rather how it is possible get electricity or Thermal energy, for use in heating or cooling rooms, starting with the radiant energy emitted by the sun. Technologies developed over the years have allowed us to convert solar energy with different systems: for example, a photovoltaic cell (or solar cell) is a crucial element of the installation photovoltaic solar energyused to produce electricity, while heat is obtained from the station Thermal solar energy, whose operation depends on the thermal accumulator. Then there is also a file Solar thermodynamics, which combines a heat pump and a heating system. Let’s see what are the most important Features of these methods.

photovoltaic solar energy

The PV Solar Systems It allows you to convert solar energy into electricity directly, instantly, and without using fuel. Solar radiation is converted into electricity thanks to Solar Panels (or solar panels) that make up this type of installation and made of a material Semiconductorsusually silicon, which releases electrons that move, thus generating electricity, after being exposed to sunlight.

The Solar cells Obviously it could be connected to each other so as to increase Energy Photovoltaic system, a technology capable of powering buildings and small electronic devices, such as watches or calculators.

Thermal solar energy

a solar thermal system It works differently from photovoltaic cells and also has a different purpose, which is to heat a Caloportative fluidthat is, it carries heat and is also called heat carrierthat flows inside its tubes until the places of its use. The primary device within this system is heat collector (or solar collector), which contains the liquid itself and makes it move: in addition to the tubes, it is provided with a transparent cover that sunlight can pass through, a plate capable of capturing and not scattering it, and, finally, an insulator to avoid heating the collector itself.

Remember that solar heat can also be used, in addition to heating cooling down environments in the home or company. Also, the heat can be Store In special cabinets to be used when needed, even if sunlight is not enough or if it is completely absent, perhaps during there night.

Solar thermodynamics

Thermodynamic systems are also called Concentrating solar power plants (concentrated solar energyIt is used to generate electricity from intense heat. Instead of photovoltaic panels, these systems use instead mirrors To concentrate solar energy in a single point containing a heat transfer fluid Which works to store and transfer heat. It is the high temperatures that cause the liquid to turn into Water vaporwhich is addressed to a turbine Which, once activated, produces mechanical energy which is then converted into electricity thanks to a adapter.

Thermodynamic systems are the most advanced, especially with regard toenergy storageTechnological developments are expected to improve it in the coming years.

Advantages and disadvantages

to give you an idea Ability From this renewable source, keep in mind that the radiant energy that reaches the Earth thanks to the sun’s rays is equal to 1.4 kilowatts per square meter surface, a fact that remains stable over time. However, collecting solar energy and converting it into heat or electricity brings some challenges inevitably linked to technological development and which therefore have both positive and negative sides.

First of all, among the Benefits From Solar I can quote you:

  • It is a source of energy renewable Precisely because the sun is not exhausted, so it is always available
  • It’s energy Cleaningwhich does not involve emissions of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases
  • WARRANTIES A Economic saving In the long run because of the low cost in the invoice and Discounts is expected
  • yes independently produced With factory installation, without having, for example, to extract fuel
  • It is a source of energy Versatile and versatilefrom both Electricity who – which the heat

In the debate about solar photovoltaic and thermal energy, however, the Negativesfor example:

  • The Installation costs of PV systems are still very high (albeit lower than in the past), and require a significant initial investment
  • Solar energy It’s not stable, because the alternation of day and night or simply an overcast sky can obscure or interfere with the production of heat and electricity. The solution is given by plants with accumulationThis ensures energy is available even when there is no sunlight.
  • L ‘efficiency of photovoltaic or thermal systems is still low compared to the real potential of solar energy, an aspect designed to improve with technological developments
  • Solar system installation requires high availability Voidbecause it is necessary to capture the solar radiation in the best possible way Quite large surfaces
Advantages and disadvantages of solar energy
The Costs Large parts of the installation are often included among Negatives of photovoltaic cells, but costs can be amortized in the long run.

In Italy and in the world

You will have heard the concept energy transmissionan essential step to reduce the increasing dependence on fossil fuels in favor of renewable energy, but for now how much solar energy can we convert into heat and electricity in Italy and in the rest of the world?

According to the report published by GSE around 2021 55 thousand new light systemswhich has a total capacity of 750 megawatts, bringing the number of solar PV systems across the country to about 936 thousand, for Total power 21.65 gigawatts (GW) At the per capita level equivalent to 365 watts per inhabitantis still far from the goals that the country should reach by 2030. Also in 2020, the electricity produced thanks to photovoltaic cells was close to 25 thousand gigawatt-hours (GWh): The region with the largest PV production in Italy has been confirmed as Apuliawhich was responsible for 15.4% of the energy generated by photovoltaic systems nationwide, followed by Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna, but also other regions such as Sardinia and Veneto that increased their production significantly.

Already in 2019, according to the report of GSE and Terna, our country managed to cover 35% of electricity production Using Renewable Energy Sources (RES), the percentage that corresponds instead 18.2% If we take into account the energy consumption of all kinds and this makes Italy The second country in the European Union To rely more on RES.

in general, In the worldI am China And United State to generate electricity from solar energy, but also IndiaAnd JapanAnd Germany And Spain They are among the world’s major producers, all of which are included in a total power range of 26 thousand to 261 thousand TWh.

(Posted by Sara Del Dot on Oct 29-2018
Edited by Alessandro Bai on 2-25-2022)

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